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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 3, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 23
TRUMP vs. SANDERS
Section One
ALL STORIES
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TRUMP vs. SANDERS

by Janice Van Cleve - Special to the SGN

Last week Bernie Sanders invited Donald Trump to a debate via the Jimmy Kimmel show (Kimmel Trump video on YouTube). Trump responded he would love to debate Sander as long as the money raised by the networks was donated to charity. Trump later declined, saying he did not want to debate a second place candidate after having demolished sixteen Republican presidential wannabes.

Yet it would have been an interesting debate. Trump and Sanders are more alike than the media portray them. Both are angry white men. Both appeal mainly to angry white men. Trump's appeal is active - racist and sexist. Sanders' appeal is passive - focused on economics at the expense of racial and gender issues. Why are white men angry? Is it because they fear the loss of white male privilege? Back in the 1980s Reagan promised them 'a shining white city upon a hill.' It was a beautiful city that did not include Mexicans, Chinese, or Blacks. There were no LGBT people and nobody had AIDS. Women were included only if they were good little Stepford wives. White male privilege was assured.

The world has changed since then. We have a Black president and by 2050 it is estimated that whites will be a minority in America. Gays and Lesbians can marry now. A Gay man is even Secretary of the Army and women are allowed in combat roles! A high school graduation is no longer enough to get a job and a college education burdens young people with almost insurmountable debt. Manufacturing jobs have gone overseas, construction jobs are taken by Mexicans, and top tech jobs go to people from India. The only people who can afford to live in the shining white city upon a hill are the 1%.

Trump blames immigrants and unfair foreign competition for our problems. Sanders blames Wall Street and unfair capitalism. Yet there are several good websites that point up their similarities, like www.reason.com/archives/2015/08/10/bernie-sanders-and-donald-trump-ties.

Both declare that the current system is rigged against them and, by extension, their followers. Both challenge big trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership. Both would restrict immigration (in different ways and degrees). Both have been supported by the National Rifle Association and both are described as pro-gun and pro 2nd Amendment. Both actively avoided serving in the Vietnam War and both have been married multiple times. Trump wants our allies to pay more for their own defense and Sanders agrees that Europe should pay more for NATO and that Arab countries should do more on their own to solve Middle Eastern problems.

This kind of isolationism does not work in practice. Obama tried to pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan. He tried to 'lead from behind' during the Arab Spring. He hoped through trade and talk to steer a more peaceful course in the world while he focused on bridging divides at home. How did that work out? Libya is in chaos, Syria is a disaster, Egypt is once again a dictatorship, China is claiming pieces of the Pacific, North Korea is advancing its nuclear missile program, Russia is on the move, and American soldiers are back in Iraq and Afghanistan. Like it or not, America has to accept the responsibilities that come with being a world power. Yet neither Trump nor Sanders have the experience, knowledge, or temperament to represent America on the world stage.

Of course, Trump and Sanders are very different as well. Trump is a billionaire businessman. Sanders is a career politician. Trump glories in his wealth and enjoys being in the 1% while Sanders is concerned for the 99%. Trump proposes a radical reduction in taxes across the board while Sanders proposes an aggressive increase particularly on the rich. Trump's tactics are new but his policies are not that far different from the Republican Party platform. Sanders actively seeks to blow up the Democratic Party platform and create a revolutionary one.

Yet for all their similarities, it would have been interesting to see these two debate. They both shout a lot and both have funny hair.

Janice Van Cleve posts political articles on her website at www.jvox.doodlekit.com.

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