Bernie Sanders

What's Behind Bernie Sanders' Surge? The Same Discontent That Caused Trump's 2016 Rise.

One dynamic that works in favor of both Trump and Sanders is that voters discount their extreme stances, figuring that they just represent opening offers that will eventually be watered down in compromises with powerful interest groups and with establishment lawmakers.

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What do people see in Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)?

"Nobody likes him," Hillary Clinton said recently. And yet with the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary rapidly approaching, the 78-year-old socialist senator from Vermont is at or near the top of most polls for the Democratic nomination.

Anyone relying on the mainstream media will find it hard to understand the appeal of Sanders. That's one of many ways that Sanders resembles President Trump. The press doesn't like him; it doesn't even pretend to like him. And the feeling is mutual.

Earlier this month, Sanders accused The Washington Post, owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, of hostility related to Sanders' views of Amazon. Trump has had similar complaints about the Post, which has been similarly hostile to Trump.

In 2015, I wrote a column calling for a Trump-Sanders ticket, noting that they were both tapping into voter frustration with politics-as-usual.

"Both are from the outer boroughs of New York City. Mr. Sanders is from Brooklyn; Mr. Trump, from Queens," I wrote. "Both are children of immigrants. Mr. Sanders' father was born in Poland; Mr. Trump's mother is from Scotland. Neither candidate served in the Vietnam War."

On trade and immigration, neither Trump nor Sanders are globalists. Both Trump and Sanders realize that open borders have worked better for MIT and Princeton economists than for low-skilled residents of fading northern manufacturing cities.

Both Trump and Sanders are instinctively antiwar. Sanders would cut military spending more than Trump has, and Sanders would favor a more multilateral approach to diplomacy. But both politicians have made it clear that they opposed the Iraq War and that they don't want to be lured into anything that looks at all like a repeat of that.

One dynamic that works in favor of both Trump and Sanders is that voters discount their extreme stances, figuring that they just represent opening offers that will eventually be watered down in compromises with powerful interest groups and with establishment lawmakers. Both have simple stories to tell about who is to blame for America's problems. Trump blames illegal immigrants, who do not vote. Sanders blames "billionaires," who represent only a tiny fraction of the electorate (though, between Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, they do represent a substantial fraction of the field of Democratic presidential candidates.)

From a policy perspective, Sanders is not at all my cup of tea. His proposed wealth tax is punitive, confiscatory, and probably unconstitutional. His health care plan and his other proposals demonstrate, in my view, naïve and unfounded confidence that centralized big-government programs can solve problems better than decentralized or private-sector initiatives.

But the panic that Sanders engenders in a certain class of New York and Washington types—the sort of people that Hillary Clinton is talking about when she says "Nobody likes him"—is a similar panic to the one those people feel about President Trump. Do I need to feel guilty about admitting that I not-so-secretly enjoy it?

Sure, some of the Sanders voters are holier-than-thou poseurs or outright sexists. Some of them are just naïve or ignorant, too young to have lived through the Cold War against the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. But plenty of Sanders voters, too, are legitimately fed up. The free-trade, easy money policies of the George W. Bush and Obama administrations didn't work for them. They feel insecure because of immigration, the opioid epidemic, the mental health crisis, the erosion of social capital, the decline of organized religion, and the concentration of economic growth in Silicon Valley, Boston, Northern Virginia, and Seattle rather than the rest of the country. It's a protest vote, a cry of frustration with the status quo. It's an "I've had enough and I'm not going to take it anymore" vote.

Sanders is a more credible voice of that message than is wealthy Harvard law school professor Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.), or Obama's vice president Joe Biden, or Rhodes Scholar Pete Buttigieg, or billionaire businessman Bloomberg. Whether he's a more credible voice of it than Trump himself—or whether the feeling even accurately represents the sentiments of most Americans in a moment of relative peace and prosperity—is something that we may yet discover in a general election campaign.

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  1. “The Same Discontent That Caused Trump’s 2016 Rise.”

    Nope.

  2. Voters supported Trump’s “extreme stances” because they were things like securing the border and not letting the Chinese steal our industrial base that voters agreed with.

    Ira has his head so far up his ass he thinks any view that will offend the delicate sensibilities of his dipshit Washington journalist friends is “extreme”.

