Abby Bull ’16 – Women in Leadership participant
If posed with two quotes, one from Donald Trump and one from Bernie Sanders, could you tell the difference? Sure, some might say, they have completely different philosophies when it comes to many social issues including gay rights and abortion. Trump says that gay marriage is not his “thing” while Sanders has supported it for many years. However, Sanders and Trump are very similar in many other respects leading to specific social, economic, and political followings by the general public. It could be said that the two politicians are practically the same entity in how they present their issues and how they discuss the future of the United States. For instance, take these two quotes, one from Sanders and one from Trump,
“I am angry and the American people are angry.”
“And I can say oh I’m not angry … I am very angry because our country is being run horribly”
Who said which? The two quotes are practically identical except for the slightly aggressive nod at the government in the bottom statement. The top quote is of Bernie Sanders in Clinton, Iowa and the bottom is Donald Trump during the Republican presidential debate on Fox Business Network on January 14th, 2016. The message in each statement is the same and it is a message that resonates soundly with the American people. Each candidate is calling for radical change in the governing of our country. They are anti-establishment to their core. The battle cries for Sanders and Trump are one in the same; the main difference is who they blame.
The main distinction between Sanders and Trump is that Sanders is angry about the social and economic state of the United States and aiming his anger at the unequal distribution of wealth that seems to plague the United States. Conversely, Trump takes the exact opposite position stating that the main problems rooted in society are due to the immigrants, refugees and citizens on welfare, many of whom want to work and gain some small semblance of decent life in our country.
From this distinction between Sanders and Trump, it is easy to understand the differences between citizens who support either candidate strongly. Many Sanders supporters have accumulated significant debt from going to university or have a fear of repeal for Obamacare. They see the government and big banks as the enemy and rally around Sanders for publically criticizing banks’ interest rates and the refusal of a democratic socialist system to pay for services such as education and healthcare. On the Republican side, many Trump supporters are blue collar and many have lost or have the risk of losing their jobs as companies move overseas. As a direct result, many of Trump’s supporters blame the individuals who have taken their jobs in Mexico or other nations for creating more obstacles in the way of reaching the American dream. Consequently, they then become angrier when other individuals are unemployed because they are using government economic assistance while seemingly taking the money out of their hands.
In the end, both Sanders and Trump have appealed to the same emotions in the American people. The feelings of anger and frustration are geared towards a system where each side visualizes a solution that the government is not working towards. But still, the problem remains in deciding which candidate is angry for the right reasons or if both candidates should be discarded for a calmer, establishment candidate that will keep the country headed in the right direction.