Bernie Sanders

Is Bernie Sanders the Democratic Party's Donald Trump? 

Like Trump before him, Sanders is using establishment disunity to mount an insurgent campaign.


Last night, Sen. Bernie Sanders (IVt.) won the New Hampshire primary. Along with his strong showing at last week's Iowa caucuses, his devoted base, and his position atop national polls, that makes Sanders the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. In one way, this is a strange situation: A self-declared democratic socialist and longtime critic of the Democratic Party is now the leading contender for that same party's nomination. But in another way, it feels awfully familiar. In Sanders' rise, there are clear echoes of Donald Trump's tumultuous path to power in the GOP.

Start with Sanders' campaign strategy. In a 2018 profile for New York magazine, a former Sanders adviser explained how the candidate hoped to win: "Facing what's likely to be a historically large field, he's been told, Sanders could start with his most loyal supporters from last time and go for a tight plurality victory in Iowa's caucuses, followed by a slightly bigger one in New Hampshire's primary. From there, advisers hope, his numbers could grow as the field dwindles." In broad strokes, that is almost exactly what has happened so far. And, as Sanders' advisers admitted in the piece, it is much the same approach that Trump used in 2016. 

Like Trump, Sanders has used the unusually large Democratic field to his advantage, drawing on a big base of support while other candidates, particularly those running as moderates, vie to consolidate support and become his leading rival. As Reason's Matt Welch has often noted, the combined polling totals for the Democratic "moderate" candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (DMinn.) and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg have typically run 10 points or so ahead of the totals for progressive candidates like Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (DMass.). But the high floor of support for Sanders, the collapse of the Warren campaign, and the failure of the center to rally around Sanders alternatives have put Sanders at the top of the heap. 

Sanders, in other words, is using the party establishment's disunity as a vehicle for mounting an insurgent campaign. In an era in which Democratic leadership can't seem to decide who—or what—to support, Sanders is stepping in and offering to fill the void by appealing to a vocal part of the Democratic coalition that has often felt left out of the party's mainstream.

For Trump, that meant rallying older, working-class populists angry with the nation's political and cultural elite. For Sanders, it means activating a different sort of populist coalition, one that is younger and more diverse, but similarly distrustful of elite power as it currently exists. Their coalitions are not the same, but the messages both candidates use to reach those coalitions have more than a little overlap: The people in power aren't looking out for your interests or your values; as president, I'll punish them—and help you. 

There are other similarities between the candidates as well: Their relatively advanced ages, their fondness for foreign authoritarians, their lack of interest in the difficult particulars of federal budgeting—and, perhaps most of all, their desire to break and then remake America's major political parties in their own image. 

So much as Trump represented a substantial departure from traditional GOP power centers, Sanders' ascent represents a near-total break from the Democratic Party establishment as we have known it for the last 30 years. Just as Trump trounced GOP scion Jeb Bush, who represented continuity with the Republican Party as it had been known for decades, Sanders is trouncing Biden, the primary's incarnation of Democratic Party power, stretching back to the Obamas, the Clintons, and even before. Bush and Biden served as avatars of their party establishments; the victories of Trump and Sanders (so far) show just how weak those parties have become. 

One might argue that this is a good thing, insofar as it helps expose the insufficiency of the two-party duopoly, and the real and longstanding ways that binary system has failed to serve the interests of many, perhaps most, voters who don't fully align with one or the other. 

Or one might argue, like Jonathan Rauch and Ray La Raja, that this represents a failure of responsibility on the parties, who have historically vetted candidates, that leads to candidates who are not only unqualified but dangerous. Indeed, candidates nominated through this process are arguably unrepresentative, in that, at least at first, they represent pluralities rather than majorities within their own parties. 

I think there is some truth to both views: The old model of two-party politics, with its indifference to individual political idiosyncrasies, left out many people and worldviews. And its standard-bearers, in both parties, presided over large and ongoing failures of policy and governance. Those failures are an important driver of the Sanders-Trump backlash we're witnessing now. 

Yet it's far from clear that the emerging model, with its bias toward fringe populism, is an improvement; indeed, it may be worse. For it looks increasingly plausible that it will leave us with a presidential election that offers a choice between a right-leaning authoritarian populist on one hand and a democratic socialist who has too often given a pass to foreign dictators whose politics align with his own. That's not much of a choice.

And in many ways, the lack of choice was always the problem. Sanders and Trump may have revealed the weaknesses of the two-party system and hijacked it for their own ends. But they haven't defeated it. 

NEXT: Bernie Sanders' Alternative to Court-Packing is Almost as Bad

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  1. Oh geez, what have you done now Nick.

    1. He let Suderman loose without adult supervision. That is not a good role for Suderman.

      1. My favorite bit:
        “their fondness for foreign authoritarians”
        As opposed to Suderman’s fondness for Western ones.

        He just can’t wait to pull the lever for a Biden/Buttgig ticket.

        1. The same magazine that cheered Obama signing the nuclear deal with Iran now claims Trump’s fondness for authoritarian governments is a problem. And Trump’s fondness seems to consist of being unwilling to go to war with them as far as I can tell.

          Reason is now all tough guy saber rattling get the Ruskies neocon because Orange Man bad. Suderman and his nitwit wife are the worst They really are. My God how have such people been given any kind of platform?

          1. Take a look at the provisions of the JCPOA. You’re telling us that these provisions reflected fondness for the government of Iran?


            1. Yes I am. They gave them several hundred billions of dollars in cash. They also allowed them to end the sanctions in return for a promise that was only good for ten years and wasn’t even enforceable anyway.

              How the fuck can you say it isn’t showing a fondness for Iran. More importantly, how can you possibly claim that Trump saying something about the guy in the Philippines or the dreaded Putin is in any way equivalent to actually sending one of the worst regimes in the world hundreds of billions of dollars in cash?

              1. They gave them several hundred billions of dollars in cash.

                They un-froze about $100 B in their own assets. They didn’t give them any money.

                They also allowed them to end the sanctions in return for a promise that was only good for ten years and wasn’t even enforceable anyway.

