August 17, 2015
Populist Dimorphism: Trump and Sanders
by Manuel García, Jr.
Donald Trump may be a greedy bigot, but he is no hypocrite, and it is his refreshing honesty that is his most endearing characteristic*.
Trump is an incarnation of Republican populism that is completely free of the public relations superstructure of hypocrisy — those politically life-sustaining lies — that is essential for the Republican Party establishment. The “inner party” that is the Republican Party establishment is a club of heartless killers with no more concern for the Republican hoi polloi than they have for anyone else, beyond their utility as exploitable human resources. In elitist Republican calculus, the nativist masses — “the Republican base” — are useful idiots to be programmed (“brainwashed”) through electronic mass media, to fall in line into a malleable blob of people-power that pushes elitist schemes uphill.
The Donald bypasses the elitist snobbery of the Republican inner party, and speaks directly to the nativist lumpenproletariat, who are thrilled to see their demeaning aristocratic manipulators pantsed (“debagged”). The yearning nativist masses gleefully revenge themselves for their decades of slights by their vanguard, by throwing the weight of their popular support to The Donald. And The Donald, by sucking the wind out of Republican establishment sails, becalms the entire warship that is the Republican Party, and captures it. This is piracy at it finest.
A distaste for hypocrisy is popular among the masses regardless of individual political orientation. This is evident with the appearance of the two most popular contenders in the presidential contest today: Donald Trump (on the right, by the foul line) and Bernie Sanders (in left-center). As Trump so clearly explained at the Iowa State Fair on August 15, Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton (a face of the establishment under the Democratic Party nameplate), and all the other bit-player contenders are simply puppets dangled before the public’s noses by big-money string-pullers shrouded by thick curtains of corporate obfuscation. The Donald is uniquely his own string-puller, he is without hypocrisy because as his own man he is free to say, and try to do, what he wants to say and what he wants to try to do. Trump is the fairy godfather of the nativist lumpenproletariat, his words resonate with many of their hopes, and his campaign is a magical gift to them conjured solely from his own deep pockets.
Bernie Sanders is Trump’s polar opposite, he is the man of the (non-trumpian type) people in this campaign. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign raised $15 million between its launch in late April and July 2nd, 400,000 donations came from about 250,000 individual donors, the average donation was $33.51, and 99% of donations were under $250. Both Trump and Sanders are advocates of campaign finance reform, pure full-spectrum populism.
The other contenders in the presidential qualifying rounds are each the face-end of a big-money establishment string; many strings, same establishment. Remember the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court: the more money you have, the bigger the votes you get to buy. So, Trump the voter gets to buy his own private presidential candidate: himself. Trump’s vote-investing power is on par with the aggregate of 250,000 vote-investors for Bernie Sanders. Trump’s presidential campaign is his own wholly-owned subsidiary, while Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign is a publicly-traded enterprise with over 400,000 shares of common stock.
Trump, as the presidential contender, doesn’t owe anybody anything, and he acts that way. Sanders, as the presidential contender, owes everything to many, many people, and he acts that way. What is appealing about both Trump and Sanders is that neither is a favored tool of the establishment. They each have their flaws, the gravity of which depends on your particular preferences regarding politics and personality. But, as one of my mentors used to say so long ago: “In a land without sheep, a goat is a prized possession.”