Mar 21

Trump/Sanders Campaign: Populism Trumps Common Sense

sanders and trumpTrump/Sanders Campaign:
Populism Trumps Common Sense

Andrew Genesius

Two years ago, no one would have expected that the two most electrifying candidates in this year’s presidential race would be a self-avowed socialist and a reality show star. Bernie Sanders emerged from the backwoods of Vermont with his message of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, and Donald Trump has descended from his penthouse in Trump Towers hurling personal insults at all establishment candidates to transform the political landscape. Both are trying to upend the apple cart of regular politics to achieve their differing versions of an ideal government.

What most people do not seem to notice is that both Trump and Sanders are running the exact same populist campaign. Both candidates promise that the government will give the majority whatever they want. This can clearly be seen when one turns either of their political speeches into a game of Mad Libs.


Right now your life is horrible; because ___________ are doing ___________, which hurts you by causing ________. If you elect me, I will stop ________, and give you __________. Everything will then be wonderful.


Sanders fills in the blank by saying:

Right now your life is horrible; because the people on Wall Street are receiving bail outs and special government deals that are screwing everyone else and preventing social justice. If you elect me, I will put a stop to the benefits that the fat cats on Wall Street are receiving and give you free college tuition, healthcare, money, and ponies for everyone. Social justice for all!

Trump follows suit with his similar proclamation:

Right now your life is horrible; because the government establishment politicians are spending money they do not have, making bad trade deals, being pushed around by terrorists, and not defending our borders from illegal immigrants, which hurts you by stealing your jobs. If you elect me, I will stop the establishment politicians, terrorists, Russian aggressions, jobs going overseas, Obamacare, and the government in general. This will allow you to keep the money you have earned and be safe from Islamic Terrorists. It will be huge!

Both populist candidates promise to vanquish their enemies and provide everyone with the moon and every other celestial body in the sky. Some might say, what is wrong with that, it is just politics as normal: demonize your enemies and promise your supporters tons of free stuff? The difference is the populist message: the government will give the majority whatever they want.

At first, the populist message sounds great. The government will give the majority what they want. If you are in the majority, this is great, but if you are in the minority, you better lookout, because they are coming for you.

The majority of Americans are not rich Wall Street investors; I believe the number is around 99% who are not. If Sanders becomes president, the rich will be stripped of their earnings to satisfy the greed of the masses.

Trump is no better. Trump has promised to deport the minority of individuals who have arrived in this country illegally and has an eye on Arab Americans in order to keep the country safe.

The rights of the individual are tossed aside to satisfy the mercurial desires of the majority. This is extremely dangerous, because everyone belongs to some minority group. If populism reigns, it is only a matter of time before the group you belong to becomes a targeted minority. Under a populist system, Black Lives might matter one day and be targeted the next.

The other huge problem with a populist government is the cost. Nothing in life is free. Everything has a cost. Allegedly free college tuition, healthcare, childcare, and other goodies all cost money. Someone has to pay for it. In a populist message, the benefits to the majority are usually paid by the targeted minorities. Sanders intends to take every last penny from the rich, which sounds great to the non-rich person until one simple economic fact is revealed. There are not enough rich people in the United States to pay for all the promised free stuff.

When the majority is allowed to trample over the rights of the individual bad things happen throughout history. Religious minorities are allowed to be persecuted, ethnic minorities can be enslaved, and economic minorities can be taxed to the point of no longer working. Every individual is at risk when the populist mob is in control. The only way to defend oneself from the tyranny of the majority is to protect the rights of the individual.


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