This Political Race Reveals Fatigue With Status Quo

To The Readers’ Forum:

The theme of presidential politics 2016 appears to be one of populist angst. The fact that both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have followers who seem to defy political “normality” shows real fatigue with the status quo. Funny thing is both of these candidates are offering only slightly different central economic messages. But, that’s where similarities end.

Many Democrats, as they felt in 2008, long for a merge of the candidates – an experienced yet trusted and idealistic leader. Didn’t hurt then that the trusted idealist, Barack Obama, was also a person of color, and the other, Hillary Clinton, was an experienced woman. This time Hillary remains the experienced, woman candidate and the trusted idealist is Bernie Sanders. Whoever gets the nomination has an opportunity to bring all factions in the party together to address common angst, but in a practical manner.

Although Sanders has many idealistic messages, he’s a relative unknown. He also makes poor use of the word “socialist” in labelling himself. The Democratic alternative to Sanders’ message is one of practical experience. Clinton can easily be compared to Germany’s Angela Merkel.

What the Republicans long for is anyone’s guess. After 2008 and 2012, their mantra was to become more inclusive especially among minorities and the young. However, as it stands today, Republicans are spending more time self-destructing; dividing than reaching out to a broader constituency. Mona Charen, one among many complaining conservative pundits said of Donald Trump, “He arguably suffers from narcissistic personality disorderHe’s an ignoramusHe is completely immoralTrump is a Clinton-class liarHe has a history of paying off elected officials to get special treatmentabusing those people who work for himillegal immigrants who helped build Trump towerHe ran four businesses into bankruptcy and profited from a scam called Trump University. She concludes with “That’s a startThe con man must be unmasked.”

Trump is clearly known broadly even if his messages have virtually no redeeming value, lack substance and receive mostly negative publicity. The Republican alternative to Trump is, well, no one so far. Republicans are on the path to choose a highly despised minority candidate. It’s hard to imagine the Republican Party splitting up, so it will be interesting to see how Trump fares in coming primaries and even more interesting how the anti-Trump faction responds if he ultimately wins the nomination. What the Republican Party really stands for is on the line.

Paul L. Demler