• Ideas
  • politics

Bernie Sanders Says Brexit Should ‘Sound an Alarm’ Against Donald Trump

2 minute read

Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders wrote in the New York Times that the socioeconomic struggles that mobilized British citizens to vote for their nation to exit the European Union—shocking their largely wealthier, pro-EU compatriots—live in America, too. He writes in what amounts to a warning to all Americans, but particularly politicians, who discount the importance and realities of those struggling today:

Nearly 47 million Americans live in poverty. An estimated 28 million have no health insurance, while many others are underinsured. Millions of people are struggling with outrageous levels of student debt. … Meanwhile, in our country the top one-tenth of 1 percent now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. Fifty-eight percent of all new income is going to the top 1 percent. Wall Street and billionaires, through their “super PACs,” are able to buy elections.

Sanders then details what Americans have seen in recent decades: the decline in available factory jobs, that median wages are less than they were not long ago (for women in particular), widespread poverty and healthcare under-coverage, mounting student debt, and shorter lifespans for the impoverished because of “despair, drugs and alcohol.” Meanwhile, Sanders writes, “Fifty-eight percent of all new income is going to the top 1 percent. Wall Street billionaires, through their ‘super PACs,’ are able to buy elections.”

Sanders warns more specifically specifically against likely Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, whose campaign he compares to the U.K.’s Leave campaign, splotched with “demagogy, bigotry and anti-immigrant sentiment.”

The notion that Donald Trump could benefit from the same forces that gave the Leave proponents a majority in Britain should sound an alarm for the Democratic Party in the United States. Millions of American voters, like the Leave supporters, are understandably angry and frustrated by the economic forces that are destroying the middle class.

On the day the Brexit news hit, Sanders told MSNBC he will vote for Hillary Clinton; in this column he says “a new Democratic president” can be a bridge-builder for the troubled country.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary on events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of TIME editors.