The New Hampshire primary tells us much about this election. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders both walked away with the prize, a revealing barometer that communicates how people are feeling in America. Bernie is a socialist and a man I was unfamiliar with one year ago. He penalizes the rich feeding the frustrated who have not been able to get ahead for the past seven years or longer. They’re rightfully frustrated. His agenda is to take from the one percent which he proclaims will improve their lives. That the Obama policies have muzzled our economic progress are not examined or questioned. Feeding class hatred never improved people’s lives though it’s an easy ‘get’ for a guy like Bernie whose claim to fame is riling up those on the dole, or the unambitious but more to the point, those who have really not been able to succeed because of this anemic economy. So Bernie promises deliverance if they support his tired redistribution spread-the-wealth deal. Obama has been pitching class hatred for awhile. Bernie takes that feckless road already traveled. The takeaway here is that Obama’s presidency produced a candidate like Sanders who was able to garner enough mass-appeal to win the New Hampshire primary.
Disdain for Hillary figured into that outcome as well. Her family foundation, email debacle that keeps on coming and lucrative Wall Street speeches have left her vulnerable. She’s managed to lose much of her female support. Women, even liberal zealots, can only tolerate so much deception. They’ve toughed it out but can no longer stomach what can’t be denied. Bernie seems far more agreeable.
Trump’s anti-establishment candidacy is antithetical to socialism and appeals to many. Here’s a successful man who has made billions from the millions he inherited as a young man. New York is a town he has branded with his name and he is, despite the criticisms, a widely respected entrepreneur. He is part of the one percent Bernie denigrates and so too is Hillary. America was founded on free enterprise and the ability for many, even those without family largess, to achieve great fortune and success. It is the penicillin that keeps on giving not just to the rich, but to the many who benefit mightily from the successful among us. Microsoft touches many lives. Just ask their employees who have made personal fortunes as a result of Bill Gates’ brilliance. It’s the American way. Trump tellingly uses the former Reagan slogan, Make America Great Again, and it resonates because Trump knows American greatness firsthand. He has lived that dream which inspires us. And he has credibility, a missing and essential ingredient we haven’t seen in awhile.
Be wary of the charlatans among us. Those who seek to profit by professing cures for our ills without the experience or ability to do it. We’re emerging from a presidency like that. Charlatans are the swindlers among us who scheme their way forward to obtain fame, money, political advantage that invariably hurts others. In the past, the office of the presidency attracted individuals from known families because that pedigree reinforced a recognized brand that offered predictability. Either that or an individual we knew (like Reagan) who proved he had the integrity and experience to do right by America. That’s the formula that keeps on giving… usually.
It feels as if we’ve lost our compass and our ability to move our country forward. Fortunately, many American citizens are concerned and are trying hard to take their country back. Those who support Bernie are attracted to the idea of socialism much like their attraction to Obama. Many of Bernie’s supporters are young. They don’t understand what he represents; they haven’t the life experience to know. All his supporters recognize he offers change but mostly because things did not turn out as expected. Enough were Obama supporters who believed his campaign slogan, change we can believe in. By now enough should know, promised change without credible resolve solves nothing. Disappointment can lead to more change but we need to be careful what we produce.
South Carolina will be a significant turning point. It’ll clarify the viable candidates and whittle the choices further. It will tell us who among the Republicans can and may go the distance. The Democratic race has two contenders. One a socialist. The other a person no one trusts. That race remains far from certain.