Saturday, 29 August 2015

The Trump/Sanders Phenomena


As outlandish as Donald Trump is as a presidential candidate, it’s pretty obvious why he’s topping the polls of Republican voters: he’s tipping over the carts of “politics as usual” that Americans understandably hate. In a much more responsible way, Bernie Sanders is doing the same with Democratic voters though he’s still trailing Hillary Clinton in most polls.

One of the strongest arguments for Trump and Sanders is that they have refused to prostitute themselves in the scramble for million-dollar donations, a core corruption of the U.S. political process. Trump, a real estate mogul and reality-TV star, boasts about how he rejects big-money donors because he can finance his own campaign.

Sanders relies heavily on small donations and turned down an offer to create a “super PAC” that could have raised millions of dollars from wealthy supporters. Sanders’s campaign says its average donation is $31.30 as Sanders has tapped broad support among progressives in raising $15.2 million as of July, an impressive sum but still “far behind Mrs. Clinton’s fund-raising juggernaut,” the New York Times reported.

Neither Trump nor Sanders has competed in what many political analysts consider the key initial test for any “serious” candidate – the “silent primary” of lining up super-rich Americans who pour millions of dollars into campaign war chests so candidates can hire high-priced consultants and finance negative TV ads to tear down opponents. That process has made candidates from both parties dependent on special interests.

Ironically, for a nation that denounces Iran, Cuba and other countries for having special panels of religious elders or party leaders who approve rosters of acceptable candidates, the United States now has a political system that requires most candidates to parade themselves before billionaires who then select the finalists much like the judges do at one of Trump’s beauty pageants.

Trump is not wrong when he bluntly describes how this process works, noting that the wealthy donors are sure to show up after the election with their hands out for favors if their hand-picked candidate wins. The presidency and pretty much every elected office in the United States are up for sale.

Americans across the political spectrum are rightly disgusted by this corrupt system and thus Trump stands out as someone whose personal wealth and almost comedic self-confidence make him harder to buy than, say, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker or almost any of the other Republican candidates. For different reasons, democratic socialist Bernie Sanders does too.
https://consortiumnews.com/2015/08/26/the-trumpsanders-phenomena/

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, August 29th, 2015.]

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