Ian Tuttle describes the repulsive dynamic driving the largest percentage of voters in the current election.
[E]nvy sells. And make no mistake, that is what Sanders is selling. After all, socialism is inevitably a politics of envy: Wealth is by definition finite, so more in your pocket means less in mine â€” and if I have less than I want, it must be your fault. Because Sanders has no room in his cramped understanding of the world for the complex interplay of free economic actors, he must default to simplistic moral explanations â€” Greed!: of Wall Street bankers, pharmaceutical companies, and Americaâ€™s 536 billionaires â€” and simplistic solutions: to wit, frog-marching Goldman Sachs executives down Fifth Avenue and divvying up their stuff. Theyâ€™ll have less, so youâ€™ll have more. …
Unlike Sanders, Trump has no determinate position on any matter of public policy, but thatâ€™s of little importance. He is not pitching a movement; he is pitching himself. His promise is not any particular slate of policies; itâ€™s Donald Trump writ large. An America with Trump at the helm is one in which America â€œwins,â€ like Trump wins; makes good deals, like Trump makes good deals. In Donald Trumpâ€™s America, everybody gets to live a little like Donald Trump. This is at least partly why Trumpâ€™s supporters are so vicious toward his detractors: The latter threaten their chances to live bigger.
Itâ€™s envy, en masse, on both sides. Somebody else has it (cheaper tuition, cheaper health care, business-class tickets, a Mercedes, &c.), and I want it. Under Sanders, top-hatted Uncle Pennybags will do the perp walk; under Trump, weâ€™ll put the screws to Beijing and Uncle Pennybags himself will cut me in on the deal; but in either case, I get what shouldâ€™ve been mine all along. And all for the low, low price of a vote. Those who believe that politics is little more than personal psychodrama played out on a grand stage might be closer than usual to the truth this election cycle. Neither Trump nor Sanders, despite their claims, is ushering in a revolution. They are ushering in a politics more petty, vulgar, and low â€” more animated by votersâ€™ base inclinations â€” than any in recent memory. If New Hampshire is any indication, voters are not about anything so high-minded as constitutional government or national security or racial justice or even â€œhope and change.â€ Theyâ€™re about me getting mine, by hook or by crook. Free college, free health care, and winning. This election is the Gollum-cry of the masses: WE WANTS IT.