                Which is a hell of a lot better than the current situation, where there are no promises, no restrictions, and they’re already revving up their centrifuges and enriching past 3.6%.

                Isn’t allowing them to continue their enrichment program showing them fondness?

                More importantly, how can you possibly claim

                Well, you see, I never claimed anything about that.

                1. They un-froze about $100 B in their own assets. They didn’t give them any money.

                  Those assets were frozen. They were being held to compensate the victims of Iran’s terrorism. The US was under no legal or moral obligation to unfreeze them. It only did so as a bribe to get the JCPOA. So, yes they did give them hundreds of billions of dollars in cash. The fact that it came from frozen assets and not taxpayers is a distinction without difference. So stop lying and pretending that it somehow matters. Moreover, even if you think they were owed the money, they didn’t have to give it to them in untracable cash. Obama only did that because Iran demanded it. And Iran only demanded it because cash could be used to fund criminal activities in ways electronic funds cannot. So even your bullshit excuse making cannot excuse that.

                  Which is a hell of a lot better than the current situation, where there are no promises, no restrictions, and they’re already revving up their centrifuges and enriching past 3.6%.

                  No it wasn’t. Iran is broke. And they were running their centerfuges anyway. Iran violated the deal from day 1. And Obama didn’t care. He knew they would. The whole thing was a shame to ensure that Iran got nukes after Obama was gone and couldn’t be blamed for it.


                  Obama was pretty much an Iranian ally. And sadly, people like you and many Libertarians on this board have a real fondness for the Iranian government and were happy to see Obama throw them a lifeline and give them the money to keep their regime afloat.

                2. If you think the JCPOA did anything to even hinder Iran’s approach to nuclear weapons, you might be a moron

                3. “Nuh-uh, they un-froze about $100 B in their own assets. They didn’t give them any money.”

                  Oh for fuck sakes, seriously?


                4. They didn’t have to raid your aunt’s snatch for the billions of euros, we could have provided credits for soybeans or Budweiser. How f*ing stupid are you?!!

                5. Also, all of Iran’s military sites were off limits to inspections. Gee, I wonder where they were running their centrifuges?

                6. “They un-froze about $100 B in their own assets. They didn’t give them any money.”

                  Geez, that was seriously the most stupid thing I’ve read in a long time. Kinda like, “I didn’t sell crack to the kid, I gifted it to him and he gifted me cash in return.” Also, just a parrot the excuses made once caught.

                  Right in there with Sen Chris Murphy saying that’s he’s not trying to conduct foreign policy by meeting with Iran, just that he was talking with them [as a Senator] because someone should talk to them.

                  Which is right in there with John Kerry saying that his trip to Iran wasn’t foreign policy either, but because he was visiting friends he’d made as SoS and talking about stuff like grandkids…. or was it yoga or weddings. I can’t recall.

                  Is there no level of bullshit that you find embarrassing to repeat?

      2. Christ, did he at least give him a helmet first?

    2. Insofar as Sanders will deliver what the Democrat base truly wants – socialism writ large – as opposed to the deep state cronyism of the party poobahs, then yes, he is the Democrat version of Trump

      1. That is the thing, will the other candidates not do that too? They all seem to claim they will.

      2. No. Sanders is an ideologue with blinders on. Trump puts the bully in bully pulpit, and wants to swing his dick worldwide with only a few real targets: China, illegals, parasitic Europeans.

  2. Trump has done more to reduce the power of the regulatory state than any President in the last 80 years. He has reduced the regulatory state significantly more than even Reagan. Trump is also the first President to take concrete steps to reduce the federal prison population.

    There is simply no rational case to be made that Trump is an authoritarian. That Suderman not only claims he is but does so without any explanation or support for why shows just how much of a hack Suderman is. I wouldn’t call Suderman dishonest because I have no doubt he actually believes that. But Suderman believes it contra to all evidence because Suderman is a conformist who is unable to question the conventional wisdom of the intellectual and social bubble that he inhabits.

    Trump is an authoritarian because that is what the people around Suderman say he is and Suderman is such a conformist and coward he would never dream of questioning it. It is pathetic.

    1. half my fun @reason is reading you rail on Suderman and Binion.

      1. It is the dishonesty. If Suderman thinks Trump is a bad President, fine, say so. But just say that you don’t like anyone who enforces the border or impedes international trade in any way such that they are a lousy president no matter what else they do. I don’t agree with that but it is at least an honest position. Instead of just being honest and saying he hates Trump because like everyone else at reason open borders and free trade are the only issues that really matter to him, he lies and says bullshit like this.

        1. Trump has a few things to rail on him about but unreason choose to outright lie or just print Propaganda without any support because those staff members believe it.

          I still think Trump is the best President in US History based on his record of rolling back real policies that have taken us to the brink (open borders) and trying to implement other good things that Congress has blocked (i.e. huge budget cuts).

          If Lefties had not gone after Trump the way they did, Trump would not have had such a good record because there would be less to make his mark on.

          The fact that unreason cannot produce supported criticisms of Trump backs up my case. Trump being a poopyhead is not good enough. Trump is also the only President to survive a coup attempt.

          1. “Best” is a value judgement. It is perfectly reasonable to think Trump is a terrible President. What is not reasonable is to think Trump is a terrible President because you claim he is something he obviously isn’t. Suderman can’t just make an argument why this or that Trump policy is bad. He has to virtue signal about how Trump is not just wrong but evil and morally wrong. It is pathetic.

            1. Authoritarianism is a spectrum; saying one is it isn’t misses the point. I argued and firmly believe Hillary was day more authoritarian than Trump. Trump is no von Mises, he has his authoritarian aspects as all officials do (even John Adams has the Allen and Sedition Acts). But he’s noting like the picture most of his detractors paint.

              1. Hate to be the grammar nazi but this post is a mess.

              2. “Authoritarianism is a spectrum”. Agreed.