    1. “securing the border”

      Actually if you paid attention to Nick Gillespie, you’d know more Americans than ever agree with the statement “Immigration is a good thing.” That proves “border security” is now the extreme, unpopular position.

      1. Stop building straw-men.

        There is a big difference between liking immigration and liking line jumpers that recklessly violate our laws to barge in.

        I would prefer that Trump’s plan allow far more legal immigration, but that does not mean that I object to cracking down on illegals.

        1. Well, that’s not really OPL’s strawman. Nick Gillespie and several other writers (Shikha Dalmia ) pretty much did make that equivalence.

  3. Illegal immigrants DO vote, in large numbers. The anomalous results in 2016 in Texas’ eastern border counties are almost certainly a result; whole the anomalous results in Florida and in Orange County, CA are almost certainly the result of cheating by local election officials.

    We need a new Voting Rights Act designed to combat these cheaters. At a minimum, it should provide that:
    * Convicted cheaters such as the chief of elections in Broward County, FL, are never allowed to hold such positions again even if voters want to elect them again;
    * States must conduct regular purges of their voter rolls;
    * Any county or district where there are more registered voters than eligible residents, or more votes cast than registered voters, triggers an automatic full audit in time to prevent fraudulent results becoming certified;
    * Anyone on the voter rolls who gets excused from jury duty on the grounds of non-citizenship must be immediately purged from the rolls and reported to ICE;
    * Any citizen shall have standing to sue to force these things to happen, and the right to access the information to make it happen; and
    * A $1,000 bounty shall be awarded to anyone reporting an illegal voter, including “snowbirds” who vote more than once.

  4. “Both Trump and Sanders realize that open borders have worked better for MIT and Princeton economists than for low-skilled residents of fading northern manufacturing cities.”

    What?! This sentence needs to be reworded. It sounds like the writer is not merely paraphrasing opponents of open borders, but rather agreeing with them. And as we all know, Reason and Cato studies consistently show that there are no downsides at all to Charles Koch’s immigration agenda.

    #OpenBorders
    #ImmigrationAboveAll

    1. Yeah, and if there is a downside we’ll fix it later!

      Haha.

  5. “One dynamic that works in favor of both Trump and Sanders is that voters discount their extreme stances”

    Can you please list what Trump’s “extreme stances” are?

    Sanders’ are well-known and alarming.

    1. “Trump Tower has the best taco bowls” was pretty extreme.

    2. If you’d quit being a bitter clinger for 2 seconds you’d realize that shipping people off to gulags isn’t an extreme position, it’s just all that fascist propaganda trying to prevent you from getting the re-education we all so desperately need.

    3. “Extreme” to a Beltway cosmotarian Reason hack = “not giving unlimited lifetime bennies to every person who manages to drag their sorry ass across our borders”. That makes Trump Hitler-level extreme.

    4. Building a wall would be extreme.

      I don’t support a wall and never will. I would, however, support ending the property tax and all the crap that goes along with it to reduce the allure of coming here for a free life paid for by US taxpayers.

      Of course in 2020, actually abiding by our constitution and making people pay for what they use is considered extreme.

      Oh, don’t take this for any kind of Bernie endorsement. Trump is WAAAAAY too far left for me. Bernie is a joke lefties like Trump tell to scare people into buying more guns.

      1. I get what you’re saying, but support for building a wall was a relatively mainstream position, even by Democrats, up until maybe a decade ago.

        It’s a long way away from spending $70 trillion or whatever for Bernie’s godawful proposals.

  6. The Reason staff likes to fancy themselves as forward-looking and incisive.

    Articles like this show that they still are as nonplussed about the Trump phenomenon as old 1950s Rotarians were about that crazy Rock and Roll.

    Of course, when you automatically assume that no reasonable person would ever oppose the concept of Open Borders or Free Trade, it’s easy to miss the real reasons Trump won.

    1. Articles like this show that they still are as nonplussed about the Trump phenomenon as old 1950s Rotarians were about that crazy Rock and Roll.

      They’ve relapsed back to the first stage of grief. Hopefully we can skip past some of the hate this time around.

