Jencunas: Trump, Not Sanders, is the Political Revolution

Wednesday, March 02, 2016


View Larger +

Super Tuesday was a cold, harsh dose of reality for Bernie Sanders’ supporters. There is a political revolution, but its leader is a Republican billionaire instead of a Democratic socialist. While Republican voters supported the most anti-establishment candidate, Democrats returned to their frontrunner. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both had dominating performances yesterday, which means Hillary, woke up happy, since she might actually get to run against Donald Trump.

For the Democrats, the normal rules of politics still apply: endorsements matter, big rallies don’t translate into big vote totals, and the party establishment has the resources to beat back almost any insurgent candidate. No matter how much white people on the internet insist Bernie Sanders can win African-American votes, Hillary still has the credibility and connections to dominate in the Southern states where minority voters determine who wins. She won over 70% of the vote in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina.

Sanders did better where Democratic voters either went to Woodstock or wished they did, winning Vermont, Oklahoma, and Massachusetts. But outside of Vermont his margin of victory was small, which means Hillary still gets a respectable amount of delegates from the states she lost. At the end of the night, the current count for delegates is 541 for Hillary and 367 for Bernie.

For the Republicans, there’s only one rule of politics – it’s good to be Donald Trump. As he might say, Super Tuesday was a big huge victory. He won 7 of the 10 states. Alabama and Massachusetts have almost nothing in common, but they agreed that Donald Trump should be the Republican nominee for President. Even where Trump lost he essentially won. Cruz winning Texas means he’ll stay in the race and keep the anti-Trump vote hopelessly divided.

Trump and Sanders

Trump and Sanders have more in common with each other than either would admit. As I argued in an earlier column, they’re both giving voice to anti-government frustrations while peddling easy solutions to complex problems. Trump is doing better than Sanders because after eight years of Barack Obama, Republicans are a lot angrier than Democrats. Polling shows they are more distrustful of their party establishment and more pessimistic about the direction of the country.

Democrats are upset because Obama hasn’t been successful enough, while many Republicans believe their party has failed utterly to stop Obama from changing the essence of America. Seeing this failure, Republicans are angry enough to vote for Trump not in spite of his extremism but because of it.

Additionally, Trump is far less ideological than Sanders, which lets him transcend traditional divisions between moderates and conservative hardliners. The billionaire offers something for everyone – moderates get his support for Planned Parenthood and acceptance of government’s role in health care, while conservatives get his promises of massive tax cuts and ironclad promise to deport every illegal immigrant currently in the United States. His other major issue, taking on China and renegotiating trade deals is so outside the normal Republican platform that it’s normally a talking point of pro-labor Democrats.

Trump’s platform appeals to everyone who’s angry, while Bernie’s promises of higher taxes and vastly expanded government are traditionally liberal ideas that resonate with his supporters but drive away angry moderates. This is nothing new. Howard Dean and John Edwards both appealed to angry Democrats and drew large crowds, but like Sanders, they couldn’t expand their support beyond liberals. That’s simply not a winning coalition, no matter how many people show up to a rally or post on Reddit.

The campaign isn’t over. It’s still mathematically possible for Hillary and Trump to lose. But they’re the odds-on favorite to survive into the general election, since Trump will face divided opposition until most of the delegates are allotted and Sanders won’t be able to grow his support beyond a white, liberal base. It will be hard for Sanders and his supporters, watching as they get the revolution they wanted, but led by a living embodiment of capitalism instead of a man who would be the first open socialist to lead an American political party.

View Larger +

Brian Jencunas works as a communications and media consultant. He can be reached at [email protected] and always appreciates reader feedback.


Related Slideshow: 10 Ways Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump Are Actually Similar

View Larger +
Prev Next

Universal Health Care 

Despite sitting on opposite sides of the aisle, Trump and Sanders essentially share the same healthcare plan. But you don’t have to take our word for it—Ted Cruz, Trump’s chief rival, said himself that Trump and Sanders “have basically the same healthcare plan," in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

"Donald Trump enthusiastically supported the TARP bailout of big banks. I opposed it. He enthusiastically supported Barack Obama's stimulus plan. He thought it should have been bigger. I think it was a disaster and a waste of money. Actually, Donald not only supported both of those, but he argued that Obamacare should be expanded to make it socialized medicine for everyone,” Cruz told Hannity

View Larger +
Prev Next

Reforming Wall Street

Both candidates have made serious noise talking about reforming Wall Street. Bernie Sanders has just about made his whole career on taking on financial kingpins, and has attracted many young fans in the process.