                1) It’s also an interpretation, as would be the political charge of “abuse of power”, which every party always makes towards the opposite party while in executive charge. One can make the charge that authoritarianism is achieved by reversing the actions of the last president, even if he is reducing the power of the government at large because he’s enforcing his will to reduce the government. It’s a silly charge, but nonetheless effective with mouth-breathers.
                2) Sudderman however, plays the too-often successful game of enforcing the presumption through equivalence. As in, it’s okay to presume Trump’s authoritarian without evidence so long as you say that Sanders is also an authoritarian. Lay your premise quickly and then quickly move on in hopes that the reader will accept the premise because you also attack the other guy.

                The only case that could be made for Trump authoritarianism is his dealing with foreign powers, whereas Sanders’ entire mantra is imposing his powers by force on the US citizens.

    2. “There is simply no rational case to be made that Trump is an authoritarian.”

      Executive Orders used to bypass the legislature?

      1. What orders doing what? Show me an order that you think is illegal and most importantly increases the power of government making it more authoritarian. In addition, explain why that outweighs the other things he has done so much that it is now fair to describe Trump as “authoritarian”>

      2. poor eric. His citations keep falling off.

      3. “Who is Obama for $500”

    3. Trump is an authoritarian because that is what the people around Suderman say he is and Suderman is such a conformist and coward he would never dream of questioning it.

      I think that’s true, but that there might be more to it than that.

      I think a whole class of people, including a good number of libertarians, think of themselves as the anointed, as fundamentally smarter, fundamentally savvier, and fundamentally more sophisticated than the great unwashed, than the sort of rubes with “We Support Our Troops” or “Your Ted Kennedy Has Killed More People Than My AR-15” on bumper-stickers on the back of their car. There has to be a chasm between libertarians and those people because then the agreement might imply not that much an intellectual gulf.

      It’s why any attempt by the Republicans to repeal Obamacare “wasn’t serious” and threatening a government shut-down to get repeal was “an act of insanity”. Yet, the Republicans backing down on their repeal attempts was a sign they never really opposed it. For the anointed, the prospect of being associated with the likes of Ted Cruz (nevermind that Cruz is a Harvard Law grad with multiple SCOTUS wins under his belt) is just not something that is acceptable.

      And all of that brings us to Donald Trump, the long-regarded “short-fingered vulgarian”. Of course they opposed Trump’s candidacy. And it’s bad enough that Trump won. But, for Trump to govern in a way that, if not libertarian (he’s definitely not) proves at least libertarian friendly, is a threat to the very identity of a libertarian anointed. Here’s this guy, a guy, they specifically rejected, and he accomplishes at least part of what they’ve always claimed are their goals. The only options that leaves is rejecting their presumption of superiority.

      1. You said it very well Bill. All of that is true. And that is why I can’t stand people like Suderman. Who the hell is he? What has he ever done that makes him the anointed? Nothing as far as I can see. We have a real problem in this country of people confusing technical authority with moral authority. Just someone is say a doctor gives them the technical authority to say how someone should be treated but it doesn’t give them the moral authority to decide if they should be treated or who should pay for it if they are.

        Suderman is even worse than that. He doesn’t even have any technical authority. He is not an expert on anything. I have more respect for and more faith in the guy who cuts my lawn or fixes my car than I do in people like Suderman. At least those guys are an expert on something.

        1. What has he ever done that makes him the anointed?
          The truth is there is no anointed. And the closer you are to being someone whose views merit special consideration, the less likely you are to think of yourself that way. You know the limitations of your knowledge as you become genuinely knowledgeable. Knowledge is so widely distributed that claims of general expertise are laughable.

      2. my bumper sticker (not on my car) said “I’d rather hunt with Dick Cheney than ride with Ted Kennedy”

      3. Same was the case with Howard Stern.

    4. “There is simply no rational case to be made that Trump is an authoritarian.”

      You don’t need a rational case for a proposition when you can have the propaganda arms of the ruling class repeat it a million times.

      Sixty-two thousand four hundred repetitions make one truth.
      – Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

    5. Trump is shredding the safety net. It’s what libertarians have always touted as the means to individual liberty, but now that it’s being enacted, it terrifies a generation which has been raised over the net.

    6. which regulations were hurting you?
      he wants to reduce regs on methane gas emissions on frack wells. those regs are in place now and we have O&G exploration at all time high, stocks soaring, profits, jobs…….all good in spite of methane regs…….an for instance

      love to hear what regs are ruining you life

      1. How about the EPA power grab under Obama that enabled them to regulate any damp spot on the ground?

  3. I love your titles, Pete. every time.

  4. Isn’t this so far just a replay of Bernie’s own 2016 run? Strong showing in Iowa and a win in New Hampshire, except due to a thinner field Bernie actually had more delegates at this point in 2016 than he does today

    1. Yes it is. What Suderman doesn’t understand is that Trump won the nomination in 2016 because the Republican party ceded the field on trade and immigration. The Republicans let Trump own the two most potent issues with the electorate. They never once made any attempt to reach out to his supporters or co-opt Trump’s views or give Trump’s supporters any reason to change their vote. They just called his supporters racists and yelled “how dare you” and were left to wonder why the voters didn’t listen.

      In contrast, the Democrats haven’t ceded anything to Bernie. If you like the crazy shit Bernie is selling, you can get it in pretty much the same form from every other candidate. Bernie has a core of supporters but there really isn’t much of a reason to vote for him instead of any of the other contenders. The Bernie phenomena is completely different than what happened in 2016 with Trump.

      But Suderman is for whatever reason unable to admit that the public really doesn’t want open borders and isn’t that enamored with ensuring people like Suderman having access to cheap shit made in China. So, Suderman has to pretend that Bernie is the same as Trump.

      1. +10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

      2. Basically agree. I see Sanders as a kind of Ron Paul figure – a percentage of people love him, but the rest are indifferent-to-hostile. If he gets through to the nomination, I have a hard time seeing him getting more than, say, 38% of the popular vote.

        Trump was different. As John points out, he identified a couple of items that were important to Republican voters, but weren’t being addressed by national Republican politicians. And, otherwise, his positions were mostly a mainstream, centrist Republican.

        Also, Trump ran against some pretty solid and plausible candidates. He demonstrated a pretty remarkable amount of political skill in dividing and defeating those rivals.

