Trump and Sanders are popular not just because they’re expressing people’s anger but because they offer timely critiques of American capitalism. In his most recent debate Sanders called America’s trade policies “disastrous,” a way for businesses to drive wages down and profits up. He’s voted against every trade agreement that has come before Congress since he’s been in office, opposed normalizing trade relations with China and most recently the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
By focusing on trade, though, Sanders and Trump are acknowledging something important: what has happened to U.S. labor was not a natural disaster but, in part, the product of government policies designed to accelerate globalization and expose American workers to foreign competition. That admission is more than working-class Americans have got from most Presidential candidates.