What Happens If We Don't Take Trump Seriously?

Donald Trump is a liar and scam artist, but he’s speaking to working people in a language they understand, and if Democrats don’t start taking him seriously, he’s going to be your and my president.

Last night, liberals and progressives in the media did something that I found extremely disturbing.

After Donald Trump gave what is in effect a victory lap speech, liberals and progressives in the mainstream media laughed at him because he was bad at reading the teleprompter.

You really couldn’t ask for a better example of how the mainstream media still doesn’t get it when it comes to Trump.

Sure, he isn’t the best prompter reader, but he’s nothing to laugh about.

Trump is far more dangerous than anyone thinks he is, and by dangerous I mean he could very well end up as president.

And that’s not because of any real weaknesses on the part of Hillary Clinton, it’s because he’s shouting out to the people I grew up with.

He’s speaking to working-class people who’ve been screwed over by the 30-plus years of Reaganomics, and he’s speaking to them in a language they understand about issues they understand.

If Democrats don’t start talking about these issues, Trump is going to walk away with the election This is what politicians, pundits, and the Democratic Party intelligentsia who live in the D.C. bubble apparently don’t understand.

Working-class people, the people I grew up with in a blue-collar part of Lansing, Michigan -- they know what Trump’s talking about when he says the factories are disappearing and they know what he’s talking about when he says we’re getting ripped off by so-called free trade deals.

They should know -- they’re living it every single day of their lives, and they’re getting more and more desperate.

They also don't care about Trump’s delivery or his terrible prompter skills.

They like the fact that he’s not a polished politician, because they’re not either.

But here’s the rub: Trump is lying. He doesn’t intend to any of this.

Trump, after all, is a Republican, and Republicans have shown time and time again that they simply have no interest in rebuilding our crumbling bridges, bringing our jobs back home, and ending so-called free trade deals.

Remember: It was Republicans who filibustered Nancy Pelosi’s infrastructure bill, it was Republicans who blocked Obama’s jobs bill, and it is Republicans right now who are working the hardest in Congress to pass the TPP.

Trump might act like he's all about blowing up his own party’s orthodoxy, but that’s not going to happen.

The billionaires still own the Republican Party and Trump is either their useful idiot or their brilliant front-man. His populism is just the reality show version of the fake populism that Republicans have always sold the American people.

But that doesn’t mean Trump can’t win.

Even if he’s completely full of it - which he is, by the way - Trump is still speaking to a lot of people, the people I grew up with.

This is incredibly dangerous for Democrats.

Back in the FDR days, this wouldn’t have been a problem. Democrats could point to his shady business dealings and easily expose Trump as the charlatan he is.

Today, it’s not so simple.

For all her very real gifts as a politician and leader, Hillary Clinton is very much a part of the Democratic Party establishment, a Democratic establishment that has been almost as complicit in the destruction of the working-class as the Republican Party.

Working people know this, which is why during the primaries so many working-class voters were stuck deciding between voting for Donald Trump or voting for Bernie Sanders There’s only one way for Democrats to prevent working-class people from jumping ship and voting for Trump in November: they need to start talking like Trump.

And no, I don’t mean they need to start spewing racist conspiracy theories or locker room sexism.

What I mean is that Democrats need to start talking about trade and economic issues like Trump does.

They need to start talking about them like they’re the most important issues in the country, which, for large chunk of the electorate, they are.

Democrats need to start talking to regular people like regular people.

Too much is at stake in this election to laugh Donald Trump off as an idiot.

He’s tapping into something that, if left unchecked, represents an existential threat to the Democratic Party.

Let’s hope Hillary Clinton, the DNC, and liberals and progressives everywhere realize that before it’s too late.


pokerzion's picture
pokerzion 6 years 51 weeks ago

"If Democrats don't start talking about these issues, Trump is going to walk away with the election This is what politicians, pundits, and the Democratic Party intelligentsia who live in the D.C. bubble apparently don't understand."

Correct Thom. It's because the democratic party isn't the party of the working people anymore. So how would they know how to address those needs properly? The unions are finally getting this also, and when they wise up, and stop backing the democratic party, there's going to be major upheavel going on in this country.

