Real estate mogul Donald Trump is adopting a new strategy to woo Democrats in the general election: channeling Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
An article in The New York Times explains that Trump’s strategy appears to be running “as more of a Sanders-style populist than as a conservative” and that Trump appears to even be running to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s left on some issues.
This is a strategy that every rational-thinking human being should have seen coming since Trump and Sanders actually have more in common than meets the eye. Here are seven ways in which Trump and Sanders are similar to each other.
1. Their proposals and rhetoric on trade are almost indistinguishable. One of the major themes of Trump’s campaign is trade, as he has called the North American Free Trade Agreement a “disaster” and has proposed 45 percent tariffs on China and Japan as well 35 percent tariffs on Mexico. Likewise, Sanders railed against NAFTA in a 2015 op-ed in The Huffington Post and has proposed ending free trade agreements, which would be the equivalent of higher tariffs.
Trump has openly admitted that he and Sanders are on the same page on trade.
“The one thing we very much agree on is trade,” Trump said earlier in the primary season. “We both agree that we are getting ripped off by China, by Japan, by Mexico, everyone we do business with.”
The difference between the two on this issue is simply in how they frame it: Trump slams trade deals and promotes tariffs with empty rhetoric about the U.S. being “ripped off” by trade deals, while Sanders claims that trade agreements are a gigantic Wall Street conspiracy.
2. Both candidates are using anti-Wall Street populist rhetoric, especially toward Clinton. The Times article quotes Trump parroting a Sanders line at an Oregon rally against Clinton with regard to Wall Street.
“She’s totally controlled by Wall Street,” Trump said.
This is a standard line of attack that has Sanders has used against Clinton. For instance, in a Democratic debate in April, Sanders mocked Clinton for calling out the banks.
“Was this before or after you received huge sums of money speaking before them?” Sanders said. “They must have been very, very upset.”
Sanders went on to call the banks “fraudulent organizations that are a danger to our economy.”
Trump at one point said something similar by smearing “hedge fund guys” as “getting away with murder.”
Additionally, Trump surrogate Roger Stone is quoted in the Times article as touting Trump’s bona fides against bankers.
“Who’s been tougher on bankers than Donald Trump?” Stone said. “He’s taken them to the cleaners. I think he has a healthy skepticism and deep knowledge of bankers and how they operate. He’s going to be tough on Wall Street.”
3. They both favor raising taxes on the rich. It should come as no surprise that Sanders is calling for higher taxes–an estimated $19.6 trillion–and calling for the rich to pay their fair share. He’s a Marxist, so that kind of class warfare is to expected. However, it truly becomes ugly when Trump, after proposing across-the-board tax cuts in September, expresses a willingness to raise taxes on the rich.
Trump’s flip-flop was foreshadowed back in April, Trump attacked Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) for not raising taxes to deal with a deficit that didn’t exist.
“There’s a $2.2 billion deficit and the schools were going begging and everything was going begging because he didn’t want to raise taxes ’cause he was going to run for president,” Trump said. “So instead of raising taxes, he cut back on schools, he cut back on highways, he cut back on a lot of things.”
Earlier in May, Trump officially flip-flopped on tax plan, saying that “the taxes for the rich will go up somewhat” and that “the wealthy are willing to pay more.”
Trump may end up not raising taxes as high Sanders, but they both are in favor of raising taxes on the rich.
4. Trump and Sanders are in favor of a higher minimum wage. Sanders, of course, has adopted the standard leftist plank by calling for a $15 minimum wage.
“The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage and must be raised to a living wage,” Sanders said in July 2015.
Trump, after being against the minimum wage earlier in the campaign, echoed Sanders in a May 8 appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press.
“I don’t know how people make it on $7.25 an hour,” Trump said. “Now, with that being said, I would like to see an increase of some magnitude. But I’d rather leave it to the states. Let the states decide.”
The above quote is the usual Trumpian gibberish: claiming to be in favor of something on one side of his mouth, while on the other side of his mouth leaving wiggle room by using a cop-out argument, such as federalism, in this case. Granted, there’s nothing wrong with touting federalism, but the quote makes it seem as if Trump is simultaneously for and against raising the federal minimum wage at the same time. However, his mindset is clear: ideally, he would like to see a higher minimum wage. Just like Sanders.
5. Both candidates favor campaign finance reform. Sanders has called for campaign finance reform because “the current political campaign finance system is corrupt and amounts to legalized bribery.”
Back in January, Trump also sounded open to campaign finance reform for similar reasons.
“I think you need it, because I think PACs are a horrible thing,” Trump said.
The businessman continued, “Somebody gives them money, not anything wrong, just psychologically when they go to that person, they’re going to do it. They owe them. And by the way, they may therefore vote negatively toward the country.”
Under a President Trump or Sanders, free speech would take a serious beating.
6. Trump and Sanders each have a cult-like following. Anybody who has tried to rationalize with a Trump or Sanders supporter knows that they would have better luck arguing with a brick wall. Sanders supporters are fanatic zealots over the senator’s Marxist ideology, so they will simply revert to the standard Marxist talking points while parading #FeelTheBern. Trump supporters are enamored with Trump’s blunt and vicious personality to the point where his actual policy positions and flip-flops don’t matter. They just respond by using Trump’s monikers of “Crooked Hillary,” “Lyin’ Ted” and “Little Marco” and then call anybody who is opposed to Trump a “cuck.”
Somewhere, Jim Jones is smiling.
“Now that Bernie is all but eliminated, his supporters seem to be drifting in Trump’s direction.”
Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw
7. Their supporters also have a #NeverHillary overlap. The Trump supporters’ belief in #NeverHillary is self-explanatory, since there are some conservatives and Republicans who would vote for a garden hose over Clinton, but there are a number of Sanders supporters who have declared that they will never vote for Clinton. The New York Post found some Sanders supporters who are examples of this:
“Asking me to vote for Hillary is like asking a Christian to vote for Satan instead of Jesus,” Liberalheart posted on Twitter.
“[Clinton] sold her soul to filthy lucre long ago,” tweeted ArtistsforBernie under the #DropOutHillary hashtag.
“Nothing could get me to vote for Hillary Clinton, nothing,” tweeted Jay Thompson.
“I am going to vote for Bernie whether I have to write in him or not,” Frank Duffy, 41, of Staten Island, told The Post.
“I would happily vote for a third party, including the Libertarian,” said Carter Craft of Hoboken, 46, a newly minted Democrat who changed his registration so he could cast a Sanders ballot in New Jersey’s June 7 primary.
As Hot Air‘s Jazz Shaw writes, “We saw it in West Virginia and, more recently, in Pennsylvania as well. There are Sanders voters supporting Trump and backers of The Donald voting for Bernie. Some of it is no doubt media hype to keep things spicy, but there does seem to be some crossover in too many polls to ignore. If Trump had failed to win the nomination (or somehow still fails to do so) his voters seemed to be looking at Bernie as a second choice. And now that Bernie is all but eliminated, his supporters seem to be drifting in Trump’s direction.”
No wonder then Trump is looking to court Sanders’ supporters.
The Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro also has a detailed analysis of the similarities between Trump and Sanders here.