August 4, 2015

RIGHT CONCLUSION, UTTERLY WRONG ANALYSIS: A member of the “ruling class” himself, liberal Robert Reich, opines that “A revolt is taking place against the ‘ruling class.’ “

Political insiders don’t see that the biggest political phenomenon in America today is a revolt against the “ruling class” of insiders that have dominated Washington for more than three decades.

In two very different ways, Trump and Sanders are agents of this revolt. . . .

On the right are the wreckers. The Tea Party, which emerged soon after the Wall Street bailout, has been intent on stopping government in its tracks and overthrowing a ruling class it sees as rotten to the core. . . Donald Trump is their human wrecking ball. The more outrageous his rants and putdowns of other politicians, the more popular he becomes among this segment of the public that’s thrilled by a bombastic, racist, billionaire who sticks it to the ruling class.

On the left are the rebuilders. The Occupy movement, which also emerged from the Wall Street bailout, was intent on displacing the ruling class and rebuilding our political-economic system from the ground up. . . .

Bernie Sanders personifies them. The more he advocates a fundamental retooling of our economy and democracy in favor of average working people, the more popular he becomes among those who no longer trust the ruling class to bring about necessary change.  

Yet despite the growing revolt against the ruling class, it seems likely that the nominees in 2016 will be Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. After all, the ruling class still controls America.

Reich is correct that many Americans are angry at the “ruling class” in Washington, D.C. But he’s wrong about the constituencies that Trump and Sanders represent, and why they are proving popular.

Notice that leftist Reich characterizes the tea party as “wreckers” and the occupy movement as “rebuilders.” He then proceeds to proclaim Trump as a “bombastic, racist” wrecking ball that represents the tea party. Sanders, by contrast is merely advocating a “fundamental retooling of our economy in favor of average working people” and representing the “rebuilders” of the occupy movement.

Reich’s overt leftist bias aside, his analysis is all wrong. Trump is no more a champion of the tea party than any of several other GOP presidential candidates, including most notably Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Cary Fiorina or Rand Paul. Likewise, Bernie Sanders isn’t popular because of the occupy movement, which has been long moribund, and he certainly isn’t a political outsider, having served in Congress for almost 25 years (since 1991).

Trump and Sanders are popular for different reasons. Trump appeals to the conservative base of the GOP because he is willing to talk tough and defy a stifling and overwhelming atmosphere of political correctness.  Sanders appeals to the progressive base of the Democrats because he is willing to overtly and unapologetically push a progressive/Socialist agenda. Sanders has also gained attention simply because so many Democrats are looking for an alternative to scandal-plagued Hillary Clinton.

Do Americans–of all political stripes–distrust the D.C. “ruling class”? Yes, undoubtedly. And presidential candidates who can tap into this widespread frustration will do well. But neither Trump’s nor Sanders’ popularity is based on this sentiment. And Reich should check his #liberalbias.

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