    2. Well, rock and roll is the devil’s music.

      1. It’s STILL the devil’s music!

        — Peter Bagge, in a character’s balloon

  7. Bernie Sanders staffers unironically demand gulags for white Christian conservative from flyover country. Bernie Sanders calls for eliminating college tuition, internal combustion engines, and private health care. But yeah, that’s equally comparable to Trump’s extremist positions. Like…. uh……………. enforcing immigration law? Yeah, that’s it!

    1. I am thinking that the article should have been more about the “rhetoric” which earned Trump the White House being of similar nature to that of Bernie’s: with both being populists, why should we be surprised? (I could mention Obama there, too, but why rehash?)

      Bernie doesn’t really have any way of actually turning the vast majority of his favored ideas into implemented policies. And Trump’s policies, compared to his rhetoric, has also been somewhat restrained. And I think a lot of voters realize that as the reality. I think that Bernie’s main attraction is that he ISN’T Biden or Warren.

      1. Yeah, that would have been a better article. Trump is way less radical when it comes to actual policy. I can’t think of anything he’s done that I would call radical at all, really. It’s the rhetoric, style and approach to politics that is unusual. And he and Sanders do share that to some extent.

    2. “Bernie Sanders staffers unironically demand gulags for white Christian conservative from flyover country.”

      DECEPTIVELY EDITED VIDEOS

      1. You can see his lips moving. It is a continuous stream of words. Can you think of any context outside of a sitcom or theatrical production that those words would have a rational basis?

    3. Well, he did want to fuck all the immigrants to death.

      Or maybe I’m thinking of something else.

      1. I heard a rumor that “blackface” Trudeau has gone missing.

        Hmmmmm…….

  8. It is interesting that the authors compares the similarities between President Trump and Senator Sanders. I agree with his comparisons. What I find interesting and questionable is a willingness to accept Trump over Sanders. If you have misgivings that would stop you from voting for Sanders, you should have the same misgivings for Trump. If you fear Sanders will push us to an authoritative socialist state, you should be worried that Trump is pushing an authoritative state (maybe socialist, maybe fascist, not really sure). You should logically be pushing for an alternative which at this time is only available on the Democrat side.

    1. I’m not voting for either in any case, but I would have much larger misgivings about Sanders, myself. Trump is a big, ridiculous, unpleasant person. But his actual policy actions are really not particularly radical or destructive. Some are pretty good. Everything I hear from Sanders about actual policy is just scary.
      The strongest objections to Trump seem to be about personality and style. I can overlook that if he doesn’t fuck things up too badly. Bernie is just an old-fart commie and if he got any of his grander policies enacted it would be a disaster. If Trump, say, builds a wall, I will think it was kind of a waste of money, but it’s really not such a terrible thing to have happen unless you had your land seized so they could build it or you were planning on crossing the border there.

    2. Any of the dems would have the consent and approval of the MSM and federal swamp with the possible exception of Bernie.

      That makes any of them more dangerous.

      Trump makes the propaganda machine nuts. He will never get enough support anywhere to be the dictator the MSM makes him out to be. That’s fine.

      IMO, Bloomberg with the full support of both the swamp and MSM is the most dangerous situation the Republic has faced since Wilson.

      1. “He will never get enough support anywhere to be the dictator the MSM makes him out to be.”

        Really? Look at the impeachment. The President team is not really providing any defense. They are saying the impeachment is illegal. So the Republican Senate votes to keep the President. What happen in 2021 or 2025 at the latest, if Trump says he to stay President. Why would Republicans stand up then and not now?

        1. “Really? Look at the impeachment.”
          My point exactly. Bush tried to end the Bill of Rights with the Patriot Act. Obama murdered a US citizen with a smart bomb in Turkey and the MSM and DOJ and Congress did absolutely nothing about either.

          Trump was impeached for being elected.

          The establishment will never support Donald Trump enough to smart bomb an American or send FBI agents to force the press away from the story and into a ‘free speech zone’.

          In either case, someone will challenge his order.

          The establishment does not care about politics. It cares only about power. Trump got elected by threatening that power.

          He will never accumulate enough power to become a dictator.

          1. “Trump was impeached for being elected.”

            If you can rationalize this, why can you rationalize that Trump should be President for life.

