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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Trump and Sanders

Trump and Sanders represent different forms of outsiderism.  Despite obvious differences, they have other things in common, too. Both have third-party backgrounds.  Both make great TV.  And there is more.

Opposition to limited government?  Check.  Rich Lowry writes at Politico:
If the grass-roots movement that Sanders has built will pressure Democrats all the way to the Philadelphia convention and beyond, Trump has arguably done more to pull the country’s politics leftward. He has, for now, managed to do what the Democrats and the media have been attempting for most of the Obama era: to kill off the tea party as a national force.

By dividing it, eclipsing it and making its animating concerns of limited government and constitutionalism into after-thoughts, Trump has neutered a heretofore potent vehicle against Big Government. With or without Sanders, the Democrats were going to drift in a more progressive direction. It was far from inevitable, though, that the Republican Party would de-emphasize its opposition to growth in the size of government. That is entirely the doing of Trump.
Disorder, conspiracy theory?  Check. From The Washington Post editors:
Mr. Sanders’s irresponsibility is sadly unsurprising. He has stirred up populist energy over the past several months with anti-corporate scapegoating and extravagant claims about policy. He has indulged and encouraged hyperbolic feelings that the country is badly adrift, that most of the nation agrees with a left-wing agenda but is trapped in a corrupt system, and that nothing but a political revolution will do. He has attracted some big, passionate crowds. But as he has lagged in votes, he increasingly has questioned the legitimacy of the process and encouraged his supporters to feel disenfranchised. The result is a toxic mix of unreason, revolutionary fervor and perceived grievance.
What is particularly galling about the Sanders camp’s complaints of disenfranchisement is that Mr. Sanders has benefited or tried to benefit from a variety of sketchy quirks of the nominating process. He has claimed support for his cause in caucuses, which are quite exclusive, but he complains about closed primary elections, which are more inclusive. In Nevada, his supporters were trying to game the rules to get more delegates and got upset when they did not succeed. As veteran Nevada politics reporter Jon Ralston put it, “Despite their social media frothing and self-righteous screeds, the facts reveal that the Sanders folks disregarded rules, then when shown the truth, attacked organizers and party officials as tools of a conspiracy to defraud the senator of what was never rightfully his in the first place.”
Knowledge gaps? Fantastic policies?  Check. From the Tax Policy Center:
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders proposes significant tax increases that would raise $15.3 trillion over the next decade. All income groups would pay more tax, but most would come from high-income households, particularly those with very high incomes. Sanders would also implement new government benefits—notably government-financed single-payer health care, long-term services and supports, college, and family leave benefits—and expand Social Security benefits. TPC finds the new government benefits would more than offset new taxes for 95% of households but the combined tax and transfer plan would increase federal budget deficits by more than $18 trillion over the next decade.