Every day, in addition to its almost complete failure to cover what’s really important, the corporate media manages to churn out reams and reams of idiocy, irrelevancy, “if it bleeds it leads” sensationalism, fearmongering, and false equivalency, among many other failings. The national political “journalist” class is a prime exemplar, focused almost solely on process (who’s raised the most money) and horse-race (who’s up/down in the polls) coverage, with essentially zero substantive discussion of the main issues that matter – starting with climate change, by far the #1 issue facing humanity, and continuing on to other crucial issues – other than how a particular candidate’s stand on a particular issue might impact his/her chances of winning their party’s nomination. Then there’s the false equivalency (“both sides” blah blah blah) and the utter failure to call out the Republican Party for what it is – a radical, extreme, “insurgent outlier in American politics”.
The latest such idiocy is a real doozy: that somehow Sen. Bernie Sanders is “the left’s equivalent” of right-wing Republican 2016 Presidential candidate Donald Trump. For just a couple examples of this Big Lie idiocy, see The unexpected rise of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump (Republican pundit Kathleen Parker’s version of the False Equivalency Big Lie)and Bernie Sanders Is The Left’s Trump (Ana Marie Cox falsely claims “t’s a match-up borne of extremists’ fevered dreams: Trump vs. Sanders.”). I also saw this garbage on a right-wing Virginia political blog, which basically argued that both Trump and Sanders are the “extremes” in their respective parties.
Of course, this is all complete horse manure. Let me just quote from Fox News’ big Bernie Sanders lie: The right’s laughably lame effort to link Donald Trump and Sanders:
Bernie Sanders, whatever you think of him, is a serious person with real ideas. He’s been a public servant since 1981, when he was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont. He’s now the longest-serving independent in the history of Congress. And his bid for the presidency, while a long shot, is clearly earnest.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, is a clown – a pompous, spray-tanned clown. More important, he’s not actually running for president. His candidacy is a piece of performance art, a self-promoting circus…
…Only in the Republican Party do unserious candidates emerge as contenders. Only in the Republican Party are half-baked celebrities allowed to hijack the process to promote their private careers. Only among conservative Republicans are hucksters like Trump embraced. Democrats can’t point these truths out enough.
But that’s just a small part of the idiocy of this false equivalency between Sanders and Trump. Here are a few other reasons why there is simply no comparison whatsoever.
1. As a multi-billionaire, Trump has unlimited money, while Sanders has almost no money of his own.
2. Trump is either a racist/xenophobe himself, and/or appealing in crude, demagogic fashion to the many racists/xenophobes in his party’s “likely voter” base. Sanders is in no way/shape/form a racist or bigot, nor is any significant Democratic politician, nor are Sanders or any other significant (or even minor) Democratic politician pandering to racists and bigots. All of that went out the door when the “Dixiecrat” wing of the Democratic Party defected to the former “Party of Lincoln” after passage of the Voting Rights Act, Civil Rights Act, etc, in the early to mid 1960s.
3. Trump’s hateful, crazy ideas are (thank goodness) not anywhere near to the majority in America. In stark contrast, Sanders’ ideas are very much in the majority. For more on that, see America is ready for socialism! Massive majorities back Bernie Sanders on the issues – and disdain Donald Trump (“Trump channels the right’s angry Fox News id. But Sanders speaks to America’s soul – and our values”), which correctly argues that “Bernie Sanders is the exact opposite of Trump,” and also points to polling which indicates that Sanders’ specific policy views on a wide variety of issues — from clean energy to a stronger social safety net to universal health care to slashing the burden of student loan debt to ending gerrymandering to getting money out of politics to…the list goes on and on — are “all are extremely popular, with support across the political spectrum.” Is there any evidence that Trump’s heinous views are in the majority, or even close to the majority, on almost any topic?
4. One thing I do agree with is that neither the bigoted extremist clown Donald Trump nor the serious, substancive, progressive Bernie Sanders are outside the majority within their own party’s bases. In Trump’s case, the fact is that he’s in first or second place in state and national polls of Republican primary voters not because these people don’t know what Trump stands for, but because they DO know what Trump stands for and agree with him (they also like the blunt, crude, obnoxious, in-your-face way that Trump expresses his views). And what does the Democratic “base” like about Bernie Sanders? Simple: they agree with his views on the vast majority of issues (as do Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, and many others, I’d argue); they see him as authentic (which he certainly is), they seem him as not owned/operated by powerful, wealthy and/or corporate interests (also true).
5. Finally, just to summarize the utter lack of equivalency between bigoted, extremist clown Trump and serious, substantive progressive Sanders: a) Trump’s vile views are extreme while Sanders’ mainstream progressive views are standard for most advanced, industrialized nations in the world; and b) Trump’s vile views are in the minority of the American people (thank goodness), while Sanders’ mainstream progressive views are overwhelmingly in the majority of the American people.
Yes, I’m well aware that the corporate media’s not going to stop doing what they do, but I just wanted to get this off my chest. By the way, I’m undecided in the Democratic primary contest, other than that I have absolutely ruled out considering Jim Webb, barring a massive, immediate change on his part regarding climate change in particular. Other than that, I like and admire Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders, but my #1 goal is to make sure Democrats win the White House in 2016, so what I want to see is which of those candidates is most likely to accomplish that objective before I decide who to support. One thing’s for sure, and hopefully we all can agree on this: ANY of the Democratic candidates would be better than the climate-science-denying, government-hating, war-and-violence-loving, torture-condoning, LGBT-bashing, far-right-wing-pandering, etc. Republican field.