By Kim Winters
At first glance, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are opposites. Sanders is liberal; Trump is increasingly conservative.
Sanders has been in public office for 35 years; Trump has never been elected. Sanders urged interviewers to focus on the issues. Trump spent precious debate time assuring us that his hands are not small.
Nevertheless, some disillusioned former Sanders voters now plan to vote Trump because there is one important similarity between the two men. Both are outsiders promising to shake up the existing political system. This election began with two dynasty candidates as shoo-ins for the Republican and Democratic nominations.
Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush—both millionaires with immediate family members formerly in the oval office—are heavily entrenched in the current political process. Their mere names promise a continuation of their predecessors’ administrations. Those administrations lead us here.
According to Gallup polls, congressional approval ratings currently sit at eighteen percent. Congress hasn’t achieved even fifty percent approval for the last thirteen years. People on both sides of the political spectrum are unhappy with the status quo: money in politics, out of touch leaders and an economy that’s only recovered for the wealthy.
The early demise of Bush’s campaign left Clinton as the figurehead for everything that’s wrong with the current political system.
Even Clinton’s recent slide left in response to Sanders’ success doesn’t feel like a victory to many Democrats but instead an example of her pandering and flip-flopping.
In a recent Atlantic article, one former Sanders supporter, now considering voting for Trump, states that voting for Clinton means supporting a government that “…will go the distance in the interest of the wealthy and powerful but table the desires and concerns of ordinary working people every time.”
Trump, in contrast, has placed himself as an alternative to this unsatisfying political system. He’s a businessman, not a politician. He doesn’t censor himself to be politically correct. He calls out his opponents’ abuses of the system. Unfortunately, Donald Trump is not an average guy who will apply common sense to Washington, and he’s no Bernie Sanders.
Trump is a former private school kid and graduate from the University of Pennsylvania’s lauded Wharton School of Finance and Commerce. His self-promoted underdog story involves a multimillionaire father and a million dollar loan.
During the August 2015 Republican debate in Miami, Trump admitted that there is “total control of the candidates” via money donations and that he has “always made large contributions” to politicians.
Ironically, Trump had been funding Hillary Clinton all these years. If money in politics is an issue, then Trump is part of the problem. Additionally, Trump’s political stances change every time he walks in front of a crowd. Jane T. Timm of NBC News compiled a list of Trump’s “117 distinct policy shifts on 20 major issues” since he announced his candidacy last year.
For example, his policy on immigration has ranged from deporting all illegal immigrants and building a wall to following Obama’s strategy of primarily deporting criminals.
If you’re a former Sanders supporter who refuses to vote for Clinton due to her flip-flopping, money-motivation and insider status, there are better options than Trump.