It's up to you, me and the people who understand what's happening to continue to educate the base of this democratic party who somehow believe that democrats taking tons of money from wall street, the big banks, the eneregy industry, is somehow going to translate into legilation that will help the working class. That's just plain stupidity.

bigdoginaz's picture
bigdoginaz 6 years 51 weeks ago

The republicans aren't the one working the hardest to pass the TPP. Obama is. So is DWW. (Debie Wassermn Schultz).

Another thing President Obama is allowing is Norwegian Air to fly to the US with an airplane crewed by the lowest paid labor from the cheapest countries they can find. They plan on running airplanes like cruise lines run their ships.

I am a Union Pilot. My sister is a retired union police officer from Chicago. Rahm Emanuel, you know who that guy is right? Is doing all he can to give big tax breaks to the wealthy, selling off public assets like the Skyway and Parking meters and then trying to bankrupt the city so he can get out of paying union pensions.

The Clintons and their cronies are not friendly to labor. Trump might not be either but he doesn't have a track record of lying to labor and then voting against them.

Trump could very well be lying and probably is. There is no question that Clinton is lying.

I would rather take my chances that Trump is lying to republicans since I know Clinton is lying to me.

I have never voted for a Republican in my life. Unless you consider Bill and Barrack ones.

If I can't vote for Bernie I will vote for Trump.

Most of my republican collegues ask what has a democrat in the White House ever done for labor lately? And to be honest I don't know. Obama backing the TPP and Norwegian Air. Clinton signing Nafta and deregulating banks.

Trump was the most liberal of all the Republican candidates. Just like Romney and Mc Cain before him. Their records before they took a run for President showed that. Did Trump go in knowing what he had to say because of that.

Do I thinks Trumps a liar? Yeh, that's pretty obvious. I'm just no sure who he's lying to. Do I think many Democrats are liers? Absoulutely, they have been lying to me for years.

I'm pretty sure it's you Thom that has said when you have a choice between a fake democrat and a real republican the real republican always wins.

This time we have the possibility of voting for a fake democrat and maybe a fake republican. Who do you think has the better chance? Just like you I'm betting it's Trump.

That's why if the Democrats want tp win in November they better run the true candidate of the people. You and I both know who that is. You have had him on your show every friday for the last 10 years.

cccccttttt 6 years 51 weeks ago

Bernie connects with working families and can counter the Trump message.

The problem with Hillary is no matter if she says the right things, who is naive

enough to believe her?


2012 6 years 51 weeks ago

None of this pandering to Trump should come as a surprise. Read John Dean's 2006 book, Conservatives Without Conscience, to see how we got here. Or, just look at the reviews of his book on Amazon. Dean was remarkably astute, and he provides extensive footnotes, references, and personal experience. He could be writing about the present. We are at a very dangerous time in this nation, and we have just four months to mount a serious challenge to what could be a disaster if we elect Trump. Dean's book also explains the psychology of those Republicans who knew what Trump was like, expressed their reservations and even contempt publicly, and have now lined up in support. It's pandering to power and abandoning all previously expressed principle. It will be interesting to see how these "morally upright" Republicans come to justify their new-found "righteousness." And justify it they will, to themselves, to the media, and to anyone else who will listen.

Uncle Ralph's picture
Uncle Ralph 6 years 51 weeks ago

What a lot of people, democrats and media alike still don't get is that this election isn't about Donald or Hilary or Bernie or Democrats or Republicans or "conservatives" or progressives or anything . . . except the Establishment vs. the just-plain folks. That's why Trump swept all of the dozen and a half Republican competitors off the board so easily. He's not consistently anything except pro-working-stiff/anti-establishment (or that's how he's perceived).

We had an anti-establishment candidate on the progressive side who was not only anti-establishment, but sane and coherent to boot. Because of his coherency and consistency, our progressive anti-establishment guy was polling eight to twelve points above the Trump juggernaut in general election scenarios. But we got rid of him, presumably because he wasn't conventional enough. We want Tried and True. Yeah, that's the ticket, tried and true. Only trouble is that's exactly what the electorate has been screaming in our faces that they DO NOT want.

