The greatest challenge facing President-elect Trump is following through with his campaign promises to raise the living standard for working-class Americans and bring back manufacturing jobs. Will Trump be able to convert his campaign rhetoric into meaningful solutions to address the financial struggles the working class faces?
Today’s working class has seen a persistent decline in economic prosperity due to stagnant wages and unchecked corporate greed. America’s working class is no longer a homogenous group of white males with factory jobs but instead has expanded to include women and minorities holding one or more jobs in the service industry. What this new working class of Americans desperately wants is to earn a living that gives them stability and flexibility. Worker-friendly policies such as paid sick leave, increased minimum wage, fair work schedules and affordable child care would be seen as significant steps toward addressing the economic inequalities that working class families face.
Sure, Trump has made quixotic promises to rip up trade agreements that hurt American workers, penalize companies for moving jobs overseas and strengthen manufacturing—which all make for great talking points, but the question now is: How? The reality is Trump will have to partner with a Republican Congress that rigidly opposes the very policies popular with the working class. At the end of the day, Trump will have to prioritize policies that create economic opportunity for the working class, or the voters who sent him to the White House will just as quickly turn against him.