Muftic: What Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have in common: much |

Muftic: What Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have in common: much

Felicia Muftic
My View
Felicia Muftic
Courtesy Photo |

Enough has been said that both Sanders and Trump are tapping into anger and disgust with the political status quo, which in current jargon is the “establishment”. They both also tell a large enough body of voters what they want to hear and they tell it without restraint, guile, insincerity, or self- doubt or even concern they can make good on their promises. It is straight from their guts and both have a past history that confirms it is real and it resonates in 2016.

The question we need to ask is if this is where the majority, including those in the middle, want our country to go, a country motivated by disrespect of others and racial divisions, or a nation that is willing to solve its problems enough to overlook its costs, bigger government, and higher taxes not on just the rich, but also even on the middle class.

Remember that Donald Trump was the most outspoken voice promoting the birther movement that President Obama was born in Kenya. It should be no surprise that he has no qualms about appealing to racists and bigots in his anti- immigrant rhetoric. The slogan of “taking back our country” and” making America great again” works. “ By whom for whom” are meanings that are becoming clearer. It is neither his non-evangelical religion nor his non-conservative position on issues that drove his win in South Carolina. He got much of the evangelical and very conservative vote. It was something else: exit polls showed the number one issue on voter’s mind there was “terrorism”. The messages in ads and other media Trump conveyed leading up to the primary were geared to fear of all Muslims and immigrants and his message of strength indicates he could and will do something about it.

There is another element Sanders and Trump share: the question of electability. They both so far are able to garner 30 to over 45% chunks of their party’s totals. Given Trump’s ability to appeal to evangelicals makes his boast post South Carolina that he will pick up enough votes from that group to keep his opponents, evangelical and establishment, from uniting against him. Fear and bigotry are powerful vote motivators, as the South Carolina primary showed, to overcome religious and any other considerations among enough of the GOP electorate.

Will moderates who might be tempted to vote for Sanders to swallow his overtly anti- business, pro increase in taxes on everyone to pay for his proposals, and especially his own self defined label of “democratic socialist?” If Sanders is the Democratic candidate, given the acidic anti- immigrant, anti-voters rights and anti-affirmative action stance considered gospel by the GOP, he would inherit Clinton’s African American and Hispanic support.

At this writing, Clinton’s support from African Americans in South Carolina is overwhelmingly solid, and even so in Nevada. While Sanders cut into the Latino vote in the Nevada caucus, Clinton carried the most heavily Hispanic populated ones. In short, the split in the Nevada Latino vote was encouraging news for Clinton and the future of the Democratic party’s appeal to Latinos in the general election no matter if Sanders or Clinton is the party’s candidate.

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