Sanders and Trump: the protest candidates

I remember reading what Robert Reich had to say:

“He can’t possibly win the nomination,” is the phrase heard most often when Washington insiders mention either Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders.

Yet as enthusiasm for the bombastic billionaire and the socialist senior continues to build within each party, the political establishment is mystified.

Political insiders don’t see that the biggest political phenomenon in America today is a revolt against the “ruling class” of insiders that have dominated Washington for more than three decades.

In two very different ways, Trump and Sanders are agents of this revolt. I’ll explain the two ways in a moment.

Don’t confuse this for the public’s typical attraction to candidates posing as political outsiders who’ll clean up the mess, even when they’re really insiders who contributed to the mess.

What’s new is the degree of anger now focused on those who have had power over our economic and political system since the start of the 1980s.

Yes, I know; these candidates are very different as well. For one, Sen. Sanders is an experienced politician and his agenda is your basic liberal agenda. In terms of policy, Mr. Trump is all over the place, and he is running more on personality than on substance.

But both are a reaction to anger. Sure, Sen. Sanders files all sort of “feel good” bills, none of which will ever see the light of day. He represents a very narrow constituency and may well win some early states. But as my friend Jennifer put it, he is a bit like that student council candidate who promises free candy in the lunch room: it is a popular thing, but will never happen.

Mr. Trump also responds to anger. Upset that our highways are a total joke? One of his commercials talks about rebuilding infrastructure.
Upset with smothering political correctness…so thick that it harms our higher education? Trump doesn’t have patience for the PC warriors.

Upset with the rich not paying taxes? Trump wants to tax them. And he is NOT under the thumb of rich donors; he doesn’t need them.

Oh yes, there is illegal immigration. And let’s face it; sometimes groups of immigrants (legal or otherwise) cause problems by not observing local culture. The negative reaction isn’t as simple as “white people are racist”.

Now, of course, I don’t want Mr. Trump anywhere the nuclear codes; and while anyone can see problems, doing something about them is a different matter entirely.


September 14, 2015 - Posted by | politics, politics/social | , , ,

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