How the views of Sanders and Trump have evolved over time

As we have seen, Donald Trump’s views on a whole host of issues have changed over time, shifting from more liberal to hardline conservative, especially since he entered the race. The efforts of his rivals to bring this up have been surprisingly lackluster with the ad below being the most pointed but it appeared a little late in the game and may be too late to derail Trump.

What is less well known is that Bernie Sanders’s views have also shifted over time, though not as dramatically. When billionaire Michael Bloomberg announced that he was considering the possibility of a third party candidacy if Trump and Sanders were to end up competing against each other, Nate Silver mapped out the positions of the three of them to see if there was a gap in the political spectrum that would give Bloomberg a viable shot.

He used the statements of the three at various times and plotted them on economic and social axes. Interestingly, it turns out that though Sanders and Trump are polar opposites now, back in 2000 they were pretty close. They then had similar scores along the economic axis but differed moderately on the social axis with Trump being more populist.


Silver concludes that Trump and Sanders have blocked any lane that might have suited a Bloomberg candidacy with his current views, though if he reverts to his 2007 positions, he has a little more room. Bloomberg used to be a Democrat but changed to Republican to run for mayor of New York and while in office shifted his positions again and now has views close to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. So, like Trump, he is used to shifting his positions opportunistically and he has successfully parlayed his liberal stances on social issues with his reactionary pro-oligarchic economic policies within the context of New York city. But Silver thinks that his candidacy is unlikely to go anywhere nationally and I agree.


  1. Emory K. says

    I’ll vote for the first candidate who promises to outlaw coordinate axes rotated 45 degrees from where they should be.

  2. anat says

    Bloomberg’s main impact, if he were to run, is to obstruct others, most likely on the left. That he claims to consider running only if the main presidential race turns out to be Trump vs Sanders tells you all you need to know about what he values in a president.

  3. says

    At the risk of being trite, Trump is Beeblebrox and Cruz is Palpatine. When Trump isn’t building gold imbued statues to his own glory or provoking reality tv drama with world leaders, he’ll be on vacation.

    By contrast, I suspect Cruz will be intent on bringing about the end times. Usually, that sort of statement is outrageous hyperbole, but Cruz sends shivers down my spine.

  4. StevoR says

    @ ^ Anders Ryndel : Close enough.

    Interesting graphic here.

    Ironically, the anti-Trump ad included here settles that next thread’s question for me and make shim look a lot better than Cruz does. If only it was that old Trump running not the “Mexicans are rapists, Muslims should be banned” one we now have.

  5. lorn says

    I’m very suspicious of Bloomberg.

    The graphic gives a scalar between more/less government intervention. As I see it there is only one possible remaining counterforce to corporatism, government. At one time it could be suggested that there was a third way and that some combination of social norm, usual and customary business practice, and collective, if not individual, conscience could keep big business under control without much resort to overt regulation and imposed limits.

    In theory just a bit of social norm, a touch of government intervention in the rare egregious case, and a whole lot of the invisible hand thrashing wrongdoers would keep the markets relatively, if not squeaky, clean. In theory good money doesn’t follow bad and cheats are shunned and go bankrupt.

    In reality breaking social norms gets you a spot on the cover of a glossy business magazine as an “innovator”.

    Government doesn’t intervene because the regulatory agencies have been captured and no longer believe in government intervention. That and the Republican rhetoric doesn’t line up with prosecution for cheaters. This is how Scott became governor in Florida even after his business was fines hundreds of millions for cheating. The invisible hand preferentially seeks profits over justice and cheating is a grand way of gaining profits more predictably. Seeking profits good money follows bad and one cheater means that, in time, everyone in that market has to cheat to compete.

    The end result of this is that the less/more government intervention scalar comes down to the two conflicting sides and which side you favor, corporate or government control.

    In this Bloomberg is very much in favor of corporate control. He is just one of the more well known idiots who try to pull a fast one by claiming to be ‘fiscally conservative but socially liberal’. Which implicitly sets up a false dichotomy. It implies there is some divide between social and economic justice. There isn’t. Economic justice is social justice, and vice-versa.

    Usually when someone claims to be fiscally conservative but socially liberal they are announcing that they don’t care what people do, as long as it doesn’t interfere with profits. Of course, in the real world, precious few liberties don’t interfere with profits and it is virtually impossible to optimize a system for two variables. In the end the the money lines up on the side of profits and you get the classic lines ‘we really wanted to accommodate you but couldn’t fit it in’, yada-yada …bottom line, yada-yada … shareholder value.

  6. sonofrojblake says

    As we have seen, Donald Trump’s statements on a whole host of issues have changed over time

    Fixed it for you.

    You have no idea and no way of knowing what Donald Trump’s views are. All the evidence you have is what he says, and repeatedly appear to wilfully forget that this is the man who literally wrote a book about negotiating tactics and how to get what you want.

    The conventional interpretation, when a normal person starts to express different opinions on a subject such as, say, immigration, is that their views have changed. But this is not a conventional situation. In case anyone has not noticed, Donald Trump is running for the Republican nomination for President. It is therefore reasonable to assume that he might, in those circumstances, start to say things that appeal to the people he needs to vote for him, regardless of whether he believes those things and even more importantly regardless of whether they contradict things he’s said before. He can rely on our default assumption that he must have “changed his mind”.

    Is anyone going to be even a little bit surprised when, after he has secured the Republican nomination, that he “changes his mind” again to appeal to a wider constituency of voters, rather than just the Republicans he needed to get the nomination? Or will that be an “embarrassing U-turn” for which he is condemned?

    Equally, are you going to act surprised when, having secured the nomination, he stops attacking Cruz and Rubio and Fiorina and Bush and the rest and turns his attention to Sanders and Clinton?

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