So we've got our tried tried and true candidate who polls within a point or two either way of Trump . . . and . . . we've got ourselves a crap shoot. If she wins, we'll be back to the old tried and true ways that we love---the ones that got us where we are. If she doesn't . . . God help us all.

ihlight@yahoo.com 6 years 51 weeks ago

And Trump's program will work . . . in the short run. If elected, he will double spending on the military, charging the bill to the national credit card, but creating high-paying jobs in the short run. Sabre-ratling against strong opponents like China or Russia, he can also prosecute wars against weak ones, like Iraq while conjuring up imaginary foreign threats that will silence domestic critics. At the same time he will expand Obama's health care program for us real Americans while persecuting immigrants, especially Hispanics. It's the Third Reich redux. When the bills and body bags come home in a decade we'll be miserable and regretful, but he will be long gone by then.

Pastor_Thoth's picture
Pastor_Thoth 6 years 51 weeks ago

Hi Thom,

I am not sure if the people I grew up around can be considered "blue collar," because often, it was hard for people to find a job in any industry. Today, I continue living around and interacting with people considered to be "blue collar" working class individuals. However, I grew up in Los Angeles, California. And, I can assure you, Trump's empty rhetoric does not resonate with anyone I know regardless of how unarticulate and foolish Trump sounds. Frankly, Trump's racist, sexist, Islamaphobic, divisive statements make the people I know HATE him, passionately HATE him, regardless of what he says.

Granted, I have never set foot in Lansing, Michigan, and I don't know anything about the people there. However, I feel that anyone who ignores Trump's racist craziness and who justifies voting for Trump under the pretense that Trump will "make America great again," probably harbors racist sentiments themselves. As you've mentioned on your show, Trump is not properly coding his racist language; thus, making it clear to people his true feelings about different ethnicities.

Admittedly, I have a lot of Mexican friends. I have a lot of black, white, and Asian friends too. Why is it that the people I grew up with, who have experienced struggling to make a living like the people in Lansing, but, unlike the people you grew up with, the people I know are disgusted with Trump?

I ask that question only to suggest that people aren't attracted to Trump because he's a floundering, non-establishment idiot, but because he's a racist bigot, white, male billionaire. The Democratic Party, HIllary Clinton, should not compete with Trump to win over his supporters or potential supporters, because Trump's supporters are invested in Trump on a visceral level.

To end my response, I just have to say that I find the most stupid, imbecilic political change is going from supporting Bernie to supporting Trump. Sorry, but that makes no damn sense at all!! I will say that no actual progressive will go from supporting Bernie to supporting Trump.

Pastor_Thoth's picture
Pastor_Thoth 6 years 51 weeks ago


I'm curious. Would you actually go from supporting Bernie to supporting Trump? I read your reply and how you feel that Hillary has lied to us about supporting labor, but Trump has no record of anything (because he's never been elected to a public office.) However, seeing how Trump's views are completely antithetical to Bernie's, and Hillary's are closer in line with Bernie, I find it hard to believe that a Bernie supporter will make that leap to Trump. Also, expanding beyond the single issue of labor, how do you reconcile aligning yourself with a racist, bigot, islamaphobe, misogynist, orange creep? How do you listen to Thom Hartmann and Bernie, and after being exposed such eneriching political discourse, you conclude Trump is a better candidate than Hillary? I'm baffled.

Scotty11 6 years 51 weeks ago

What if the Republican Party considers running a 3rd party canidate (or encourages a right leaning one), knowing that the odds are that they would lose the election.

From their point of view, better to lose, and win another day (election), than to win and forever have lost any remaining credibility.

So, if a 3rd party makes a run on the right, Will Bernie, or the Greens, be able to make a serious run on the left?

What a glorious day...to actually have 4 serious canidates with 4 wildly opposing views.

Regards, Scotty

bigdoginaz's picture
bigdoginaz 6 years 51 weeks ago

I am as progressive as they come. Apparantly though the majority think progressive is crazy like Bernie. Bernie is the Labor Party if we had one. His ideas are only radical in the USA. A Country that has done anything and everything to harm labor including killing them.

It is so labor unfriendly that even union memebers hate members of every other union. I am in a pilot union. They think teachers and police take advantage of the people. Why, public servants have pensions. Guaranteed pensions that equal millions of dollars in the bank.