        Bernie, on the other hand, is up against one of the weakest fields I can remember. The people who should have been effective and compelling candidates – Booker, Bennett, Harris – completely collapsed.

        Maybe I’ll be proven completely wrong at the end of this. It’s happened before! But I think the similarities between Trump and Bernie are deceptively attractive, while the differences will ultimately be more predictive of the outcome.

        1. Ron Paul is a good analogy except that Paul actually did support policies that were not supported by the other candidates. Paul really was different. I really can’t see how Bernie is any different. They all embrace gun confiscation, free healthcare for illegal aliens, the Green New Deal and the rest. The only way Bernie might be different is if you assume he is the only one telling the truth, which is possible.

          1. Ironically the one thing Bernie might not be truthful on is the one thing the others likely are: Gun control

            Bernie was never big on gun control until 2016, when he had to embrace it to placate the democratic party leaders. I’m still not sure if he actually flipped or is just paying lip service. In any case I douibt it would be a priority if he manages to win the White House

            1. He’s a communist and they’re never in favor of an armed populace, for what should be obvious reasons.

              Where he’s from though, running on a hard gun control platform isn’t viable. Since the revolution isn’t complete and he still has to win elections , he has never made much noise about gun control. One thing Bernie has always done well is make sure he doesn’t have to go get a real job, principles can be flexible to ensure the gravy train keeps rollin’.

              I’ll never believe that someone of Bernie’s political bend actually wants the average man to be armed.

      3. There is no Bernie phenomenon. He’s just been steadily gaining support from the lazy and ignorant for the last four decades. In 2016 he nearly reached a critical level of support and was only staved off by cheaters in the DNC and mainstream media. This time around he’s even stronger and he’s certainly more aware of who is opposing him and how they will go about it. He’s got a good chance at finally winning the nomination… then losing the general.

      4. It’s completely ignoring the fact that a large part of Trump’s appeal was that he was NOT a career politician. Bernie may be an “outsider” in DC terms but he’s spent his entire life in politics. He’s as swampy as they come, he’s just friends with different swamp creatures than most.

        It also ignores the fact that Trump has actually accomplished things outside of politics. He’s had failed ventures for sure, but on the whole he’s done pretty well for himself. Bernie made his money by siphoning campaign funds off and routing them through his wife’s ad agency, that is not an accomplishment that most regular people will appreciate. Even within politics, what has Bernie actually gotten done? He makes a lot of noise but he’s been pretty unsuccessful at actually implementing anything.

        In so much as they are similar, it’s that their parties didn’t much care for them pre-election. That’s really it, and we won’t know how much of a similarity that really is unless Bernie wins.

      5. I think it would be more apt to compare Bernie to Trump in 2016 as a populist candidate running on a few fringe issues outside of the mainstream of his party. Bernie was clearly different than Hillary in 2016, and therefore mainstream Democrats.

        In 2020, Bernie really isn’t differentiated from mainstream Democrats except that he embraces the name “socialist” (they only embrace the policies) and actually means it when he says we should end our wars.

        So there are parallels; the Republicans have shifted to Trump’s trade policies and hard-line on immigration just as the Democrats have shifted to Bernie’s brand of socialism. But all of that happened since 2016, and doesn’t really reflect what’s happening in 2020.

      6. “But Suderman is for whatever reason unable to admit that the public really doesn’t want open borders and isn’t that enamored with ensuring people like Suderman having access to cheap shit made in China. ”

        The Neoliberal order of the US defending the world and its global trade while paying for the privilege with trade deals tilted against US workers is coming to a close.

        If the Left hadn’t realized they could import Big Government voters for a permanent electoral majority, it would already be dead as a doornail. Bernie used to *correctly* call Open Borders a Koch plot to drive down wages. He was honest about half the plot.

        Everyone knows that Open Borders + Welfare State isn’t viable and only leads to a collapse of prospects for Americans at the bottom of the ladder. In an America Last vs. America First election, I’ll bet on the latter.

        Eventually, the Left will join the Right to overthrow the Globalist ruling class, and political discussion will again revolve around the question proper for a self-governing people – what is most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

        1. “Everyone knows that Open Borders + Welfare State isn’t viable”

          That’s obvious. All you have to do is look at the math. Currently in the US the median illegal immigrant and his immediate family are far below the median American’s net tax burden. IE they cost of all money and/or drive up deficit spending.

          I’ve seen a lot of very cherry picked economic analysis to try and prove that’s not true. But nearly everyone of them a) ignores the significant costs of the immediate family who don’t work but do get significant government benefits and b) adds in the actual legal immigrants who do pay significant taxes.

          Adding millions of additional low skilled immigrants is not a smart policy for a country that provides SS, Medicare, Medicaid, Chip, K-12 free education, etc.

    2. Bernie will tank in the South. I’m not sure who will pick up the momentum. Biden might come back due to a lack of options or maybe Klobuchar. I have a hard time imagining Butt-uh-Boi getting the southern vote, white or black. But all of this is just spin by each of the campaigns, which is why there is so much turmoil and angst in the messaging right now.

  5. Trump did not say Castro was a great man. He did not say the US needed a Bolivarian Revolution like the one in Venezuela. He didn’t even honeymoon in the USSR and come back to tell everyone how great communism is.
    Sanders has video baggage that will make him unelectable, and if other Democrats running for office do not disavow him, they might lose too.
    Yes, Trump is an asshole.

    1. Trump also supports the Second Amendment and Citizens’ United. And he has reduced the power of the administrative state in significant ways. But according the Sudderman Trump is no different than Bernie who wants to enact a national building code that makes affordable housing illegal, and totally transform the American economy and way of life into a centrally planned and controlled one.

    2. If he had to honeymoon in the USSR, why couldn’t he have elected to do so in the Venice of the North instead of Moscow?

    3. There are a lot of kids with Che shirts that don’t care about your video evidence. The tide is turning and many people believe in the myth of Democratic Socialism, many more than you might imagine. I think Trump wins, but Bernie has an awful lot of hardcore support.

      1. Next time you see one of those kids in a Che shirt, remind them that he murdered hundreds of homosexuals because he wasn’t down with that.

        It’s fun watching the hamster in their head have a heart attack.