While the uber-capitalist Trump may seem like the candidate to take on his fellow one-percenters, his words say something different. Trump blasted hedge fund managers on CBS, saying they are “getting away with murder,” on CBS’ “Face the Nation" in 2015.

"The hedge fund guys didn't build this country. These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky,” Trump said.

View Larger +
Prev Next

They Don't Take Money from Wall Street

It’s not just that the candidates criticize Wall Street and big banks—plenty do that. But Trump and Sanders back up their tough talk by not attracting campaign donations from those same financial institutions.

Sure, Hillary Clinton has taken aim at the major financial mavericks during her time on the campaign trail—what self-respecting Democrat hasn’t? But a closer look at her campaign financials shows that she isn’t putting her money where her mouth is.

View Larger +
Prev Next

Their Campaigns are Populist Movements

Neither Trump nor Sanders are what you would call a “party darling.” Both have taken aim at the lions and leaders of their own parties have been unafraid to make controversial statements regarding the political establishments.

Instead, their campaigns have been buoyed by passionate, typically politically apathetic people. People who have finally found someone they  can relate to in the political landscape and someone they feel they can trust. Despite repeated predictions of failure, regular people continue to respond to their campaigns, as both Sanders and Trump remain near or at the polls as the primaries begin.

View Larger +
Prev Next

The Most Unusual Candidates (Ever?)

Trump and Sanders are certainly the most unusual candidates this year, as both the Republican and Democratic fields contain typical governors, senators and congressman vying for the ultimate government job. It goes one step further, however—they may be the most unusual candidates a Presidential campaign has ever seen.

Sure, Trump isn’t the first rich eccentric to take a run at the Oval Office (just google Ross Perot if you don’t believe us.) But he’s certainly the first candidate to speak about immigrants and other races as he has.

View Larger +
Prev Next

Massive Crowds

Political candidates of any variety like going where they are wanted. They make sure that there are plenty of warm well-wishers to make campaign events see exciting and full.

Trump and Sanders, however, seem to be able to attract raucous crowds that are more akin to rock concert or playoff game than a political rally. People come in costume, dressed as their favorite candidate. Teenagers, even though they cannot cast a vote, turn out in full face paint to support their candidate.

It’s happened all over the country. Record-setting crowds packed the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon and thousands filled the DCU Center to see Trump in Worcester, Massachusetts. Everywhere these candidates go, people rush to see them.

View Larger +
Prev Next

Lots of Small-Money Donations

Typically, leading Presidential campaigns are powered by big money donations, but that’s not the case for Trump and Sanders.

As Graphiq shows us below, Sanders and Trump are one and two, respectively in the amount of campaign donations under $200—a sure sign of grassroots support.

View Larger +
Prev Next

Real Talk

How often do you watch and listen to a political speaking, and find yourself drifting off to sleep or reaching for your iPhone?

That rarely seems to be the case when Trump or Sanders are on the mic. You never quite know when Trump will insult an entire religion or ethnic group in one thirty-second soundbite. 

Not to be outdone, Sanders folksy and frantic style of speech has attracted attention—and plenty of jokes and memes—from all across the internet.

View Larger +
Prev Next

 Slated for Failure

Since the first day that each candidate announced their campaign, the political intellectual and elite have told everyone that they just don’t stand a chance. Trump and Sanders are too controversial, their too radical and they are too inexperienced. How many times did political analysts or other talking heads say they would be out of the race before the first votes are ever cast?

Yet here we are, just a few days away from the first caucuses and primaries. Neither Trump nor Sanders are out of the race. Neither is on their dying breaths. They are thriving. And, as you’ll see in our next slide, they are winning

View Larger +
Prev Next

Leading in Iowa (and New Hampshire!)

If the latest polls are to believed these massively unusual candidates—one socialist, one real estate magnate/reality tv star, both with tons of small donations, both told they never had any chance—will be making victory speeches in Iowa and New Hampshire soon.

According to CNN, Trump has an 11 point lead among Republicans and Sanders an eight point lead among Democrats in Iowa just a few days before the caucus.

And in New Hampshire, as you’ll see below,  Trump and Sanders have double digit leads as we approach the first true primary.


Enjoy this post? Share it with others.


Sign Up for the Daily Eblast

I want to follow on Twitter

I want to Like on Facebook


Stay Connected — Free
Daily Email