As an example my sister just told me a story about some really old retired police that meet once a month for breakfast. One who retired almost 30 years ago. He's gotten almost 3 million dollars in payments since he retired.

That also explains how Bernie can be in debt and have little in the bank but not be one paycheck away from poverty.

Every 50k a year in pesnion benefits is like having a winning million dollar lottery ticket in hand. If it pays for more than 20 years then it's another winning ticket.

My sister has a 95k a year pension. For me to get 95k a year I'm going to have to save another million dollars over the next 10 years. And that's assuming my current investments don't take a dive when I retire like it did with people in 1987, 2001 or 2008.

So why would I vote for Trump? Because I voted for Bill Clinton. He stopped American Airlines from striking. He voted for Nafta. Add to the list of deals he made for banks and what made him such a great President?

I voted for Obama. He wants TPP, granted Norwegian Air the right to fly to and from the USA. Labor Friendly? Don't think so.

Hillary, yeah, she's all for the $15 minimum wage. Sarcasm. Global Warming. How's fracking help there? Is she going to call wall street and banks to account. Most of my money is in the market along with real estate. Just how safe is it when you can't trust either banks or wall street?

She is good for low taxes. On the rich. I might not be poor but I'm sure as hell not rich. If I had a pension, a government pension then I might not be worried about my future.

The people whose only assets are their guns and ammo must be scared as hell. You cant buy food with ammo. They need the social safety net yet they are scared Bernie will take it and give it to the poor. How ironic is that?

So that gets back to why would I vote for Trump. I doubt Trump has ever opened a bible let alone read one. I doubt he gives two nickels if a woman has an abortion. Once he gets elected he will probaly let every Mexican who wants a job have one. Just like Reagan.

Once he gets elected he might actually give a shirt about global warming. He does have a lot of property on coastal states.

I'm happier with 8 judges on SCOTUS than another Obama appointment. The only liberal they have in them is socially. They still love corporations over people and property over liberty.

If Trump gets elected Elizabeth Warren can filibuster all his stupid ideas just like the republicans block obama unless they want it.

Get Hillary in and there isn't a single democrat who will block her in the end. Even Bernie couldn't stop his less than liberal agenda.

And if you needed real proof that Hillary isn't a liberal just look at MSNBC. Leaning Right.

Dwain's picture
Dwain 6 years 51 weeks ago

Honestly, I think Wall Street will no more allow Donald Trump to win the presidency than they would allow Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic nomination.

Trump's role in all this is to massage his ego and provide entertainment and buco $$$ for the media.

Seriously, if Hillary Clinton wants the presidency enough Wall Street will buy it for her, with help from the Republicans such as Koch and Cheney and others who already think Hillary is just peachy.

In states such as California where ALL electoral votes will go to the Democrat no matter what, it is a perfect opportunity to vote for Dr. Jill Stein.

If Donald Trump should actually win it will prove two things; 1) Clinton truly sucks, and 2) the United States is truly fu^&ed.

The only way to send a message when the system is broken is to not play the game. Vote for a progressive and damn the torpedos. Do not, under any circumstances. vote for the oligarchy. Like codependency, you have to stop enabling it.

Pastor_Thoth's picture
Pastor_Thoth 6 years 51 weeks ago


I didn't know anything about the Norwegian Airline issue that you mentioned, so I had to do a little research. Apparently, the DOT is operating under the US-EU Open Skies Agreement that was initiated in 2007, and the second phase initiated in 2008 (see Wikipedia.) The 2007 Open Skies agreement superseded a previous Open Skies agreement. The second agreement, according to wikipedia, was more favorable to America. The prior Open Skies Agreement is, I believe, 20 years old.

Sanders, followed by Hillary, called for Obama not to approve the Norwegian Airline deal for fear that there would a "race to the bottom"--airlines would outsource their workforce to pay the lowest wages and increase their profits as a result. Richard Trumpka (AFL-CIO) and Edward Wytkind (AFL-CIO) wrote an article about this in Politco.

Although the direct impact would affect Norwegian Airline workers in Norway, the fear is that this would become a business model that other airlines would follow possibly undermining American airline workers in the future.

