elcome to America, land of the demagogue.

If you’ve ever attended a class in civics, American history, human psychology, constitutional law, or have simply noticed the laws of physics in action, you know that the following is true: for a pendulum (in this case political ideology) to swing to the middle, it must first visit the farthest (extremist) ends of its arc and will slowly swing in smaller and smaller degrees until it rests in the middle (common consensus).

This is not a hard concept to grasp.  You can even experiment at home with a piece of string tied to a can of peas! Swing that thing as hard as you want, you’ll wind up with it at rest with the string in a taught north/south position.  This is assuming you tied the string to the can tightly enough and haven’t brained yourself or your loved ones.

But having the sense knocked out of you right now might be a welcome mercy.  Whether you are a liberal, independent, democrat, or even a republican who hasn’t guzzled the Freaky Cheeto’s Kool Aid, you’re fucked.  Why are you fucked no matter what position you take? Because the American excitement for demagogues has reached an all-time high. Our political pendulum has reached galactically distant ends of its arc, never before seen in this or the twentieth century.

These agents of change, representatives of extremist thinking are so far out there they openly mock their own political parties. They are rogue ringmasters, whipping up public sentiment without any means to take it someplace productive. They are mental care facility escapees screaming “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

What I’m saying is that there is no difference between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

Just because Uncle Bernie comes across as warm, human, adorably crumpled, approachable, and in possession of a social conscience doesn’t mean it is so.  Look at what they guy does, not what he says.

Let’s do a comparison of Trump’s and Sanders’ modus operandi and see how off the mark I am or am not:

COMMON COMPLAINTS ABOUT TRUMP BY DEMOCRATS AND LIBERALS:

  1. Militant extremist.
  1. Popularity gained through reactionary voting.
  1. Created his platform on a cult of personality.
  1. Diverting attention from the political party he ostensibly represents, actively works to the disadvantage of his party’s politics and strategy.
  1. Openly attacks members of his own political party.
  1. His ideas and representation of them are ultimately idealistic and childish, designed to appeal to childish, emotional reactionaries, not the well-informed critical thinker.

CONTINUALLY RISING COMPLAINTS ABOUT BERNIE SANDERS:

  1. Militant extremist – Just because it’s liberal doesn’t mean it’s right. Extremism is not policy, it’s incitement. To what end?  We still don’t know about Trump and Bernie doesn’t have a solid platform either.
  1. Popularity gained through reactionary voting – Do we really have to go through this again? Who was more qualified? Hillary. Who did people personally dislike? Hillary. Who would shoot his mouth off to get enough support to keep him in the race far longer than his credentials should have allowed? Bernie. Who represented the establishment? Hillary.  Who represented an unformed concept of change? Bernie.  And Trump.
  1. Created his platform on a cult of personality – Trump made sure he seduced white, male voters who felt disenfranchised by offering them a life like his, swimming in money and the American Dream. If only his constituency all had daddies who could foot the bill for their American dreams. Bernie successfully courted every disenfranchised baby-boomer, millennial, ideologue, bleeding heart, semi-informed liberal who could be easily seduced by a messy, friendly looking guy who could have been their American History 101 professor and Bennington College. Need more proof? Here’s what Representative Emanuel Cleaver, Missouri Democrat and former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus had to say,

“We are going to lose every possible winnable seat, in a year where there are many winnable seats, if we come across as inflexible left-wingers, I respect Bernie — I just don’t think we can become the party of Bernie.”

  1. Diverting attention from the political party he ostensibly represents, actively works to the disadvantage of his party’s politics and strategy – We all know that even Paul Ryan is getting to the end of his rope in his pathetic efforts to keep even a cobweb of connection between Trump and the GOP. Bernie is no different.  If he cared about getting the house, senate and White House out of the hands of the GOP generally, and Trump specifically, he would have brought his base to Hillary much sooner, with much more strength and enthusiasm. Instead, he and his followers were griping weeks after the primaries that Hillary “stole” his opportunity. It was only when Trump became a reality that Bernie gave his position a second thought. Sorry Bernie, only first thoughts count on the campaign trail.
  1. Openly attacks members of his own party – Let’s let Mr. Sanders speak for himself (from The New York Times 6/13/17) 

“The current model and the current strategy of the Democratic Party is an absolute failure,” Mr. Sanders said to booming applause, arguing that Democrats need “fundamental change. The Democratic Party must finally understand which side it is on.”

  1. His ideas and representation of them are ultimately idealistic and childish, designed to appeal to childish, emotional reactionaries, not the well-informed critical thinker – If you’ve read the above, this speaks for itself. If you prefer your lilies gilded, here’s the deal: just like Trump, Bernie is all about appealing to wishes for short term change, in effect a revolution (which, for the record has been taken too literally by Trump’s violent constituency). Neither Bernie nor Donald show any concern for creating solutions for long term party reform.  They both give, at best, a wishy-washy “I’ll deal with that later,” ghost of an answer to any questions along that line. 

Yeah, I’m a democrat.  And I’m a liberal.  But I’m not stupid, nor am I willfully misinformed because it helps me sleep better at night.  Trump is the monster under my bed, but Bernie is rapidly becoming the bogeyman who creeps out of the shadows when the lights go out.

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About Author

Lawyer, literary agent, book packager, film producer, writer, New Yorker. Likes long walks on the beach and little dogs. Hates mean people and when the pharmacy runs out of Klonopin.

1 Comment

  1. 100% agreed, And the thing about the pendulum — remember Kabonkers? When the pendulum swings enough, the two balls smack into each other because they’re both trying to occupy the exact same space.

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