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Friday, July 3, 2015

A Sincere Question

I have a sincere question for my Republican friends--I'm sure I must have one or two: When you guys think about the 2016 presidential election, what do you think of the Democratic "fringe" candidates?  Or, to put it more simply: Do you guys look at Bernie Sanders the way we look at Donald Trump?

In recent polls, Trump is receiving about 12% of the vote for the Republican presidential nomination, while Bernie Sanders is receiving about 15% of the vote for the Democratic nomination.  In other words, they seem to be roughly equal in their relative "fringeness."  They are both from the Northeast, and they both. . . um. . . well, I guess they both elicit numerous jokes about their hair.  In other words, as of this moment, Bernie Sanders is the Democratic Donald Trump.

But here's the thing: Bernie Sanders is a twice-elected United States Senator, whose "insane" ideas include things like narrowing the wealth gap among Americans and getting big money out of politics.  Donald Trump is a questionably successful businessman and television personality whose platform includes things like building a massive wall along the southern US border and calling Mexicans "rapists."  It says something about the debased state of American politics that both candidates are considered to have about the same chance of being elected president, but let that go for now.

Obviously, as a Democrat, I think Donald Trump is a joke and an embarrassment to our country--and, in fairness, I am sure that the vast majority of Republicans feel much the same way.  But I am truly, truly curious--and I come back to my earlier question: Do Republicans look at Bernie Sanders the same way?  And if so, our politics may be even more debased than I thought.

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