        1. “Hatred as an element of struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine. This is what our soldiers must become …”

          – Che

      2. Anyone think Bernie can win even Massachusetts??

        1. I would expect Bernie to get at least 80% of Hillary Clinton’s vote total. And it would be concentrated. He’d get Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and everything north of there except possibly (and ironically) New Hampshire.

    4. I think you overestimate the awareness of the average voter.

  6. No, The Bern is not the Team D version of POTUS Trump. POTUS Trump was quite wealthy before assuming office. The Bern, on the other hand, came to Congress with not much of anything to speak of and is now a multi-millionaire. Just a coincidence, I suppose.

    They are not at all alike.

    1. They are alike in the sense that they both lead a revolt against the party establishment. That much is true. But other than that, the two candidates and the two movements are nothing alike.

      1. >>revolt against the party establishment

        T won his. Bernie’s already 0-for-1

      2. Yeah, part of the issue I have with The Bern is his ‘man of the people’ schtick. It is bullshit. The man enriched himself while in office. The sad part is that it was legal for him to do that.

        1. Bernie has literally never held a paying job outside of elected office in his life. He is just an old bum who spent his youth mooching off his wife. The guy is so lazy he was once kicked out of a commune back in the 60s.

  7. They’re both straight white males.

    That’s about where it ends.

    1. Bernie’s straight? You’ve seen his wife?

  8. Trump understood and tapped into the Tea Party wave-the GOP establishment had not been relevant since the early 1990s and the only reason why Bush was re-elected And they had power in the 2000s was because of 9/11. So there wasn’t really any establishment to oppose him.

    The dems on the other hand have been the dominant party with influence from tech, finance, academia, and entertainment, so their establishment is extremely entrenched and has way more at stake if Bernie is nominated than the GOP ever did with Trump. They deserve to be taken down hard.

    1. The GOP establishment had no constituency. The “Never Trump” Republicans consisted almost entirely of a bunch of pundits and campaign consultant grifters angry that Trump had messed up their con. Trump was able to unite actual GOP voters very quickly once he had the nomination.

      The DNC establishment as you point out really does have power and a constituency. If Bernie were to somehow win the nomination, there is no way he would unite Democratic voters the way Trump did. Bernie winning the nomination would likely split the party. The “Never Bernie Left” would consist of millions of actual voters not just a few pundits and assorted beltway assholes who threw their careers away because they way overestimated their importance.

      1. This x1000. A lot of Trump voters basically said “I dunno what everyone is so mad about, I kinda like what this guy is saying. He might be an asshole, but he’s not wrong”.

        The mainstream Democrats will never get to that point with Bernie, and to their credit I think it’s because they realize he IS wrong. They don’t think he’s an asshole and are gonna hold their nose and vote anyways, they think he’s WRONG. That’s a harder problem to solve for his campaign.

        1. “He might be an asshole, but he’s not wrong.”

          One of the best characterizations of Trump, and his backers, I’ve seen.

          1. As John as pointed out up thread, that really seems to be the problem a lot of people, Reason staff included, have with him. It’s not any specific policy or action he’s taken, it’s that he’s crude and he doesn’t care if he pisses you off.

            In short, he is an asshole. What his detractors fail to understand is that having an asshole for a president is actually a-ok. I wouldn’t spend a single second of my free time with Trump, that doesn’t mean I think he’s a bad president though.

            He’s certainly not a role model, but if your kids are looking up to politicians as role models I think that’s more of a parenting problem than Trump’s.

            1. “It’s not any specific policy or action he’s taken, it’s that he’s crude and he doesn’t care if he pisses you off.

              In short, he is an asshole.”

              What if he pisses you (in general, not directed at anybody in particular) off because you’re the asshole?

              1. I’m willing to consider the possibility that everyone involved in an asshole, myself included.

                1. *is an asshole

                2. That’s a sensible starting point.

      2. “The GOP establishment had no constituency. ”

        The GOP establishment had coalesced around fighting the Soviet Union. That was the premise of foreign trade, immigration, and defense policy. That establishment ran on ideological fumes, pushed by Neoclowns, after the Soviets fell.

        Without an expansionist military power to combat, and with overwhelming military power, the GOP has turned back to the Old Right – America First.

      3. “The GOP establishment had no constituency. ”

        What are you talking about? They’re currently actively courting disenfranchised left-center Democrats.

        1. M“They’re currently actively becoming left-center Democrats.”

          Fixed it for you


    Running as an unopposed incumbent. Sorry but Bill Weld and the rest don’t count as opposition, Trump received 118,000 votes in last night’s Republican primary. No other incumbent President has gotten more than Bill Clinton’s 76,000 in 1996.

    That is a very good sign for how enthusiastic Trump’s supporters are to vote this year.

  10. I think the comparison is a poor one. As I pointed out to a friend this morning, Bernie Sanders is the leftist Ron Paul. On the one hand, he has the home-court advantage in New Hampshire. On the other hand, he’s exactly the kind of outspoken, charismatic figure who’s just radical enough to inspire the fanatical, if fringe following that shows up to caucuses. So it’s not a surprise that he’s done well in Iowa, just as he dominated in Minnesota in 2016. His talents, personality, and platform are not as ideally suited to success on the primary trail. I suspect he’ll quickly fall behind the more conventional candidates as primary season wears on, just as he did in 2016, just as Ron Paul did in 2012 and 2008.

    1. This.

      Bernie is the relatively earnest old crazy ideological guy. Kiddies new to ideology can get swept up by him. When you get older, you see the failings of the ideologies. Bernie has too much ideological baggage to win of his own to win, and is further saddled by the looney Left this time around.

      The Dems are the party of government dependence, government rule, and anti-white, anti-male identitarian politics. There’s too much baggage on the Left now, but among Bernie supporters, you have some of a reasonable left who are anti-establishment and anti-identarianism, but want a more expansive welfare state. Someday, they come to power on the Left, and US politics goes back to a fight over the balance between Guns and Butter.

  11. Trump and Bernie are very different in that Trump is a mainstream Republican on policy that just says things that are extreme. Voters know that even if the media doesn’t. Bernie is an extremist on policy. That’s why Trump could win but Berne can’t.

