Trump and Sanders Using Anger Against Big Money to Build Their Movements
Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders may be running for politically opposite parties, but they share a common dislike for Wall Street and big money.
In the past, Trump happily discussed his ability to buy politicians before he became one himself. Now, he is tearing into Ted Cruz for his campaign loan.
“That is the way it is. Somebody gives them money, not anything wrong, just psychologically, when they go to that person, they’re going to do it,” Trump told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” Sunday. “They owe them. And by the way, they may therefore vote negatively toward the country. That’s not going to happen with me.”
On the other side of the fence, Sanders has openly slammed big business and the private healthcare industry for robbing Americans of their lives.
“Do you know why we can’t do what every other country — major country on Earth — is doing?” Sanders asked. “It’s because we have a campaign finance system that is corrupt, we have super PACs, we have the pharmaceutical industry pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into campaign contributions and lobbying, and the private insurance companies as well.”
The champions of campaign finance reform have traditionally been liberal and relegated to the margins of presidential campaigns. Harvard professor Larry Lessig raised the $1 million he needed to mount a Democratic bid focused almost exclusively on cleaning up the campaign financing system.
But Trump and Sanders also have another thing in common: They have harnessed anti-establishment anger this cycle to become serious contenders for the Republican and Democratic nominations.
Democrats have long railed against the dangers of unchecked campaign donations, tying the Citizens United decision together with the influence of energy tycoons Charles and David Koch. But candidates like President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, while calling for campaign finance reform, have nevertheless reached out to high-dollar donors for critical support, something not lost on Sanders, who has been most effective when knocking Clinton for her Wall Street ties.
But Trump supporters have been some of the most ardent about getting big money out of campaigns and getting behind someone they say will not be bought.
“I have a lot of faith in him, just like when Ross Perot was in,” said Mike Bendickson, 65, of Eldora, Iowa, as he waited to head into a Trump rally in Des Moines, Iowa, last month. Perot, the billionaire Texan, ran two independent presidential bids in the 1990s, helping divide the vote and helping Bill Clinton win the White House.
“The rest of the people they let the lobbyists buy them off and stuff and then nobody else has any say-so on nothing,” Bendickson said. “So I just believe our country is so corrupt with our politicians now that I don’t think there’s anyone else in there other than Donald Trump that’s not corrupt.”
Photo credit: The Hill.