MSNBC’s Morning Joe panel agreed that Senator Bernie Sanders, a lifelong politician, is a political “outsider” akin to billionaire Donald Trump. Seeking to frame the anti-establishment currents animating today’s right-wingers, libertarians, and conservatives as universal and applicable to the left, the panelists accepted Sanders’s premise that Trump’s supporters would actually be sympathetic to the socialist senator’s policy prescriptions.
Chris Jansing, NBC’s Senior White House Correspondent, started the discussion by accepting Sanders’s assertion that Trump supporters should be receptive to his socialist campaign.
“He is, I think you could argue, tapping into the same frustration that Donald Trump is tapping into that people out there are looking for something different,” said Jansing. No analysis was offered as to the source of this frustration.
Heilemann, guest-hosting on Morning Joe and Managing Editor of Bloomberg Politics, agreed.
“I think there’s so much interesting that’s going on in that Bernie Sanders bite over the weekend. I think it’s a really fascinating thing he’s trying to do. First of all , there’s no doubt that if we look back on this last year, that this has been the year where there is something going on that’s feeding into both [Sanders and Trump] in their rise,” Heilemann said, as if the political motivations of both Sanders’s and Trump’s supporters are generally the same.
“Both of them have captured anti-establishment energy. They are outsiders in their parties that have risen to an extraordinary height,” Heilemann added, as if there is any meaningful parallel between Sanders polling 25 percentage points behind Hillary Clinton and Trump, who is 19 percentage points ahead of Senator Ted Cruz.
Heilemann is suggesting that there is a real competition currently taking place for the Democratic presidential nomination, rather than a coronation of Clinton masquerading as something else. The dynamism on the Republican side is co-opted as if a bipartisan phenomenon.
Asked by Heilemann whether or not Sanders could poach Trump’s supporters, Robert Costa, who presents himself as an objective journalist from The Washington Post, answered in the affirmative. Costa said that Trump supporters he has spoken to are primarily concerned with the Glass-Steagall Act.
“I think there’s definitely an overlap, and it could happen in this world. When I go to Trump rallies, and when I go to Senator Sanders rallies and I ask, ‘What legislation really concerns you?’ both people at both rallies bring up Glass-Steagall. They’re concerned about banking, they’re concerned about what they see as the overstepping of Wall Street, inequality of income, and inequality in the country,” Costa said, suggesting that Trump’s supporters are really animated about socialist agitprop rather than Trump’s positioning on illegal immigration, border security, and foreign policy.
Costa also framed Sanders as an “outsider.”
Sanders’s entire life has been involved in politics, with his first big win coming in 1981 with his election to the mayorship of Burlington. He was elected as a U.S. Representative in 1988. Donald Trump has never held political office.