Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the Same Candidate
Donald Trump: The right wing, xenophobic demagogue who is stirring up racial and ethnic tension. His insults and confident aura are admired by his many supporters, while those who are against him are horrified by his seemingly fascist rhetoric. Bernie Sanders: A far left wing candidate who calls for a socialist revolution in this country, following the example of the Nordic welfare state. He is universally popular with young liberals, offering them free college tuition and redistribution of wealth. On policy, these candidates seem to be as dissimilar as can be. However, they have a lot more in common than one would think. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are using the same methods to appeal to the same slice of voters in this election.
Bernie Sander’s supporters are not Democrats, rather they are their own breed of voter. Wildly popular amongst millennials, his supporters are by far the youngest (Wagner, John). New Hampshire exit polls showed that 83% of voters aged 18-24 voted for Bernie (Bradner, Eric, and Dan Merica). He addresses the issues young people truly care about: healthcare, marijuana legalization, and student debt. His position on issues is farther left than the Democratic establishment would care to venture. In fact, he isn’t even registered as a Democrat. His outsider status has been cemented by the fact that he proclaims himself to be a “democratic socialist”, in a country where “socialist” is used as an egregious pejorative. He shares millennial's anger and frustration toward the political system, and has suggested on more than one occasion that America should learn from countries like Denmark. Bernie Sanders uses the frustration of young voters to empower his campaign and ideals.
Donald Trump… where to begin. His campaign started out small and ridiculed. Politicians dismissed his run as just another ego trip for the Donald. But then he began to grow. And grow. Before the GOP knew it, he became the most likely Republican nominee for the 2016 election. His personality was one of swagger and bravado, brushing off any criticism that came his way. His personal attacks against countless individuals made for great TV, and the media gave him all the attention he wanted. Trump’s bigoted speeches and disdain for the political establishment tapped into the anger of the white, blue collar worker. Donald is not even close to a traditional conservative candidate. He has no clear policies besides on immigration, and even that is disputable. Yet, these facts seemed to strengthen him. No matter how many times he lied about facts, it didn’t weaken his campaign. The image of Trump as the ultimate outsider attracted many. He appealed to the emotional side of his voters, tapping into the collective rage against career politicians, the government, and immigrants.
Many people would say Donald Trump bears no resemblance to Bernie Sanders. After all, we are talking about a liberal socialist and a racist. They have repeatedly condemned each other. I will admit that they have very big policy difference. However, Sanders and Trump are approaching this election in the same way. In fact, out of 700 Sanders supporters polled in a recent survey, 500 said they would vote for Trump over Clinton ( Pilkington, Ed, and Chalabi, Mona). It seems that among both sides, hatred of the elite is more important than policies. Trump and Sanders both have strong, unorthodox personalities that are entertaining. They are outsiders, who fight against what many Americans see as a corrupt political elite. Their populist, exaggerated message appeals to Americans who want a change. They both tap into the anger and frustration of those Americans who feel they have been left behind.
Bernie and Donald, while very different on the issues, are pitching the same ideas to the same crowd. Statistically, neither one of these candidates are likely to become the next president. However, win or lose, their campaigns will change politics forever. This 2016 election marks the beginning of an era of “insurgent campaigns”, where personality and promises are more decisive than real policies and experience. This trend will prove catastrophic to American democracy. Do we need to be voting for people who play on our fear and anger? A leader needs to be moderate and actually fix the problems we have, instead of making bogus, unrealistic promises. America needs a leader grounded in reality, not one in fantasy.
Wagner, John. "Young Discover a Champion in Sanders. His Challenge: Get Them to Vote." Washington Post. 28 Oct. 2015: A.4. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.
Bradner, Eric, and Dan Merica. "Young Voters Abandon Hillary Clinton for Bernie Sanders." CNN.
10 Feb. 2016. Web.
Pilkington, Ed, and Mona Chalabi. "The Bernie Sanders Voters Who Would Choose Trump over Clinton." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, Jan.-Feb. 2016. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.
"SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR DONALD J. TRUMP." Make America Great Again! Web. 17 Mar. 2016.