    1. Trump is mainstream Republican *base* on policy, opposed to the mainstream Republican Establishment. Trump is a nationalist, the Establishment is globalist. He didn’t have to convert the base, he just had to show up and give the base what they wanted.

      The Dems are more of a muddle. Bernie is a more extreme socialist than the Dem base or establishment, but he’s still saddled with their globalist and identitarian politics.

  12. In an era in which Democratic leadership can’t seem to decide who—or what—to support, Sanders is stepping in and offering to fill the void by appealing to a vocal part of the Democratic coalition that has often felt left out of the party’s mainstream.

    Free, unlimited healthcare for illegal immigrants, a radical change to nationwide bathroom policy to protect trans people, segregation and categorization of every possible racial subgroup, open disdain for ‘masculinity’ and ‘whiteness’, an elimination of all modern conveniences which are deemed to contribute in some way to climate change– as defined by the political class, free open-ended college degree programs for everyone including Michael Bloomgerg’s and Bill Gates’ kids and Chelsea Clinton, continued devaluation of the currency by way of profligate spending and continued money-printing, unending virtue signaling on every intersectional topic imaginable, nationwide gun confiscation with a proposed military campaign against any citizens who may dissent on the subject.

    I know I’ve barely scratched the surface here. Perhaps some helpful people in the comments can fill in the gaps on what I missed.

    1. nationwide bathroom policy

      Believe it or not, some people don’t even think there should be such a thing as far-reaching federal oversight of bathrooms, which goes to show how extreme and authoritarian the fascist right has turned in recent years
      /my best OBL impression

    2. don’t forget improving women’s equality, defined as two distinct classes of white women CEOs and minority daycare providers to look after their kids

  13. Thus begins the journey of Bernie’s gurney. He’ll need an attorney.

  14. I live in the real world. And the real world says: Unless we switch to a parliamentary system, the two-party system is here to stay. And not all parliamentary systems are created equal either; for the kind of proportional representation of ideologies Suderman wants, the Swedish one is the one the go (as opposed to the Canadian kind).

    So anyway, unless we switch to that, the two-party system is here to stay. And for as long as the two-party system stays, the libertarians’ best shot to make public policy closer to their liking is to work within one of the two parties (GOP) and try to steer towards a more libertarian direction. That’s what primaries of every level are for — to steer a given party towards a certain ideological leaning.

    That’s the reality.

    1. My bottom line:

      – Don’t be lazy. Register and vote for the most liberty-oriented candidate at every primary of every election.

      – Don’t be stupid. Do so within a party that has an actual chance of winning. Ideological purity is cold comfort when Democrats start hiking your taxes and taking your gun.

      If all libertarians did that, the GOP would look very different. And the country would be markedly freer as a result.

      1. “Do so within a party that has an actual chance of winning.”

        Agreed. I have learned my lesson on that; never again.

        And besides, I want the Murder Turtle to fill another 100 judicial vacancies. It’s the best chance [to live in a constitutional republic] any of us have.

        1. I dunno if you saw, but immediately following the Senate’s impeachment decision they got right back to appointing judges.

          One of the most unheralded things about Trump’s administration is what he’s done for the federal court system. Hundreds of at least partially liberty minded judges have been appointed while the Democrats worry about what Trump said on Twitter.

      2. – Don’t be lazy. Register and vote for the most liberty-oriented candidate at every primary of every election.

        – Don’t be stupid. Do so within a party that has an actual chance of winning. Ideological purity is cold comfort when Democrats start hiking your taxes and taking your gun.

        Of course in some parts of the country, that’ll mean you’ll have to enroll as a Democrat, because they’re so dominant there they’re the only ones with a chance of winning. It does mean you’ll be starting farther from your goal, but at least the road’s not a dead end, as it would be for the Republicans in those places. And often that’s going to mean the most liberty-oriented candidate in the primary is the one who threatens to put people into gulags rather than extermination camps. Gulags are survivable.

    2. “So anyway, unless we switch to that, the two-party system is here to stay. ”

      This time will be a little different, though. Trump, despite the (R), has a long history of supporting democrats like the Clintons, and Sanders is an independent and can benefit by running against both parties while still gathering up the anti Trump democratic vote.

      1. Trump commands the loyalty of over 90% of Republican voters. He is a Republican. There is no other way to describe him.

        Bernie has always caucused with the Democrats. He isn’t running as an Independent. He is running as a Democrat and his goal in addition to being President is to take over the Democratic party.

        So, no this time isn’t different.

        1. “Trump commands the loyalty of over 90% of Republican voters.”

          Loyalty? Would you say that Mitt Romney is loyal? How about Justin Amash? Damaged goods is one way to describe this Clinton supporting ‘Republican.’

          “He isn’t running as an Independent.”

          Early days yet. If he wins the nomination, the temptation and advantages in running as an independent will only increase.

          1. Trump ran as a Republican and governed like one, from economic policy to defense to pro-life to immigration. Even his some of his misguided tariffs’ policy is eventually aimed at pressuring other countries to open up their markets for us, i.e. aimed at more trade.

            And how can someone who ran against Hillary Clinton, called her the worst names, and for her to be locked up be plausibly called “a Clinton supporter”? Because he befriended the Clintons in the ’90s? Who cares? It’s obviously not affecting his policymaking in the 2020s.

            And yes, the Republicans are solidly in lockstep behind Trump. The ones you cited are exceptions, and one of them is no longer a Republican. That’s also why Bill Kristol left, because he realized the party has become pro-Trump and he isn’t that. So he left. And I suspect Romney will no be one for long either.

            1. ” It’s obviously not affecting his policymaking in the 2020s.”

              I don’t think he does policy making. He couldn’t even get a republican congress to sign on to his big beautiful wall.

              ” called “a Clinton supporter”?

              He donated money to the Clinton’s campaign. What more does he have to do to be tarred with the Clinton Supporter brush?

              “And yes, the Republicans are solidly in lockstep behind Trump. ”

              Not true. Amash was kicked out of the party for criticizing the president. Mitt Romney voted to throw him out of office for high crimes and misdemeanors.

