By Michael Williams | Student Columnist
There is too much money in politics.
Well, at least 84 percent of Americans believe so according to the New York Times.
These days when politicians are walking advertisements for companies, it is hard to find a candidate who is authentic. Yet there are two out there this election, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, and the people have responded favorably to them so far.
Bernie Sanders is a senator from Vermont. Sanders’ campaign picked up his first major traction through the internet, but has since been gaining ground outside it too. He preaches a message of success and well-being for the average American, and believes that the high level of corporate control of the United States is a problem.
Sanders seems down to earth and is willing to listen to the average American. He joined a union picket line in Iowa a few weeks ago, and at a rally in Seattle when protesters wanted to speak for Black Lives Matter, he allowed them to. This shows that he cares about what the American people want to say. A politician who actually listens makes a great leader.
It would be false to say that this personality is just for publicity, as he has been this way for years. An example of such is when he participated on the March on Washington with Martin Luther King Jr. or when he published a letter in the late 1970s decrying the prejudice and laws against homosexuals. Sanders is also trying to tackle the issue of the huge cost of college tuition, which no other candidate has even touched upon.
One of his greatest appeals is his push for greater wealth equality. Since America is experiencing the largest wealth gap since the 1920s according to the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, it is easy to see why Sanders’ message is resounding among American voters, especially young people who tend to be more liberal.
Once again, Sanders practices what he preaches and does not have any corporate backers for his campaign. With many Americans disillusioned with politicians who are in bed with lobbyists, he appears as a refreshing choice for president.
On the other hand, Donald Trump is a New York businessman who is chairman, CEO and president of The Trump Organization, a company primarily involved with real estate. When Trump announced that he would run as the Republican candidate for the 2016 presidential race, many people thought it would be a joke. Yet Trump is number one in the Republican polls according to CNN.
Why is this the case? Trump has several appeals that none of the other Republican candidates have. American opinion of politicians right now is not very favorable and he was quick to take note of that, frequently mentioning that he was not a politician but rather a businessman in the Republican debates.
Another important factor in Trump’s appeal is his lack of political correctness. According to a Rasmussen poll, 71 percent of Americans believe political correctness has gone too far, and it is clear from the Republican debates and other appearances that Trump will say what he believes and not what is politically correct. While Donald Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric has certainly pushed away some voters, it has also attracted many voters who believe illegal immigration is a very big problem that we have not been addressing.
Trump has many differences compared to Sanders, but both have one trait in common. The most popular thing about Trump is that he is running on what he believes rather than what any corporate backer wants him to say. Unlike every candidate beside Sanders, Donald Trump has enough money to run without having to be funded by any major corporations. Thus his platform is able to operate independently of any lobbyist pressures. This independence is his campaign’s greatest feature.
The American people are tired of politicians talking the talk but not walking the walk. They want a leader who is genuine and isn’t a corporate sellout, and that is what Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have to offer.