Can Sanders get Trump’s supporters?

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.


  1. says

    In a fantasy world, Sanders would directly appeal to them. “Hey, switch parties. It’s OK. Listen to how you’ve been screwed by the rich. You can hang onto your hate, just direct it where it belongs…”

  2. brucegee1962 says

    Not only has the Trumpster now announced that wages are too low, he has made this reversal retroactive — now he’s always been in favor of a higher minimum wage, and anybody who says differently is a liar, video evidence notwithstanding.

    I can’t find the link to the Twitter thread at present, but it looks as if it may have been a bit much even for some of his more rabid followers.

  3. busterggi says

    Nope, Bernie can’t possibly out-racist, out-Christofacsist, out-homophobe or out-xenphobe trump and that’s Trump’s true base. They’ll gladly vote against their own self interest if they can demonize and oppress others.

  4. Robert,+not+Bob says

    If the voters were able and willing to rationally judge issues we wouldn’t be in this mess. Trump could advocate killing and eating the poor and they’d still vote for him.

  5. laurentweppe says

    No he can’t.

    Sanders’ supporters are pissed because the game is rigged against them
    Trump’s supporters are pissed because the game is rigged against them

    The people belonging to the second group do not want the system to be fixed: they want to become the beneficiaries of the fixing.

  6. Holms says

    If conservatives were interested in voting in a manner that aligned with their interests, many would no longer be conservatives. Thus, we can conclude that they are not going to give a shit about Bernie’s goals being in their best interests.

  7. says

    I agree with busterggi and laurentweppe. Trump supporters are all for a rigged system. Though, I would note that they would not call their ideally rigged system as actually being rigged, of course. No, it is a more fair system that treats women, minorities, and the poor better that they consider “rigged.”

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