Monday, February 1, 2016

The Bern And The Don

Vox's John Judis argues that the rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders shows massive discontent with -- all together now -- both political parties, who are ignoring what Americans want on economic policy.

Sanders and Trump differ dramatically on many issues — from immigration to climate change— but both are critical of how wealthy donors and lobbyists dominate the political process, and both favor some form of campaign finance reform. Both decry corporations moving overseas for cheap wages and to avoid American taxes. Both reject trade treaties that favor multinational corporations over workers. And both want government more, rather than less, involved in the economy.

Sanders is a left-wing populist. He wants to defend the "collapsing middle class" against the "billionaire class" that controls the economy and politics. He is not a liberal who wants to reconcile Wall Street and Main Street, or a socialist who wants the working class to abolish capitalism.

Trump is a right-wing populist who wants to defend the American people from rapacious CEOs and from Hispanic illegal immigrants. He is not a conventional business conservative who thinks government is the problem and who blames America’s ills on unions and Social Security.

Both men are foes of what they describe as their party’s establishment. And both campaigns are also fundamentally about rejecting the way economic policy has been talked about in American presidential politics for decades.

That may be technically true, but Judis spends the rest of his article skating around the obnoxious similarities of Trump voters and Sanders voters.  Yes, there are major economic questions that need to be answer by the next President and real issues of inequality across America.  But the people who are affected the most by inequality in America, people of color and women, aren't being represented by Sanders or Trump, and that's the elephant in the room that Judis won't touch.

We'll see what happens today in Iowa, but I think one of the best things we could do in the future is drop-kick Iowa and New Hampshire from their first-in-the-nation status in politics, when America no longer looks like the voters of either state.

Inexplicably there are a dozen Republicans still left in this mess, and the one thing we do know by next week's New Hampshire primary is that a lot of them are going home after, and it's time to consolidate the fight against Trump and Cruz.  Same with O'Malley, I don't see how he goes on after New Hampshire.

But that still leaves Trump and Sanders, and their voters.

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