              1. He cut taxes, deregulated, appointed conservative judges, and lowered immigration. Those are Republican policies, which Trump enacted. Therefore, Trump governs like a Republican.

                Yes, he was a Democrat in the ’90s. But he’s no longer that. Proof being, he governs like a Republican. See above paragraph.

                Amash is no longer a Republican. And Romney is one exception out of a couple hundred Republicans behind him. One out of 200 = Republicans are behind Trump.

                1. “Therefore, Trump governs like a Republican.”

                  Of course, he signed off on whatever the Republican congress sent him. He’s a lot closer to the Democrats than he is to Libertarianism. I doubt he’s ever donated to them.

                    1. Lemme guess. Another moron who thinks that the GOP is friendly to libertarians.

                    2. No, just much less hostile than the Donkeys.

                  1. What I think is that libertarians are their own worst enemy and while not 100% aligned, if they’d stop deliberately pissing on conservatives to prove themselves to their prog masters, they’d probably go further in life. But what’s that got to do with you, troll?


                    1. Thanks for your input. What have you got against libertarians pissing on conservatives? Are you a conservative or something?

                    2. My politics are not really relevant to your total indifference to libertarianism and perpetual concern trolling.

          2. “Trump commands the loyalty of over 90% of Republican voters.”
            Loyalty? Would you say that Mitt Romney is loyal? How about Justin Amash?”

            Romney is the 10%, and Amash is a nobody slipping into nihility.

            1. “Amash is a nobody slipping into nihility”

              He was the most reliably Libertarian pol the Republicans had. He was given the boot yet somehow the guy has the notion that the GOP is a bastion of Libertarianism. And I suppose you agree.

              1. Amash was an Amashitarian and nothing more.

                Now he can join empty suits like Kristol, Goldberg, Caruso, and their colleagues, who gave up any sense of obligation to honest debate a long time ago. Grappling with the actual arguments on the table takes effort, and gets in the way of stoking the unearned sense of superiority to which he’s addicted.

                1. You prefer Republicans to Libertarians and feel that Libertarians have no place in the party. Your quarrel is not with me but with Dude24, who feels that Libertarians like Amash have a home in the GOP.

                  1. Thanks for straight out lying about what I just said.
                    Rereading the thread, I see your technique now. Instead of addressing an argument, put words in their mouth and then argue against that.
                    Very slimy.

                    Here, I’ll say this plainly:
                    – Amash’s libertarian principles were no different or greater than your average GOP congressman.
                    – Amash’s departure from the GOP was a publicity stunt aimed at grabbing the media’s attention.
                    – He flat out lied about what the Mueller Report said, as justification for said publicity stunt.
                    – Since they no longer need him, the establishment have flushed him and forgot him, like used TP.
                    – Amash is now fading into the ether.

                    1. “Thanks for straight out lying about what I just said.”

                      I only lie to provoke you into stating your meaning plainly. You have the stink of a GOP partisan about you and have no interest in making the party more friendly to Libertarians. As I said before, your quarrel is with Dude24, as I have no stake in this game. I am merely pointing out (repeatedly now) that this time it’s different.

      2. But can’t you see that even Sanders and Trump –the ultimate outsiders– had to eventually pick one of the two parties to run and win? They did that because they had to.

        The (R) and (D) have the advantage of having an already settled base that’s tens of millions strong each. So it’s easier to have those tens of millions guaranteed just by virtue of running within the party, and then to add some more independents on top of them, than to basically start making coalitions from scratch.

        A libertarian running as a Republican would already have the economic conservative vote locked, sitting in the (R) camp, waiting for him. He’d also have the pro-gun rights vote locked up, who’ll straight ticket Republican. And on the state and local level, Republicans are also becoming the party of school choice, of right-to-work laws, of making occupational licensing less intrusive, and of the religious freedom not to serve this or that. All of these combined make it easily the party closest to libertarians of the two, by far.

        So the GOP is already 75% on board with libertarians on policy. And once the social conservatives lose on marijuana (which is just a matter of time), Republicans will be 80% on board. So yes, they’ll still be pro-life, anti-prostitution, pro-defense spending at the federal level, and sometimes pro-intrusive policing. But it’s much easier to steer them away from a handful of issues than to go start from scratch with a third party that has little chance of winning, just needlessly splitting the liberty vote and handing statist Democrats power.

        And by the way, it’s also a matter of time before they’ll lose on abortion and prostitution as well. On these two issues, public opinion has been growing slowly-but-steadily more liberal in the last couple of decades — especially prostitution where now 52% of the country wants decriminalization (for comparison, it was 49% in 2016). And then the Republicans will be forced to drop that too.

        1. “So the GOP is already 75% on board with libertarians on policy.”

          Where’s that number come from? The GOP is jam packed full of war mongers, jailers. panderers, prudes, race pimps and christers. Those that don’t fit the profile, like Amash, are not welcome.

          1. It’s a rough percentage. And I go by policy. That’s all I vote for, and that’s the bottom line. “Panderers” and “christers” isn’t policy. I don’t care whether someone is a prude so long as he doesn’t govern like one.

            By policy, Republicans are mostly libertarian. Yes, I give you a handful of issues like war, overzealous policing, and prostitution. I could add abortion, but even lots of libertarians are pro-life. And many libertarians don’t care about prostitution either. All there remains is a handful of policies, mostly defense and overzealous policing. And you have a much greater chance and easier time steering the party away from them (especially with a broader population that’s growing more socially liberal and getting weary of wars) than for a third party to have a shot at winning.

            Democrats, on the other hand, are frighteningly statist when it comes to economics. And even socially, they’re less the classical social liberals they used to be (more concerned with civil liberties) and more outright social leftists now (more concerned with artificially elevating special identities and victim classes).

            1. “Panderers” and “christers” isn’t policy.”

              What do you call signing off on record deficit spending? Libertarian enough?

              From my study of 19th century British political history, the best chance for the emergence of a third party in a two party duopoly is to wait until an issue comes along that splits one of them. It happened once over free trade and once again over Ireland.