            1. President for life would be a violation of the constitution. It would require a vote of 2/3rds of the states or overwhelming support from the progressive deep state who hate him so much they are openly forsaking their oaths to the constitution to spite him.

              Again, you have made my point for me. Trump will never have enough power to ever be any real threat to me.

        2. It’s honestly baffling how it’s possible for someone like mod to exist sincerely believing the things he does

          1. I am probably not watching enough Fox News. I do like Chris Wallace’s show, but is that really the Fox angle?

        3. Haha. You really worry about shit like that? Wow.

    3. Yeah, that tax cut I got really seemed fascist.

    4. “ You should logically be pushing for an alternative which at this time is only available on the Democrat side.”

      At least fucking pretend to be moderate.

  9. In Picketty’s book “Capitalism in the 21st Century”, he demonstrates that the larger the fortune, the more rapidly it grows on a percentage basis. This means that we are getting fewer and fewer wealthier and wealthier people with time. Evidence of this is demonstrated by the shrinking number of people who have the same wealth as the bottom half of the world population. I believe that number is rapidly approaching single digits. This is not sustainable. It is like the end game of monopoly — the takeaway is that the game ends.

    The wealth tax directly addresses this fatal flaw in our current economic system.

    1. Be that as it may, the bottom half of the world’s population is also becoming much wealthier than they have been historically.
      I can’t say there is a causal relationship there, but if greater inequality is accompanied by greater proseperity for most people as well, I’m not sure what the problem is.

    2. Said the guy who can’t figure out how to make money.

    3. In Picketty’s book “Capitalism in the 21st Century”, he demonstrates that the larger the fortune, the more rapidly it grows on a percentage basis.

      This is not unique to the 21st century, and yet the number of poor people in the world is shrinking.

      How do you suppose that’s possible?

    4. It is like the end game of monopoly — the takeaway is that the game ends.

      It’s actually not like Monopoly. In part because the game does not, in fact, end.

      The wealth tax directly addresses this fatal flaw in our current economic system.

      Given that the ‘game’ doesn’t ‘end’ and the ranks of the poor are shrinking by the day, why is this ‘flaw’ a ‘fatal’ one?

      And perhaps more importantly, how does confiscating wealth in the name of eliminating rich people help anyone?

    5. Piketty is a charlatan, a term that should be synonymous with the phrase “leftist economist”.

      Back in 2014, Bob Murphy, a real economist, completely debunked Piketty on the Tom Woods Show.

      Like many other charlatans, such as Krugman and Reich, Piketty is little more than a shill for increased state interference and expropriation.

    6. “Evidence of this is demonstrated by the shrinking number of people who have the same wealth as the bottom half of the world population.”

      How about some evidence that this, if true, is actually a problem? You’re not arguing that rich people having more keeps poor people from having more, too, are you?

      1. And how is anyone harmed by Bill Gates having a buttload of money?

        1. And how is anyone harmed by Bill Gates having a buttload of money?

          No one is harmed. Quite the contrary.

          Since its IPO Microsoft has minted three billionaires and some 12,000 millionaires.

          The entire ecosystem created by Gates and Microsoft has not only minted countless more millionaires but enriched the lives of billions of people, both directly through the products they’ve created and the efficiencies the use of those products has resulted in.

          Leftists in general, and socialists in particular, appear to be incapable of understanding this rather obvious truth, which is among the reasons they impoverish and destroy every single economy they’ve ever managed to seize control of.

          And make no mistake, that’s exactly what they are in the process of doing to the western world.

        2. Gates outbid me on that Da Vinci codex!

    7. microsrfr
      January.27.2020 at 6:00 pm
      “In Picketty’s book “Capitalism in the 21st Century”, he demonstrates that the larger the fortune, the more rapidly it grows on a percentage basis. This means that we are getting fewer and fewer wealthier and wealthier people with time….”

      Simplistic bullshit. Try Malthusianism; it’s suited to your stupidity

  10. Look! He’s crushing that kid’s little head.

    1. He’s showing how much the bourgeois will be left with after he’s done taking their shit away.

      Or maybe how much of the US population won’t be going to a gulag.

      Possibly how much he really cares about the poor?

