It’s rare that I come across something that truly stumps me. But when I came across an exchange Donald Trump had with Mika Brzezinski during MSNBC’s town hall event on Wednesday night, I was a little befuddled. The truth is, I’m still not even sure if it was a slight jab at Bernie Sanders or direct shot Trump himself. Though it was undoubtedly an exchange that’s worth discussing.
It happened when Brzezinski asked Trump to guess who she was talking about.
“The candidate is considered a political outsider by all the pundits,” Brzezinski stated. “He’s tapping into all the anger of the voters, delivers a populist message. He believes everyone in the country should have healthcare. He advocates for hedge fund managers to pay higher taxes. He’s drawing thousands of people at his rallies and bringing in a lot of new voters to the political process, and he’s not beholden to any super PAC. Who am I describing?”
“Or any special interests or any donors,” Trump replied. “You’re describing Donald Trump.”
“Actually, I was describing Bernie Sanders,” she shot back.
Again, I’m not entirely sure what the point of this exchange was. To be honest, depending on how you want to take it, it can either be seen as a jab at Trump or Sanders. Neither candidate, or their supporters, wants to hear anything about either candidate being remotely similar to the other. Though I guess some could spin it as they’re both two candidates who are tapping into the anger of Americans who are sick and tired of “business as usual” in Washington.
But when you actually think about it, the two candidates are somewhat similar in a few aspects. That’s ironic because, as people, they couldn’t be more different. Bernie Sanders is someone who genuinely cares about average Americans, focusing on issues like combating income inequality and helping the middle class. He has a true desire to revolutionize several aspects of our society, including our health care industry, transforming it into a socialized single-payer model similar to most other industrialized nations.
So don’t get me wrong, in my opinion, these two men couldn’t be more different in most ways.
That being said, let’s look at a few similarities between the two campaigns. They both:
- Criticize the media.
- Claim the party (DNC/RNC) is being unfair to them.
- Claim to be anti-establishment/outsider candidates.
- Denounce super PACs.
- Claim that big money is trying to influence the election.
- Often claim to be the victim to rally their supporters around them.
- Attack lobbyists and special interests.
- Bash trade deals.
- Claim that we have to “end the status quo” in Washington.
- Use the sizes of the crowds they attract as a means to prove their “grassroots” movement is inspiring voters.
- Are running as “populist” candidates.
Not only that, but their supporters share some of the same qualities as well. Both groups are intensely loyal; seem to get energized the more their candidate is vetted or scrutinized; believe that the media is unfair to their candidate; think the party is working against their candidate; and typically believe anything and everything that their candidate says, while aggressively bashing anyone who speaks out against them.
While this seemed more like a shot at Trump, it still struck me as incredibly strange.
Though I’m sure that either groups of supporters will typically dismiss this in one of two ways:
- They’ll claim that having similarities with another candidate doesn’t mean anything because Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio all have things in common, too. – or –
- They’ll dismiss this as a “gotcha” question that was specifically setup by the “corporate media” to make both candidates look bad to their voters.
However, maybe it was just a silly question and I’m reading too much into it.
Watch the video below via MSNBC: