If I had the exact answer as to why Trump and Sanders are popular, I’d likely be a millionaire. But I’d like to venture a few reasons why Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, two seemingly opposite-end-of-the-spectrum candidates for the 2016 U.S. Presidency, have gained in popularity in leaps and bounds, much to the dismay of their colleagues and the mainstream media.
Americans have little faith in the American Dream and in their government. How can anyone deny that? Only “1 in 4 Americans are satisfied with the way things are going.” And it’s only getting worse with the coming of age reality TV shows, with the decline of a middle class that is nearly extinct.
As someone born in the late seventies and part of what America likes to call “Generation X”, allow me to explain that I believe we were born into a time of war; and by our average college graduation date, social security was nearly bankrupt, the Big Banks were soon to be bailed out by TAXPAYER money under the guise that it had to be done, and no one anywhere was taking responsibility.
People were getting angry (many who already were) and it’s been rising since…
One could have foreseen the crowds Sanders and Trump would come to cultivate if one had only looked a little closer at the landscape of the 2012 Presidential Election. Voters were speaking and they were upset. Many were coming out to see a candidate that spoke truth and had conviction in every sense of the word – Ron Paul. Paul, a then-GOP Presidential Candidate, often drew crowds in the thousands. The night I heard him speak at UCLA, the crowds were estimated to be over 6,000. And in September 2011, I was one of the dutiful volunteers who chose to wake up early to welcome Congressman Ron Paul to downtown Los Angeles and though the media claimed we were brought in by the busload, I can assure you we were not. I came of my own volition and fought hard for his voice to be heard.
Ron Paul did not win that election but the unhappiness with the direction of American politics has remained in the air and it’s gotten progressively worse. The mainstream media can deny it no longer, especially with the way Trump is polling and the sheer numbers of people who show up to hear Sanders speak.
Times are a’ changing. Though Ron Paul was often made to seem more a nuisance than a threat by the media and political arena, the outsider is no longer tarnished as such. It’s different this time around. Trump and Sanders are getting media attention in a way Ron Paul never did. And voters who are not part of the establishment are not allowing those who are to get away with what they have been getting away with up to this point.
Voter’s voices are vying to be heard. When they hear Trump talk about his travails as a businessman, they know he is a businessman and has in fact been successful at it. When Sanders talks about giving away free college education, voters understand the price of college has gotten completely out of hand, all the while jobs are more and more rare upon graduation.
Voters are dissatisfied with what government AND big business have been doing. In 1992, Ross Perot was able to capture 19% of the vote because of such dissatisfaction. With the amount of dissatisfaction from education to foreign policy and everything in between that currently permeates throughout America, voters may speak loudly this election and just may vote a candidate into office that challenges the status quo rather than reinforces it and it would bode anyone running to greatly consider that.
Written by Christina Parisi