With Bernie Sanders now clearly the frontrunner in the Democrats’ presidential primary, it’s worth noting some important differences between a potential Trump-Sanders match-up and the Trump-Hillary match-up of 2016. Most people think that the biggest difference between the two races is that Trump is a capitalist and Bernie is a socialist. While that’s certainly a distinct difference to take into account, it isn’t even the biggest difference between the two men.
Throughout the 2016 contest, pundit after pundit pontificated about the meaning of a match-up between two of the most “disliked” candidates in modern political history. By 2020, however, President Trump has won over many of his former antagonists. Appearing on Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo, Candace Owens talked about the difference in attitude among voters concerning 2016 Trump and President Trump.
Specifically, she said ”In the 2016 election, there was this palpable fear not just among African Americans but amongst all Americans on both sides because they didn’t know what to expect from President Trump. He wasn’t your typical career-type politician. Heading into this election cycle, people now know because we’ve had him for four years so telling us that we need to be fearful, telling us that, if Trump gets into office, he’s going to ruin black America, we’re all gonna be back on slave ships is quite literally the type of rhetoric they were using in 2016 doesn’t land the same.”
Later, Ms. Owens expanded on that opinion, saying “I think just living better. I mean, I ask a simple question to my family members and my close friends. I ask them ‘Are you living better today than you were living under the presidency of Barack Obama?’ and the answer across the board is yes.”
That isn’t a policy difference between 2016 and 2020. That’s a hearts-and-mind difference. In 2016, for many people, the choice was between the lesser of two perceived evils. That isn’t the difference this year. This time, the choice is one of whether people want to eliminate the economy that’s working for them vs. trusting a lunatic who wants to blow everything to smithereens.
According to reputable polling, most people are satisfied with their life right now. In this article, Marc Thiessen cited a Marist poll. Here’s what the poll said:
A Marist poll asked voters whether “the economy is working well for you personally.” Nearly two-thirds of Americans said yes. This includes large majorities in almost every demographic group.
Sixty-seven percent of college graduates and 64 percent of those without a college education say the economy is working for them. So do 68 percent of whites and 61 percent of nonwhite people.
So do Americans of every generation: 63 percent of Generation Z and millennials; 69 percent of Generation X; 63 percent of baby boomers; and 69 percent of Greatest Generation and Silent Generation voters.
So do supermajorities in every region in the country: 60 percent in the West, 65 percent in the Northeast, 67 percent in the Midwest, and 68 percent in the South.
It’s virtually impossible for a “tear-it-all-down” candidate to win when, generally speaking, people are satisfied. If we were in the midst of a difficult recession or if there was a major scandal, people might have a different attitude.
Further, while people polled didn’t like President Trump’s attitude, they didn’t reject his policies. The average independent or apolitical voter is not going to wrap his head around Bernie’s policies, either. These voters don’t approve of getting rid of fossil fuels or private health insurance. Those are high on Bernie’s priorities list. They aren’t on President Trump’s priorities list.