Bernie Sanders has said that he could win the backing of Donald Trump supporters.
Sanders told CBS’s Face the Nation that many of Trump’s supporters have legitimate fears stemming from income inequality that Sanders is best positioned to address.
“What Trump has done with some success is taken that anger, taken those fears, which are legitimate, and converted them into anger against Mexicans, anger against Muslims,” Sanders said.
“In my view, that is the not way we are going to address the problems facing this country,” he said.
Instead, Sanders supports a platform of bringing citizens together to push Congress to pass laws that address income inequality. He said that many of Trump supporters are “working class people and they are angry” because they are losing their jobs to overseas firms, cannot afford to send their children to college and are working longer hours for lower ages.
Sanders also sent out a release on Sunday saying that Trump is “getting nervous” about working families getting a better understanding of his policies.
This may not be as outlandish as it may appear at first glance. After all, the bulk of Trump’s supporters, working class people with lower education, are those who would benefit the most from Sanders’s polices. But it is undoubtedly a pretty optimistic view because it assumes that Trump supporters will rationally weigh the relative benefits of the two candidates’ economic policies and choose which is better for them, rather than basing their preferences on fear and anger.
Whether he gets Trump’s voters or not, Sanders’s attempt to poach Trump’s supporters seems to have produced one benefit. Trump now says that the minimum wage is too low and he supports a rise in it, which a complete reversal from his previous stance. Given that his tendency when criticized is to double down, this is a significant and welcome shift.