In perennial quest for an impactful, major candidate, progressives warmly embrace Sen. Sanders. No other national candidate yet offers serious proposals to level the job and career playing field, a measured (not perfect) foreign policy firmness against "dumb" wars, and evolved tolerance for American diversity. What distinguishes Sanders, the total opposite to Trumpery, is how he expands high campaign energy with zero venom. Just like Dan Quayle was hardly JFK, Trump is no Bernie Sanders. And never will be.
One leader prospers by refusing negatives while the put-down artist cannot go two sentences without slinging mud or contemptuous nasty attacks. Whereas Trump narrowly pitches his demagogic racism to the least aware, Bernie's grassroots calls against billionaire rule and for economic justice bridges left, right, and middle. Even Sanders' critics don't impugn his sincerity or genuineness, a model of loyalty to career principles. That makes Bernie that rare political bird, an honest reformer who infuses political action with the morality of compassion.
No one doubts the battles President Sanders will initiate on Day One for, like the pope, he's all about systemic disruption of the status quo. How opposite to Trump, with his chin-thrusting bravado, the blowhard riding divisive wedge issues without one single, substantial position on any major challenge. Why should the Donald money bags urge serous reform of the "free market" casino that repeatedly covers repeated bankruptcies?
Simply Left-Right 'Extremism'
Thus, I laugh out-loud whenever so many talking heads compare Sanders, whose moral leadership is about socializing the worst of capitalism, with the grandstanding, opportunistic who mouths whatever chicanery wins media time. In what meaningful way is Sanders, the "left-wing extremist," like Trump, the "right-wing extremist"? One is about collective, populist insurgency and the other calculated, self-absorbed repugnancy. Both allegedly "speak their own minds," and "stand against the party establishments;" both channel "rage towards do-nothing leadership," ardent voices against gridlocked politics.
When has Bernie made even one "extremist" peep? Or gained by viciously assailing top figures (vs. Trump, whose ridicule knows no limits)? Beyond a few superficial parallels, any scrutiny exposes this soundbite kinship as media fabrication. Contraries swamp facile linkages. Measured by his strong, specific proposals and uncle-like persona, Sanders' rise opposes all that is Trumpismo -- and his glorification of celebrity while ironically reducing elections to old-style, stand-up "insult comedy." Whereas Sanders lives in the real world, respectful of other thinking beings, Trump offers the clownish vaudeville of facile putdowns, platitudes and prevarication. Nothing more closely echoes Colbert's satire of the loudmouth, rightwing talk show host than Trump.
With three lies for every truthful lurch, Trump's the cynical jester who suckers in naive voters just as his casinos predate "loser" gamblers. No surprise, this week his temporary immunity from disgrace is fading as the "real" (uninformed, arrogant, know-it-all) Trump surfaces. Whereas Sanders speaks to everyone's higher self, Trump is the bottom dweller who exposes the moral emptiness of the rightwing base. And the jaw-dropping joke: the deluded base cheers on this "ex-liberal" quasi-conservative who's anything but a good Republican.