      It could be that he’s illustrating how much useful work he’s done since his commune days.

      Or how big the deodorant section will be when he controls all the grocery stores.

      Or maybe you’re right. The new and improved Sanders method of Kulak and Wrecker execution.

  11. Surge?

  12. Interesting juxtaposition of voter / citizen discontent from both sides of the aisle / spectrum. “I’ve had enough and I’m not going to take it anymore” strikes both young & old (although the young have never seen Network).

  13. Can anyone tell me the point of this article? It seems to go something like this:

    1) Orange Man=Bad.
    2) Press hates Orange Man.
    3) Press hates Sanders.
    4) Therefore Sanders=Orange Man

    Maybe I missed some nuances?

    1. Pretty sure you have a handle on it.

    2. I don’t think that Ira is capable of Nuance, what you see is what you get.

  14. …calling for a Trump-Sanders ticket…

    Wait… we know from physics that getting matter and anti-matter together can be catastrophic.

    What if the billionaire and the anti-billionaire in close proximity annihilates not only themselves but all the deplorables and Bernie bros in one gigantic moron explosion?

    Depending on the collateral damage estimates, I could get on board with that.

  15. Trump’s sure to win it unless the Fed crashes the economy before the election, in which case his chances probably fall to 75% or less.

    After Trump though, it’s not like the Republicans have a deep bench. If the Democrats clean up their act after getting a Mondale-level crushing defeat, they might possibly win in 2024 against a nobody like Pence, IF they can nominate a sane candidate.

    -jcr

    1. Good point. We need to arrest Rand Paul, shave his head and lock him up, not in solitary but, behind the window at the Disney ride It’s a Small World.

      Come 2024 we let him out, elect him president and give him a shotgun.

      Give him an orange wig and he gives us a whole new meaning to ‘You’re fired!’.

    2. Trump as the incumbent is favored, but hardly a sure thing. Sanders like Trump has a devoted base. Many of the people that thought Trump would help and were disappointed may swing the other direction. We survived 4 years with Trump and whose to say we can’t survive 4 years of Sanders. Then 2024 could be a return to sanity or maybe something more outrageous than either. If that is possible.

    3. Nikki Haley would be a decent candidate, and from what I’ve heard she’s planning to run 2024. How ironic would it be if the first female president was a Republican?

      1. I think she’s doing a good job of positioning herself for a run.

  16. I am seriously considering voting for Bernie in the primary because it will be a vote against some of the most vile turds to ever exist (Bloomberg, Warren, and Biden) and if he wins, it will be hysterically funny to see the all beltway progtard types shit their pants even worse than they did in 2016 because they won’t have one of their own to vote for.

    1. I hear you, I just worry that we end up with a reverse of 2016’s situation, where Clinton & the media pushed for Trump in the primary because they thought he’d be an easy victory…

    2. Agreed; anyone with an open primary should do the same.

  17. “One dynamic that works in favor of both Trump and Sanders is that voters discount their extreme stances, figuring that they just represent opening offers that will eventually be watered down in compromises with powerful interest groups and with establishment lawmakers.”

    This is a bit of straw-grasping that Welsh should be embarrassed to post on the site.
    No, the assumption that Bernie’s and Trump’s proposals/supporters were/are anywhere close to similar only demonstrates your TDS.
    Bernie is “free shit!”; appealing to those who imagine those who have wealth are swimming in pools of gold coins after dinner. To assume a similarity to the appeal of Trump only shows the degree Stoll’s TDS has had on his mental capabilities.
    We know you think you’re oh, so much superior to Trump; hell, he has small hands! Hint: You and she lost; try growing up.
    Or fucking off.

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  22. Clinton and the Democrats, as well as many Republicans, insulted Trump and, often, his supporters and Trump won.

    Clinton and the Democrats, as well as many Republicans, insult Sanders and, often, his supporters . . .

    However, the Trump supporters and the Sanders’ supporters have totally different perspectives.

    But, yes, there seems to be something quite solid in saying many, from all sides, want something very different than the establishment choices. Obvious.

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  25. “The same discontent”
    Agree. The system is rigged, and not in your favor.

    Different villains though: For Sanders/Warren it’s the rich, for Trump it’s immigrants.

    The message is the same.

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