Sadly, it has now become an accepted meme that supporters of Bernie Sanders are just the Democratic version of Trump supporters. Why anyone would take the word of the MSM for what is going on right now in the psyche of Americans, after their initial proclamations that this race would be all about a Clinton vs. Bush rematch is bewildering. It seems pretty proven at this point that the MSM is no longer insightful as to what lies ahead or even what is genuinely going on right now.
So, to the simplistic corporate media, it’s easiest to say categorically that support for candidates that aren’t their original “obvious” picks, Bush and Clinton, is just an “outsider” mentality by both Democrats and Republicans. Donald Trump is indeed an outsider to politics, at least in the sense of not having been an elected politician (though he has bought and rented many of them to get legislation and tax giveaways he has sought…in fact, he is a central player in the crony capitalism side of politics). Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders is a politician, a sitting Senator and while he isn’t an establishment Democrat (he has been an Independent), he is not an outsider to the world of politics. So this is absolutely not a case of some Democrats supporting “a political outsider” as Republicans are, they are actually supporting an established politician (a sitting Senator) who seems more genuine to them than the allegedly inevitable Democratic front runner.
It would be true to say that there isn’t unanimity in either party in supporting the establishment favorite. But only the Repubs are supporting someone with no political experience and only in the Republican party is a non-politician leading nationally in their party.
There is one admitted commonality between both sets of voters…because it is a commonality between most American voters including independents.
After many decades of watching the cynical and dishonestly pandering “campaign game” played in front of them, Americans seemed to have wised up to the disingenuous nature of campaigning politicians. It’s like watching a magician do the same card trick dozens of times in a row, it works on you for a while but eventually you recognize how the trick is being done and how the magician has been repeatedly deceiving you. It’s finally seemed to reach a critical mass, Americans in general understand that most politicians truly do campaign in a deceptive way and they are tired of it. They want to vote for someone they feel is genuine. They are also tired of the post-Citizens United plutocracy after seeing so explicitly how billionaires now dictate who gets to run for office and eventually win in many cases.
So, while the MSM can lazily hang their hat on core Dems and Repubs being mirror images of each other in seeking outsiders that are extremists (another claim that is flat out wrong since Bernie’s views are those of a majority of Americans), it is more accurately the case that most Americans have evolved to recognizing when politicians are being pandering and insincere and they seek a more genuine nature to politicians they wish to support.
Once past that threshold, the theory of mirror image similarity of Trump and Sanders supporters blows up.
To state it simply, Trump supporters are personality cult types while Bernie supporters are issue and principle driven, two very different thought processes.
Trump supporters are impervious to facts, racism, chauvinism, class warfare, hypocrisy and opposition to their core beliefs when it comes to their unwavering support of Trump. He has openly called for raising taxes, preserving Planned Parenthood, attacked McCain as not being a hero because he was captured and a variety of anti-Republican values but apparently, there is no Republican principle he can oppose that will pry away the embrace of his Republican supporters.
That is because what attracts those Republicans to Trump is one primary thing, they want a tough, mean, daddy to be their President. The most highly regarded figure in the GOP is their last tough, mean, daddy, Ronald Reagan. What they want and emotionally need above all else is a “leader” who kind of reflects the ultimate father, like the Old Testament God, someone they can give themselves over to completely, who promises to take care of everything that scares them and they in return will embrace and accept how mean-spirited and vindictive he is. While they have howled at Obama being “a dictator”, that is exactly what they want in a Republican President. A billionaire who wouldn’t hesitate to throw his full weight around as President, kicking at whole races and sexes and insulting the rest of the world, reflecting their own racism and xenophobia. They want a bully as President, not to represent all Americans but just them and their emotional insecurities.
They like Trump because he doesn’t give a shit about other people, about minorities, women, diplomacy, manners, honesty, principles…just like them. He does reflect their aspirations for how they wish they could be independently wealthy, famous and powerful, being in a position to tell everyone else out there who has abandoned them to an unsatisfying life, at least as they see it, to go fuck themselves.
These Repubs are angry at the establishment Repubs for their deceptions, pandering to them during election season by promising to ship 11 million undocumented Latinos out of the US, repeal Obamacare or end abortion but then cynically turning their backs on them once they win seats in Congress. To be fair (or unfair), some of these Tea Party Congresspeople genuinely want to make all of that happen but have lied along the way to get elected, claiming that their election would help make these things happen despite the impossibility of that with a Dem President and Dems able to filibuster in The Senate.
Meanwhile, the supporters of Bernie Sanders are…to quote a frequent Trump phrase, “hugely” different.
Unlike Trump supporters, the Progressives who are energetically supporting Bernie Sanders are doing so primarily because of where Bernie stands on the issues that matter most to them, issues that are about helping the majority of Americans as opposed to the wealthiest 1%. They are not supporting Bernie because of his fame, hairstyle, wealth, tough image or practice of viciously insulting everyone who he sees as a threat to his ambition.
Trump says he supports Planned Parenthood, something that conflicts with a central “principle” of Republicans yet his supporters are unwavering in support for him.
If Bernie Sanders called for killing Planned Parenthood or enriching Wall Street at the expense of the 99%, would his supporters remain just as devoted?
Of course not. There are two completely different dynamics at play with Republicans and Democrats supporting candidates once they step off of the same platform of distaste for the standard disingenuous nature of typical politicians.
Republicans are looking for a tough, crude, dictatorial-styled leader they can follow who will rule with an iron fist and stomp on those who Repubs see as their adversaries.
Democrats are looking for a crusader-for-justice to march with them on the issues they care about and stand up to the wealthy and powerful.
These are not negligible differences and do not represent two sides of the same coin to those who reason. One group disregards principles and doesn’t care about details on issues, the other group insists on principles and demands details on issues. One group simply wants a candidate because he isn’t a politician, the other group is supporting a politician who has stood for the same principles for decades.
This should be made clear, Republicans are supporting Trump as an outsider to politics, who doesn’t show any desire to be diplomatic as politicians are. They want the antithesis of a politician, Trump’s policies are irrelevant outside of his core magnet of racism.
The Democrats supporting Bernie are supporting a career politician. They are supporting a sitting Senator primarily based on his stands on social and economic issues. They are not supporting a candidate who is an outsider to politics. Yes, many Bernie supporters share the same distaste for establishment politicians but they are not supporting an egocentric tv celebrity billionaire thinking that such a buffoon can solve all the world’s problems just by bragging that he can.
Just as it has become a popular sensibility among Americans that gay people should have equal rights to marriage, it has also become a popular sensibility that pandering and dishonest politicians financed by a handful of billionaires and Wall Street have been playing the public long enough. Dems and Repubs may begin at that same starting line but the convoluted path Repubs take to blindly supporting an unprincipled, racist, chauvinist billionaire is a very different path than Progressives who are supporting a sitting Senator espousing stands on economic and social justice thatare supported by a majority of Americans.
It’s not two sides of the same coin, it’s two totally different coins that only have in common the basic similarity of being coins, one being a cheap slug and the other being a legitimate coin of value.