By Robert J. Guttman
January 12, 2016
President Bernie Sanders.
President Donald Trump.
Yes, folks it could happen. It most likely will not be either of these men on the ballot in the general election. But there is an outside chance that this might be the year for two grumpy old men to be running against one another for the White House.
Senators Sanders is 74 years of age and Donald Trump is 69. I am approaching Trump’s age very soon so I am not being rude discussing their ages.
In a year of so many diverse candidates and in a nation which puts so much value on youth in our advertising and popular culture, two of the leading candidates for president have been on Social Security and Medicare for several years.
Both candidates seem remarkably healthy and fit. Both candidates are withstanding the terrible grind of travel and cold weather and speaking several times a day to large audiences.
Both Sanders and Trump are attracting the largest crowds of any of the candidates. I had Senator Sanders speak at our George Mason University School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs Center for Politics & Foreign Relations last June and we only had 45 people in the audience. He has certainly soared in the polls and popularity since last summer.
And, Trump is attracting enormous crowds across the country wherever he speaks.
Senator Sanders, a self-proclaimed Socialist, would be running against Donald Trump, a self-proclaimed multi-billionaire capitalist of the highest order.
Talk about a choice for the American voter.
Why are both of these leading candidates so grumpy in their campaign speeches?
Sanders rails against the “millionaires and billionaires” like Trump who he wants to see pay more taxes. Sanders wants to break up our biggest banks and mainly he wants to help the middle class. The majority of his campaign talk centers on economic issues and he is not a big backer of a stronger military and downplays American involvement overseas.
Trump, on the other hand, is for a stronger military. He talks more about foreign policy issues than Sanders but the Donald also focuses mainly on being angry over domestic topics like immigration.
In fact, Trump really talks more about criticizing the “losers’ than he does discussing the issues of the day. Trump puts on a show when he speaks. He is the new politician who is mainly an entertainer at heart.
Sanders, is the exact opposite of Trump. He is a no-nonsense person who is always “on” speaking about income inequality and helping the middle class.
Bernie always seems sincere and means what he says. Audiences may not agree with his views but they know he is a true believer in his causes, especially helping the middle class and providing free tuition for all college students.
One is never sure if Trump is just putting us all on and having a good time. It wouldn’t surprise me if he lost a caucus or primary that he would just say that he is leaving the presidential race, as he has bigger business deals to handle.
Much of Sanders and Trumps’ support comes from younger voters. Sanders is very popular with college students.
Republicans who control the House of Representatives, the United States Senate, the majority of state legislatures and majority of governors in the country, seem angry at their elected officials at all levels.
Are Republican voters mad at only President Obama or their own Republican members of Congress who they feel compromise too much and don’t stand up for their principles?
Everyone talks about how angry and divided the country is but no one has satisfactorily explained the root cause of this anger. Surely, a huge nearly twenty trillion dollar debt and anger over the economy and immigration loom large but why are voters going for two grumpy old men?
Everyone talks about us being polarized but are we really?
Or is it that politics has become our entertainment and with social media and 24/7 cable television politics has become our main entertainment outside of sports and celebrity fascination.
Sanders projects sincerity and has a point of view and his strong following indicates a shift in the Democratic Party farther to the left and progressive wing than either the president or Hillary.
Trump projects anger, nastiness and obviously an appeal to voters’ frustrations with the status quo. His mean spirited comments and his uncivil talk seem to fit right in with our times, sad to say.
One of these two men could be America’s 45th president.
A socialist versus a billionaire capitalist.
The election has become one large reality show.
The voting starts in February in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Sanders could conceivably beat Hillary in both states and seriously damage her campaign. Bernie is a much better campaigner than the former Secretary of State. She is guarded and controlled while he is the exact opposite-and that is why he may win the first two contests next month.
Trump is neck and neck in the polls with Senator Cruz in Iowa and far ahead of the GOP field in New Hampshire. His off the wall comments on whether Cruz is an American citizen may be enough to scare off some possible Cruz voters.
Trump may not let us know where he stands on the issues but he is one slick-and nasty-campaigner who knows full well that Cruz is an American citizen but knows the birther issue works with some voters.
President Bernie Sanders.
President Donald Trump.
One of these two grumpy old men could become America’s 45th president!