On the surface, there’s not much in common between New Hampshire GOP primary winner Donald Trump and Democratic primary winner Bernie Sanders. Trump is a billionaire businessman; Sanders is a career politician. Trump’s personal favorability is the lowest of all candidates on either side; Sanders’ is the highest. But the impulse that drove New Hampshire voters to the polls for Sanders is the same as the impulse that drove them to the polls for Trump: the desire for a powerful authority figure to fix everything using the power of government. In fact, before the New Hampshire primary, CNN reported, “Because independents can register as ‘undeclared’ in New Hampshire and then vote in either party’s primary, the Vermont senator’s campaign has noted some of these voters are wavering between Sanders and Trump.”
There’s a reason for the confusion: Trump and Sanders aren’t that different on policy. Really.
They’re both anti-establishment candidates who bash Wall Street. Here’s Trump from his victory speech last night:
It’s special interests’ money, and this is on both sides. This is on the Republican side, the Democrat side, money just pouring into commercials. These are special interests, folks. These are lobbyists. These are people that don’t necessarily love our country. They don’t have the best interests of the country at heart.
Here’s Sanders from his victory speech last night:
We have sent a message that will echo from Wall Street to Washington, from Maine to California, and that is that the government of our great country belongs to all of the people and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors, and their Super PACs.
Trump and Sanders are on the same page on trade, which they see as a zero sum game at which America is losing. Sanders has described trade with China as “catastrophic” for our economy. Days ago, Trump admitted that he and Sanders mirror each other on the topic: “The one thing we very much agree on is trade. We both agree that we are getting ripped off by China, by Japan, by Mexico, everyone we do business with.”
These are the wages of big government and an unendingly powerful executive branch. Too many people gain too much by its existence to do away with it; too many people want to control the guns and the money to back a true reformer. Every four years we now pick our dictator. It’s just a question of whether that dictator does the stuff you want, or whether you’re his target.
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