By: Michael B. Miley
Those of you who are familiar with this column, and its previous incarnation, are no doubt equally familiar with my predilection with controversy and radical ideas. I have been fortunate enough to have had this bully pulpit for the last two years or so, from which to propagate these radical ideas to the earnest, willing, and sometimes nubile minds– young and old alike– of Lyndon State College.
Lo, as the sole heir to a grand tradition beginning started by Sam Adams and continued boldly by H.L. Mencken, I present to you what is perhaps my most radical idea yet. It is far more radical than my proposal to annex the Mexico. (A particularly diplomatic night at the bar: “If they want to come to America so bad, let bring America to them!”). Far more controversial than my sincere than belief in building a big, hideous, 6-foot-thick wall around Vermont, and make the United States pay for it!
No, this idea is so radical that people on both sides of the (rather stunted) American political spectrum will look at me and laugh, or worse. I am used to this, and of course, I’m the one laughing now. So I would advise you to stifle your laughter, suspend your disbelief, and get on board with the revolution I’m peddling, which can be summed up in three words: Trump/Sanders 2016.
Yes, you read this correctly. The only way to disrupt the two-party system is for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders to run together as independents, or possibly on the Reform Party ticket. On the balance, Trump’s supporters are “locked-in” when it comes to voting for him in both the primary and general election, and very little could shake that support. The same goes for Sanders, but to a lesser extent. Both of them have, perhaps, the strongest popular support of any candidate this side of H. Ross Perot.
Besides, Trump and Sanders are more similar than you’d think. On foreign trade they are virtually indistinguishable; both are opposed to the World Trade Organization, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, as well as the North American Free Trade Agreement. Though Trump is undeniably stronger on immigration issues than Sanders, it is also undeniable that Sanders union supporters and backers will strongly pressure him to become less wishy-washy on the subject.
Additionally, Donald Trump is the only Republican candidate who supports universal health-care. “Everyone’s gonna be covered.” Another issue shared with Sanders.
The bottom line is that if either Trump or Sanders runs alone as an independent, they will lose, and the business-as-usual politics will continue unmolested. A standard trope of this election cycle is that the country is divided; indeed, by my count, there are currently about 5 different “Americas” circulating out there right now, with Trump and Sanders representing about three of these factions combined. If we are truly going to commit to healing and uniting this country, Trump and Sanders supporters must put aside petty ideological squabbles and join together to accomplish our shared goals.
I don’t know what contrived slogan Bernie Sanders has chosen to represent his campaign, but everyone, friend and foe alike, knows Trump’s: “Make America Great Again.” A great country would certainly be able to take care of the poor and the needy better than they are currently, but a great country would also be able to foster an economy where the poor and the needy can truly help themselves through good jobs and the free-market policies that create them.
Is this not the revolution both Trump and Sanders are promising?