Many critics of Bernie Sanders, often on the left, have compared his surge in popularity to the rapid ascent of Donald Trump in the Republican Party. Claiming that both have populist appeal, these critics claim that both are very similar because they talk to the voters in both parties who are tired of politics as usual. Even as the juggernaut that was once the Hillary Clinton campaign slowly begins to look less and less inevitable, they want us to believe that only immediate and unequivocal support for her candidacy will keep the White House out of Republican hands next year.
To seriously compare Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump shows a disturbing lack of political understanding. The two candidates have far more differences than they do things in common, but good luck explaining that to establishment Democrats who seem to want us rally around one candidate before the first debates have even happened.
Bernie Sanders is an intellectual, a politician who has a long history of working as an independent with members of both political parties. In order for someone to accomplish this, especially in today’s hyper-partisan political system, they have to be able to listen and be willing to make compromises for the sake of passing legislation – even when it may ruffle the feathers of their most ardent supporters.
That’s not to say he isn’t passionate and willing to raise his voice, as anyone who has been to one of his campaign rallies can tell you. But there is a difference between being passionate about issues you care so much about that you have viable solutions for, versus relying on jingoistic catchphrases and demonizing the entire population of a neighboring country to get the support of the dumbest and angriest voters. Bernie Sanders is genuinely concerned that we need to fix our infrastructure, raise the minimum wage, and make higher education for all a reality instead of a student loan nightmare. He has proposed all of these things and more, and he’s outlined exactly how they would be carried out under a Sanders administration.
On the other hand, Donald Trump’s campaign has relied on a theme of “my way or the highway” with promises that he will make other countries bend to his will. His reckless arrogance in regards to foreign policy and alliances makes George W. Bush look like a master statesman by comparison. There are very little in the way of plausible specifics to anything that he has proposed, and he can’t even explain how a wall extending the length of the United States/Mexico border would be built, other than to say that he would make the country of Mexico pay for it. All we hear from Trump is insults and that he’s unbelievably rich, unlike the other candidates in the race.
Of course this makes little sense to educated voters, but that isn’t who Donald Trump is trying to appeal to. As Rick Santorum once said, “We’ll never have the smart elite people on our side.” Donald Trump has apparently embraced that statement more than any other Republican in the race.
Trump is not going after the readers of The Economist or the Washington Post, he’s actively courting readers of conservative clickbait websites like Political Insider or Conservative Tribune which contain about as much intelligent conservative rhetoric as the turds my dog dropped on the lawn this morning. The fact that a full two-thirds of his supporters believe that President Obama is a Muslim is further proof that Donald Trump has little interest in policy, and is content to cruise along solely on the power of an angry, willfully ignorant white demographic which is afraid of everything they do not understand.
Former NBA superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also points out the difference between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump in a column for the Washington Post this morning:
The two approaches reveal the difference between a mature, thoughtful and intelligent man, and a man whose money has made him arrogant to criticism and impervious to feeling the need to have any actual policies. Trump threatens to run an independent campaign (he won’t; that’s a negotiating ploy). Trump is a last-call candidate who looks good in the boozy dark of political inebriation. (Source)
Even the way the two men address reporters illustrates the great difference between the two. Bernie Sanders doesn’t entertain reporters’ questions about other candidates and their looks; he wants to talk about real issues. On the other hand, Trump not only welcomes those questions, but he uses every chance he can get to make disparaging and petty remarks about people simply to get a rise out of the press. While this may take him as far as securing the Republican nomination, you can bet that nothing will bring out the liberal and minority vote en masse more than facing the possibility of a Trump presidency, if he even gets that far.
I believe that ultimately, the air will go out of the Trump balloon, and he’ll go off sputtering into the political night – at least for another 4 to 8 years. Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, is in it for the long haul.
Latest posts by Manny Schewitz (see all)
- It Looks Inevitable, Donald Trump Will Eventually Be The Republican Nominee - January 17, 2016
- Donald Trump Is Now Using Ted Cruz’s Canadian Birth Against Him - January 14, 2016
- Hillary Clinton’s False Statements On Bernie Sanders’ Healthcare Record Are Disgraceful - January 14, 2016