On election night, Republican Donald Trump claimed victories in battleground states where Democrat Bernie Sanders’s campaign found enthusiastic support during the primary. Democracy Now! spoke with The Intercept’s Lee Fang and Linda Sarsour, Muslim Democratic activist and former Bernie Sanders campaign surrogate, on the outcome of Tuesday’s election if Sanders had won the Democratic nomination. the transcript is below:
AMY GOODMAN: Lee, I want to begin with you in San Francisco. You recently tweeted, "Bernie dramatically turned out rural voters, was wildly popular in states like MI that have utterly suffered under neoliberal policies." Talk about the significance of that in light of what took place in the early hours of today and yesterday, on Election Day.
LEE FANG: Amy, thank you so much for having me.
You know, I think if we look at the electorate, we look at—you know, if you talk to almost any reporter who’s traveled around the country, attended rallies for Bernie, for Hillary, for Trump, and talked to voters, I mean, we had incredible economic anxiety in this country. We’ve had the last six years of basic political stagnation; because of Republican obstruction in Congress, there haven’t been any big reforms. We haven’t seen—we haven’t seen action on prosecuting Wall Street. We haven’t—the folks who detonated the economic system in 2008 were never brought to justice. There is this lingering anger all across the country, as jobs have been shipped overseas, as we’ve seen the fortunes of the wealthy skyrocket while the ordinary incomes of regular Americans have stagnated or, in many places—in many places, are in decline. And there is this visceral demand that somebody, whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat, needs to stand up and fight for these voters, to stand up to Wall Street, to stand up to K Street, the lobbying apparatus that controls D.C. and controls the major parties.
It was tough to see Clinton, who embodies the political establishment, the business establishment in this country, as a credible change agent. Bernie Sanders’ message—you know, I’ve talked to voters all across the country, many first-time voters, first-time activists, who were inspired by his message. I mean, he was a candidate who spent the last three to four decades in political life fighting against neoliberal policies, leading the fight against NAFTA, leading the fight against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, demanding accountability for Wall Street. And on the other side, you had Clinton, who made tens of millions of dollars giving private speeches to banks like Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, who assembled a gigantic political machine funded by the same interests that have drained the Midwest of jobs by shipping industrial facilities and those jobs overseas. So the contrast was incredibly sharp. And if you look at the turnout numbers, the polling in Michigan had Clinton up by 26 percent, I believe, in the week before the Michigan Democratic primary, but those polls were wrong, and Bernie won, I believe, by 5 percent, because his message, standing up to the elites, fighting for working-class voters, really resonated, especially in areas hardest hit in the economic changes we’ve seen over the last 20 years.
AMY GOODMAN: I mean, this is very interesting, Linda Sarsour, as a Bernie supporter yourself, because there was so much pressure from Clinton supporters not to take away from Hillary Clinton so that Donald Trump would, you know, take office, as he has. But in some ways, has this proven the opposite, that if Bernie Sanders were supported, that he had much more chance of defeating Donald Trump, considering who he drew from?
LINDA SARSOUR: Amy, honestly, like I don’t care what anyone says. If Bernie Sanders was the Democratic nominee, we would have won this election by far. Michigan, we were down 20 percent in the polls in the primaries, and Michigan gave Bernie Sanders the biggest political upset in U.S. history.
AMY GOODMAN: And he won the primary there.
LINDA SARSOUR: Yes, he did, in Michigan. Who gave him that win? It was Muslims in Dearborn. We looked at—we looked at Dearborn this time around for Hillary. I’m going to be honest with you. Hillary wasn’t helping me. I went around the country talking an anti-Trump message, because I couldn’t bring myself to support her and be as a surrogate like I was for Bernie Sanders. War hawk, warmonger—people were worrying about what she would do in Syria, looking at her foreign policy. The Democratic Party is the—
AMY GOODMAN: And you’re talking about Dearborn because it’s the largest Muslim Arab-American community in the United States.
LINDA SARSOUR: Largest, highest concentration of Muslim Americans in the entire country. What I want to say, Amy, is that this is a time for soul searching for the Democratic Party. They left young people out in the cold. They called us naive. They called us idealistic. They left Muslims out in the cold. Any time Hillary Clinton mentioned us, she said we were eyes and ears, we were on the front lines of countering terrorism. She never talked about us in any other way but as a law enforcement tool. And I’m honestly—I’m just waking up now, even though I haven’t slept. I’m outraged, not just at the fact that Donald Trump is the president. I’m outraged at the people who are going to put blame on black people and immigrants and Latinos voted more for Trump than they did for Mitt Romney, when, in fact, the blame that I want to put here is on the Democratic Party, because they are the ones that put me in this situation.