Why Bernie and the Donald?
March 7, 2016
by Toni Tweedle Healy
I have to say, candidly, that it is entertaining to watch the talking heads pontificate on the significant insurgency of non-establishment candidates in both political parties. Both Republican and Democratic Party elites have seemed shocked by the rise of the Donald and Bernie to challenge the candidates they attempted to anoint for their constituents. Republican elites have responded by trying to figure out how to stop Trump. Hillary has responded by adopting a significant portion of Bernie’s message.
If you can dig deeper than the charges of racism on the one hand and socialism on the other, these insurgent candidates have at least one message in common: that neither the Donald nor Bernie will be beholden to big corporations, Wall Street, or their lobbyists because their campaigns do not rely on their money to fuel them. The Donald is rich and will use his own money; Bernie is powered by the little people. Look past your party identity and the media’s absurd coverage of these campaigns and really listen to the message. I know it’s hard, but this message is there, underneath the bullshit; and whether you believe the candidates or not, this message appeals to constituencies in both parties on some level. Democrats fear (with good reason) Trump because of the racist rhetoric; Republicans write off Bernie because of the socialism label.
The fact is that neither political party has come up with real world solutions to how badly the American working class has been damaged by the powers of globalization and how badly middle class wages have stagnated in the past 40 years. The middle class is dispirited and depressed about their plight as they watch the wealth of the 1% soar. Yes, they are angry, even if they can’t all put their finger on why, but there are significant numbers of unhappy people in both parties who are not pleased with the establishment. Conservative brains tend to blame immigrants and minorities for their problems; liberal brains tend to blame corporations and the 1%. It’s how we are. Instead of coming up with workable economic solutions, the parties have used slogans and social issues to control the rabble.
My only hope, no matter how this turns out, is that the political parties take away the correct message from these insurgencies. They need to stop drenching themselves in corporate money and start paying attention to the needs of their voters. I wonder if we are witnessing some sort of realignment here.