Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders “are simply finding a mob, jumping in front of it, and telling people what they want to hear, “ writes the Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner.
If they were true “populist” wouldn’t they be siding with average people against powerful special interests? But as Mr. Tanner points out:
Even Trump’s protectionist trade policies are simply choosing winners and losers from among big corporations. And his rabid defense of ethanol mandates puts him clearly on the side of special interests. Archer Daniels Midland is hardly the common man.
Meanwhile, Sanders walks in lockstep with powerful special interests like the public-employee unions. Asked to choose, for example, between the children of average Americans and the teachers unions, Bernie unhesitatingly chooses the unions. Nor should we forget that the government that Sanders wants to empower is perhaps the biggest special interest of all.
And why is it that neither Donald Trump nor Bernie Sanders refers often to the Constitution or to constitutionalism? Because for both Trump and Sanders, their belief is in big government rather than in “the individual wisdom, initiative, and responsibility of common people,” Michael Tanner reminds us.
They reject the Founders’ vision of a government of limited, carefully enumerated powers. Instead, both candidates seek to mobilize political passions in search of enemies — the banks, “the establishment,” foreigners, or the “billionaire class” — in order to impose their vision of society on others. Their goal is not to leave us alone to run our own lives, but rather to run our lives for us.
The United States was founded as a republic and not a pure democracy. Our Founding Fathers understood that our rights are “not dependent on transient political majorities but are inherent in all men, bestowed by nature and nature’s God, as the Declaration puts it.”
“Neither Trump nor Sanders seems to understand this,” warns Mr. Tanner. Read more here.