Norwegian Air is able to replace their workforce with a foreign workforce by using Norways version of an H1B visa. Being that Trump has never been elected to a public office, he has no record of anything for you to measure. However, when it comes to H1B visas, he has used H1B visas improperly to hire non-Americans to do jobs Americans should have done. Basically, Trump has done exactly what Norwegian Air wants to do in order to boost its profits. Indeed, Trump outsourced the production of his clothing line for cheaper labor. You seem to care about unions a lot. Honestly, I doubt you'd find a less union friendly candidate than Trump. But, don't take my words for it, look at who the unions support. However, you're free to vote against your own self-interests.

Again, you don't sound like a progressive. When you say you favor Trump's list of SCOTUS appointees over M. Garland, you are clearly not a progressive. You may say you are, but in substance, you're not. No need to guess how Trump feels about global warming, he is on record saying that he doesn't believe in it. You cannot even pretend to be an environmentalist and support Trump at the same time. I'm surprised you're claiming to be pro-union when you're saying you'd select Trump over Hillary. It's laughable. :)

Personally, I have no qualms utterly smashing anyone who's willing to vote for a racist hypocrital Trump. You can take your dislike of Hillary, Obama, Osama bin-Laden, Kim Kardashien multiply it by 100 and you'd be 1/10 close to my hatred for Trump. Trump will never be President of America. Ever. Anyone with Trump as a surname will never become President of America.

However, I do agree that HIllary is not much of a liberal. I call her a centrist Democrat and a product of oligarchy. I'm hoping that movement behind Bernie will generate a big enough swell, that the entire Democratic Party will move much further left, including Hillary. Bernie, as Thom Hartmann has noted, is using his influence to impact the DNC platform and rules. As a very proud progressive, who never takes crap from any Republican racist, sexist, chauvanist, islamaphobe, fake acting proud to be an American, so long as that America doesn't consist of people of different colors!!, I will proudly cast my vote for Hillary and the change being ushered in by Bernie and his appointees. That's being a true progressive. Feigning to vote for Trump is NOT being a progressive. That's being a hypocrite.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 51 weeks ago

The Dems have always been timid and weak with their message...Wasserman Shultz is a fine example...absolutely zero fight. They're always on a lame defense, and this will be their downfall. Dangerous Don will be on a relentless dominating offense and the corpse media will amplify it to beat hell. At least half of those who vote will think Hillary should be in jail before it's all said and done in November....Fox Fascist propaganda machine will be leading the slander attack.

Our only hope was Bernie...Dangerous Don backed out of the debate with him for good reason, Bernie would have exposed him the same way he's exposing the rest of the Fascists.

The power of corpse media mass misinformation has destroyed our democracy and country, yes it's that simple.

Your predicted severe economic crash is on it's way Thom, the Teapublic Party won't have it any other way.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 51 weeks ago

The only man more dangerous than Trump to society right now is Paul Ryan. Mitch retreated to his hole months ago.

Legend 6 years 51 weeks ago

Two airline pilots live in my neighborhood. Both Republican Tea Party types. The union protects them and they vote against others being unionized. Like most Republicans they are hypocrites.

no shineola's picture
no shineola 6 years 51 weeks ago

So you deny that there is working class racism passed on from generation to generation?

brooklinme's picture
brooklinme 6 years 51 weeks ago

If it is in truth the policies of Bernie Sanders that you support and that you are in fact a true progressive then why not Vote for Jill Stein. Sure she stands little chance but so did Bernie six months ago and see how close he has come.

dianhow 6 years 51 weeks ago

Trump is a very dangerous man Thin skinned, bad temper, a bully, can not take any criticism without losing it... Trump boasts, has no compassion, is ignorant on foreign affairs & well may start a nucleat war when he is pi$$ ed off..which is often. Trump wil do greatl harm to our country . He will NOT raise min wage, will chose far right wing anti middle class judges ..who have lifetime jobs. Imagine Trump having access to nuclear code ! Trump & GOP depends on ignorance & fear to gain / retain power. Look at the people of KY ..who for 30 yrs keep voting for McConnell .. One of the most arrogant , uncaring, politicians of all So called 'public servants' Politicians get very wealthy on our dime while ignoring our wishes & doing what they please . Families, eduation, social security, medicare , poor kids, old, sick, elderly, mentall ill mean nothing to the GOP> US has too many GOP governors , becasue people do not vote in mid term elections, They must go asap .

