Donald and Bernie: The Outer Borough Brothers
They couldn’t be more different, most folks would say. Trump is a loud decadent capitalist and Sanders is a shrill socialist, or worse. One is running as a Republican, the other a Democrat. And we all understand how “different” political parties are these days.
Donald is coifed, fabulously rich, and much married to beautiful women. Bernie looks like an unmade bed, lives off a government salary, a guy who might have trouble getting a date. One flies around the country in a private jet or helicopter and the other uses a bus or calls Uber. Donald Trump speaks to issues in broad generalities and Bernie Sanders sounds like a Brooklyn grocer counting pennies to make the rent.
At first glance, you might say the differences couldn’t be more profound, at last a real choice between radically different socio political philosophies. Alas, things are never quite what they seem in politics. Turns out, in America, labels tell you as little as possible. Right is often left and the left is often hysterically nostalgic. Loud political distinctions are not necessarily differences.
So what’s going on here? Both sides of the political spectrum and most of the media are attacking the two outer borough brothers. Everyone but the voters have their knickers in a knot. Who’da thunk it?
Elites, right and left, are not pleased with the wisdom of crowds. And if we are totally honest, Donald and Bernie are not the real worry for the establishment. The real threat to traditional elites comes from the people -- the voter folks with real jobs who pay taxes. Cooking the media books along with primary poll picks, the jackass class and media brass see their sinecures and monopolies at risk in 2016.
Forsooth, choice, for the most part, is a bit of a chimera in social democracies in any case. Still, Trump versus Sanders comes close to real choice compared to the usual sleep walkers from the status quo stables. Nonetheless, if polls are omens, the true opponents in 2016 primary race feature the usual suspects against the usual chumps. Only this time out, the American lumpen proletariat seems to have had it with media spinners and party puppet masters.
In this, Trump and Sanders are brothers by other mothers, two outsiders bucking the same system, a bull and a bear squaring off in a cage match of their own making. Wow! Who would have thought that American politics might be transformative, interesting -- and entertaining?
Let’s just assume that the early auguries have it right. A Trump versus Sanders match might not have as much drama as you might think. Indeed, a bull and bear contest in the big show might just turn out to be a “bromance.”
Both are outsider animals. Both are calling for revolution. Both are running against the Beltway bandits. Both are New Yorkers, Queens and Brooklyn boys. Turns out those New York values, whatever they are, are an asset not a liability. Unlike the Clintons and the Obamas, neither Trump nor Sanders are breeding lawyers. Indeed, both frontrunners are normal family men of a sort.
Both attract large enthusiastic crowds. Neither has much of a following among the media, party hacks, feminists, special pleaders, Islamists, cold warriors, moneyed interests, the legal profession, or race hustlers. Both seem to be inclined to fix things on the home front before they try to mend the dysfunctional world. Both also agree that Hillary shouldn’t get a third term in the White House. And neither Trump nor Sanders, quite frankly, seems to give a damn about what George Will, Rich Lowry, Nina Totenberg, or Chris Matthews thinks America should be.
Nonetheless, we are led to believe that both Trump and Sanders would be disasters. Really? Compared to whom? Surely not a Bush, an Obama, or another Clinton. America has had three doses of Bush, two draughts of Clinton, and now two too much of Obama. At home, the country is still burdened with debt, deficit, and flirts annually with default. Abroad, those Muslim wars are now about to have Platinum Jubilee with no end to terror, or toxic religious refugees, on the horizon.
After seven seasons of inertia, fiscal incontinence, and yes, serial foreign policy disasters, a lottery might have picked better presidential timber than either of the two American political parties. So why not have the people pick a commander-in-chief 2016? Almost anyone should do better than the usual suspects.
Hillary Clinton might be the perfect example of all that’s wrong with American politics in both major parties. Primarily, Ms. Clinton wouldn’t know the truth if it bit her on that junk in her pant suit trunk. Whatever the subject -- Arkansas shenanigans, bimbo eruptions, human rights for women, wall street donors, speaking fees, Benghazi, Islamists, immigrants, and now “private” email servers -- Hillary provides no candor or adult explanations save happy talk.
The Clintons are royalty in an American shyster cult where truth and justice are a function what you can get away with. America needs another pair of lawyers in the Oval Office like Brazil needs more mosquitoes before the Olympics.
Indeed, Mrs. Clinton believes that America is stupid enough to put another empty symbol in the White House. She is a passenger on Bill’s and now Barack’s coattails. Hillary is coasting too, for the most part, on her vagina, just as Barack Obama ran primarily on melanin and Jeb Bush now runs for dynasty.
Hillary’s core constituents are social dependents and women who get their information from the View, their values from daytime soap operas, and their baby sitters from the Simpsons, South Park, and the Family Guy. The only voting demographic that might be more callow is one that takes cues from the National Review frat house.
Believe what you will about Bernie Sanders. He’s not Bill Clinton’s wife. Say what you will about Donald Trump too. He’s nobody’s bitch either.
G. Murphy Donovan writes about the politics of national security.