A Not So Subtle Comparison Of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders
Only one of them has been keeping his story straight.
I’ve just had an encounter on Twitter with a few Donald Trump supporters. I can’t help but have the feeling that some of them see Trump as some sort of savior. Indeed, Trump acts like a savior, like someone who wants to make America great again. Yes, I have encountered some people sporting the #maga hashtag on their Twitter profiles.
When I hear Trump say that the stock market will tumble if he is impeached, or removed from office, or if he just loses the next election, I hear, “savior” in my mind. When I see news articles about conservatives expressing the sentiment that there will be a civil war if Trump isn’t allowed to finish his first term, and a second term, I hear, “savior” in my mind. When I see pictures of people sporting “Pray for 45” t-shirts, I hear the word, “savior” in my mind again. Isn’t that called, “idolatry”?
When I see Bernie Sanders on YouTube, or on video anywhere, when I see his fanatical supporters, I am reminded that Sanders told us all long ago…
“No president, not Bernie Sanders or anybody else, can do it alone. We don’t need a savior,” he continued.
“We need a political movement with millions of people.”
“See, there are people voting for Donald Trump, thinking he’s going to do it all,” the Vermont senator said.
“Wrong. The only way that real change ever takes place is when millions of people stand up and fight back. That’s what this campaign is about.”
That speech was reported by The Hill in a story about Bernie Sanders at a rally in 2016. I just never forgot that about Bernie. He says, “It’s not about me, it’s about us.”
With Trump, it’s all about Him, Him, and more Him. Oh, wait. Maybe I shouldn’t have capitalized “Him”. Trump is the most famous man on the planet. He’s practically a deity in American politics. So I have to admit that I find it somewhat amusing to see that guy getting booed at the World Series. He was booed at the Ultimate Fight Championship just last night. Booed at the UFC? Isn’t that Trump’s authoritarian crowd?
I’ve never seen or heard of Bernie Sanders getting booed. OK, well he was booed at the Democratic National Convention in 2016. But generally, he gets a pretty warm reception wherever he goes.
Yet there is something else different between Bernie and Trump that isn’t getting much attention in the press. So I thought I’d avert our gaze to this one big difference between Bernie and Trump: Trump keeps changing his story. Sanders has been saying the same thing now for 40 years like a broken record.
Trump said during his campaign that he was going to “drain the swamp”, that he was going to make big changes, and that he was going to make America great again. So far, I don’t see that happening, but more to the point, for the last 40 years, Trump has supported the swamp.
In 2015, Buzzfeed reported that Trump had this to say about his donations to some Republicans, Democrats and the Clinton Foundation:
“Look,” he said last Wednesday, “politicians are all talk, they’re no action. They don’t do the job, they don’t know what they’re doing. I know them better than anybody, Howie. I deal with all of them. And, you know, I make contributions to many of them. They’re friends, they’re this. It’s smart. It’s called being an intelligent person and a great business person.
“But the truth is that, you have to be able to get along with — if you’re gonna be a business person, even in the United States, you wanna get along with all sides because you’re gonna need things from everybody. And you wanna get along with all sides, it’s very important.”
Did somebody just say “Quid Pro Quo”? So for much of his business life, Trump has been playing both sides, but mostly the conservative Republican side. He’s been supporting the swamp all along. Whatever it takes to keep his business going, to grow his business, he will send money to get things done. But he also had this to say, from the same article:
“I am a businessman,” Trump said. “And when, you know, a Speaker of the House or head of the Senate or, you know, people call, you know, I generally speak. As a businessman, you wanna be friendly with everybody.”
That sounds like he’s really friendly with politicians, “establishment” politicians. And I have the impression that it didn’t matter who he was talking to, as long as he could further his own goals, he was going to be friendly.
So after 40 years of being in business, hustling favors from politicians, Trump tells us that he’s going to drain the swamp? That sounds like he’s telling us two very different stories here. I’m not sure that’s the kind of savior I want, even if I wanted a savior. That’s also a sign of a very big change in attitude, right around the time that Trump declared his intention to run for president. Timing is everything, right?
Sanders has been saying the same thing for 40 years. For more than 40 years, Sanders has been consistent about wealth inequality, and the rigged system of laws and policies that make extreme wealth inequality possible. The numbers may change, but the message is the same, and that pattern is echoed by all the major news outlets that have documented the political positions of Bernie Sanders over the course of his career.
This just one reason why I support Bernie Sanders, and why I would never vote for Trump. I want someone in the White House who is filled with conviction about serving the country, not personal ambition. I want a president who can keep his stories straight.