dwalker's picture
dwalker 6 years 51 weeks ago

I think Thom is telling it all. I am not a brilliant person but even I can see what the networks are doing (i.e. MSNBC, CNN) focusing on Trumps mis-steps they miss the fact that the Republican party has show these same views, hate mongering, anti-minority, social security hating, healthcare bating and a total distain for the safety net that Trumpet boy really is all about. His books expose some of these same views, of course he changes in them as much as he do in public. The man is about himself, his wealth and power.....AND HE IS TELLING YOU THAT!!! But what fools if they think he is actually going to help them one iota....as Malcolm X so graciously stated: they have been had, they been took, hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, run amok....and they can't see it because of their hate.

Legend 6 years 51 weeks ago

Never under estimate the number of bigots in this country or the power of the gun lobby. It will be the dirtiest campaign in history. A lot of baggage on both sides. I am glad that the Democrat Convention is after the Republican Convention. I would not announce VP candidate until the D convention.

bluepilgrim's picture
bluepilgrim 6 years 51 weeks ago

"What I mean is that Democrats need to start talking about trade and economic issues like Trump does."

And then we the people would see even more clearly that the Democrats are lying and saying things to get elected which they will ignore and forget when in office. Already Clinton is lying about what she supports when her record shows just the opposite: wars, neoliberal (and neoclassical, austerity) economic and foreign policies, gutting welfare and the economy, mass incarceration to private prisons, civil rights and privacy violations, etc.

It doesn't matter what Democrats any any more than what Republicans say because they all lie through their teeth and work for the rich plutocracy and war mongers. There's only so much lipstich that can stick to pigs. Maybe Trump won't start WW3 and destroy the world, and maybe he will break from the Republicans and turn out to be an actual libertarian and realpolitiks guy (not good but better than neolibs or neocons).

But going by Clintons record, and even what she says now, she will start and support more wars and regime-change coups, (as with Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Honduras) and likely destroy the world (in a war with Russia), collapse the economy even more, further destroy privacy, deregulate banking more, consolidate the media monopoly more, and put more people in prison. She's still a 'Goldwater Girl at heart, and virtual war criminal.

It's too late, Thom -- the jig is up and more and more people are catching on and looking for real alternatives (such as socialism of some sort). Campaign rhetoric or the Democratic platform mean nothing because after the election it's back to business as usual. Fool me once, fool me twice, fool me three times ... there comes a point when even Charlie Brown wises up to Lucy and the football (and maybe votes Green or real socialist (instead of the pseudo-socialist of Sanders, who is more just a new deal social democrat)).

We have met the enemy and it is the duopoly party -- two branches of the same gang. 'Everybody knows'!

bluepilgrim's picture
bluepilgrim 6 years 51 weeks ago

I plan to vote for Stein, since there won't be a socialist on the ballot in my state, but I would prefer Trump get in over Clinton -- and very few people understand where Trump is actually coming from, and how he has been conducting his campaign like an exhibition in Wrestlemania.

He tells different stories to different groups at different times to gather the votes he wants. He bashed the Muslims and Mexicans because he wanted the votes of the angry white masses, understanding that few Muslims vote and most Latinos (and 'progressives' would not vote for a Republican in any case. He just does the numbers, creates the impressions he want, and manipulates the 'consumers' the same way any TV commercial or used car saleman would. He's a master practitioner of cognitive linguistics and manipulation, sales pitches, corporate 'street fighting' -- and that explains how he got so rich and how he creamed his competition in the primary.

Don't be surprised if his narrative changes significantly as he goes into the general election campaign, where his target is different, and don't be surprised if he wins the presidency (which I expect he will do), that his policies will be very unlike what you have seen from him so far -- that's very unpredictable: he might be very good, utter disaster, or just a placeholder for a few years. Trump is not your standard politician by any means, even if he knows how to play the game well when it suits his purposes. He plays this game on a higher and deeper level than any of them (and plays the media the people, and the system like a piano).

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