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Friday, February 12, 2016

In Search of Candor - Why Trump and Sanders Are Winning

The word politician has become synonymous with the word liar in recent years. Time and time again we hear empty promises no one means to keep, false impressions and explanations given, and artifice used to mask real intentions. America is tired of the masquerade. We are in a state of revolt from a class of people we have come to distrust. So-called moderates, we have learned, are extremists who hide it well until they are elected.

 We would rather people simply honored our intelligence enough to say what they think. We may not agree with all of it, but we appreciate the honesty. We know for a fact that Bernie Sanders is a socialist who wants to nationalize the health care and oil production sectors of the economy, among others. He isn't hiding this fact. He wants to tax those who produce a great deal of value, in exchange for which they are given money, at ninety percent. While he has backed down from this number, he still concedes that he thinks the rich (set at an unnamed limit that will most likely exclude his income) should pay the overwhelming majority of their compensation in taxes. He wants to expand the welfare state so that college is free, which helps him attract college-age voters. In short, he is a classic 1960's era Marxist.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, is a rich businessman who believes that America's interests should (no pun intended) trump all other concerns in U.S. policy matters. He wants to balance budgets by raising revenue and would lower taxes overall, but increase the percentage of taxes paid by the middle class (where most of the money in the economy is made anyway). He would end unfavorable trade deals made with countries with which the balance of trade is tipped decidedly in their favor, allowing for tariffs and other protectionist measures. He would close the border with Mexico and control the flow of immigration to a level that would favor U.S. workers trying to earn a decent wage. He is brash and sometimes offensive, so much so that the United Kingdom has considered banning him from the country for Islamophobia or some such nonsense. (If only they would ban immigrants who practice Christianophobia!) He doesn't back down under criticism, however, but fights back. He could either be the worst president America has ever had or the best; it's hard to predict. Still, he's bold and frank, two qualities that are sorely missed in American politics.

Why have these two candidates taken over the primaries? Americans would rather vote for an honest person with whom they partially disagree than a candidate whose opinion shifts with every new poll. We face a showdown between two extremes--America as an imitation European Union or America as an aggressive competitor on the world stage. The voters will decide. Frighteningly, they may choose Sanders. Who knows? I, for one, highly doubt it. What makes America unique is the dream of accomplishing success and reaping the rewards. Sanders would punish success by stripping away the rewards. That's a tough sell for a nation of ambitious people.

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