No I'm not a Sanders supporter although I clearly recognize there were points of confluence between the Sanders agenda and what Trump supporters responded to.
Numerous commentators viewed various aspects of both campaigns in which they saw a commonality, to take just one of many, here are some (minus the snark) from The Atlantic's Molly Ball's list;
- Both oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
- Both support maintaining or expanding current levels of Social Security benefits.
- Both support some upper-income tax hikes.
- Both lament the pernicious role of money in politics .
- Both opposed the Iraq war (Stan herself notes that Trump “would have left Saddam Hussein in power”) and believe the money spent on it could have been put to better use domestically.
- Both have been known to worry that increased immigration could depress working-class wages.
One could find fault with the list and add more from other sources but in my opinion there is enough, even from Ball's list, to show policy and values which Sanders and Trump supporters would appreciate-I certainly do.
But beyond policy the undeniable meeting of minds for both groups was the deeply held understanding that the status quo, as represented by the Obama administration, the Clinton's and the Beltway elite (including especially the RNC) needed to be swept away. The polls of voters on election night showed that "change" was among the highest factors in how they cast their ballots.
Again. I am not a Sanders supporter but I recognize and honor their honest and deeply held commitment to a values system that puts the economic advancement of lower income groups as a high priority. In other words Sanders supporters are driven by a moral, social justice imperative.
That in my view their economic prescriptions would end up as having the opposite effect from their desired end, and their often vituperative, strident and ad hominem attacks on opponents is not the point. Rather the point is that, as opposed to Hillary, they stood for something and held to their beliefs with a passion.
We know now that the DNC under Wasserman-Schultz did everything possible to protect the establishment's anointed.
Sanders supporters could I am sure provide a massive list of all the ways Sanders campaign was thwarted, but the DNC scheduling as few debates as possible and, deliberately, at the worst possible times for mass viewing, is just one of the blatant examples of interference with the democratic process.
In the end the most reprehensible actions by the establishment was to ensure Hillary was the nominee at all costs. That she turned out to be a flawed candidate, with grossly heavy baggage, a terrible campaigner who threw away the 'blue wall' by not even showing up in Wisconsin and too late in Michigan and Pennsylvania, would have dismayed Sanders supporters.
But it is now, in the light of Hillary's post election blame game (including a snit about Bernie) and
her connection to the monstrous Harvey Weinstein that the full extent of what the RNC did to the Sanders supporters is fully exposed.
It is clear to all objective viewers that the RNC/GOP establishment tried to foist a candidate with masses of policy but no policy "heart" nothing beyond wonkiness, to touch the desires of ordinary folks, and whose lack of moral values made her take five days to condemn her friend and financial backer Weinstein (without advising she would return his donations).
In retrospect a genuine choice, genuine for America's needs not the Clinton's or the RNC's, would have been a battle of ideas for change between Trump and Sanders. That this was denied by reprehensible means is a tragedy and an insult to Sanders supporters and their genuinely held values.
What a Bill and Hillary Clinton administration, with all their Hollywood hangers on, dubious finances and media enablers would have done to America is beyond imagining.
What happens next for the Democratic Party is vital as if the establishment once again puts their status quo choice as the nominee the prospect of Sanders, or his successor, staying with the Dem's is moot. One thing is certain is that the Democratic Party would not deserve to have such members and surely the limits of their patience would be sorely tested.