              I wouldn’t put too much stock in the geriatrics of the GOP. Great if you’re in the business of selling adult diapers and boner pills but you want something that looks to the future.

              1. Massive spending cuts of the kind that would put us towards a fiscally responsible and sustainable path are unpopular. They just are. That’s why Trump’s attempt at them have been timid, and that’s why he wasn’t going to do it in the first term.

                But his heart is obviously there. Trump is NOT a big government guy. Just look at how he dealt with the administrative state, or at his first budgets proposals. That’s why I’m almost certain that, should he get the House and Senate, he’s more than likely to engage in massive cuts after 2021.

                Britain never had our political system. And Republican governing is not geriatrics. Tax cuts are REAL. I know that, I take home more pay thanks to them. Federal deregulation has been real. Less illegal immigration has been real. And if it were a Democrat in his stead, we would have most definitely had much higher spending.

                Those are real differences between the parties. One of them clearly pulls to the right and the other to the left, and one is clearly more libertarian than the other. All your nonsense third party would manage to do would be steal enough votes from the GOP to get Democrats elected and make government bigger and the country less free as a result. Those aren’t geriatrics. Those are real-world differences.

                1. I don’t understand why you think of yourself as a Libetartarian, yet when the GOP expels Amash you can only ignore it. Really, what hopes do you have for Libertarianism in the GOP when the believers are drummed out for trivial reasons?

                  1. Amash wasn’t thrown out, he left because of his hatred of Trump.

                2. Your arguing with a low-watt bulb who finds this clever repartee:
                  mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
                  “Spouting nonsense is an end in itself.”

          2. The DNC is jam packed full of war mongers, jailers. panderers, prudes, race pimps and Islamophiliac fedora tippers.
            What the fuck is your point?

            1. “What the fuck is your point?”

              Good of you to ask. The point is this time will be different. The Republicans are running a Democrat who supported Clinton, and the Democrats are running with an Independent. Any more questions?

            2. Trueman is really no different than the spam, only he doesn’t have links.
              Just scroll right by

              1. It certainly seems that way, doesn’t it.

              2. “Trueman is really no different than the spam”

                When was the last time spam called you a boring horse’s ass? That recently?

                1. “When was the last time spam called you a boring horse’s ass? That recently?”
                  When did a comment from a pathetic piece of shit mean anything, pathetic piece of shit?

          3. Where’s that number come from? The Democratic Party is jam packed full of war mongers, jailers. panderers, prudes, race pimps and christers. Those that don’t fit the profile, like Amash, are not welcome.

            There, FTFY.

            Nobody kicked Amash out of the GOP; he left on his own, for whatever reasons he may have.

            Of course, voters would likely have voted for someone else because Amash is an ineffective blowhard.

            1. “Nobody kicked Amash out of the GOP; he left on his own, for whatever reasons he may have.”

              I think he felt unwelcome. Despite the friendliness of the GOP to all things Libertarian.

      3. Trump, despite the (R), has a long history of supporting democrats like the Clintons

        That’s because Trump is a moderate, just like Bill Clinton was. If Bill Clinton wanted to run today, he’d have to run for the GOP.

        The problem in today’s politics is that the Democratic party is being taken over by left wing extremists like Sanders. My guess is that Americans still have the good sense not to vote for socialists or communists.

        1. “That’s because Trump is a moderate,”

          I doubt it. I think he wanted favors from anyone he donated money to.

          “The problem in today’s politics is that the Democratic party is being taken over by left wing extremists like Sanders. ”

          Why is that a problem? And how is Sanders an extremist? I thought his thing was socialized health insurance, a fairly commonplace program in many countries of the world today.

  15. So primaries, especially in this era of partisan politics as spectator sport and reality TV, promote more extreme candidates, leading to a crap slate in general elections.

    How about coming up with another way to select candidates for the general ballot?

    1. A locked cage maps with random spiked, blunt and bladed melee weapons strewn around the dirt floor.

  16. “ Sanders is using establishment disunity to mount an insurgent campaign.”

    You mean he’s addressing the problems.

    Don’t forget you’re a politician Bernie.

    1. “You mean he’s addressing the problems.”
      No, you pathetic bigot, he’s buying votes by promising free shit. He IS the problem.

    2. “ Sanders is using establishment disunity to mount an insurgent campaign.”

      You mean he’s addressing the problems.

      Given that you like Hitler, it’s not surprising that you like Sanders as well: they have very similar ideologies.

    3. Yeah, he’s a Jew.

  17. If the Dem platform again again tries to make electricity as illegal as the Republicans seek to make birth control and plant leaves, they will be bowed, bloodied and beaten with no sympathy from me.

  18. It this one of those “Kennedy and Lincoln are both spelled with 7 letters” bogus connection games.
    OK, let’s see, Bernie never held a job for his entire life and got tossed from a hippy commune for being too lazy, got elected in some podunk town and spent the rest of his life slopping at the public trough, while Trump….

  19. Trump and Sanders have this in common – they both were carried by a base that their respective parties built through lies and rhetoric while screwing over in actual governance, enriching themselves and kicking back favors to heavy donors.

    Both right and left got what they deserved in having their new bases turn on them. Both created monsters they could not control.

    1. “Trump and Sanders have this in common – they both were carried by a base that their respective parties built through lies and rhetoric while screwing over in actual governance, enriching themselves and kicking back favors to heavy donors.”

      Do you have a newsletter to which anyone here can subscribe?
      Or are you just here to convince folks that one more fucking ignoramus suffers from TDS?
      Stuff it up your ass so your head has some company.

    2. TrumpHillary and Sanders have this in common – they both were carried by a base that their respective parties built through lies and rhetoric while screwing over in actual governance, enriching themselves and kicking back favors to heavy donors.


      Trump, on the other hand, is an uncouth, inexperienced politicial with a modest business career. That makes him better than either of those screwups.

  20. Yea Sanders has been in congress for a 1000 years and has never had a significant job outside of politics.

    Almost the same as Trump?

    Who the fuck hires these dopes at Reason ?

  21. Ranked Choice Voting.

  22. Suderman doesn’t know how to spell Corbyn.

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