A lot of people are wringing their hands about remarks made by Bernie Sanders about Castro and Noriega and Cuba and Nicaragua over 30 years ago.
Never mind that Bernie never said he supported any of these figures; or even said that they were good guys. In fact they called them out as dictators and said that their countries were not democracies.
I understand that maybe 30 years ago or even 20 or 10 years ago those kind of comments would be a big deal. But the reality is today they are not. Why? Because we live in a post-2008 society. The way the public in general view things are vastly different from 10 years ago. 9/11 — the events following it — and the great recession shook the trust people have in politicians and the system to its very core. That is why for example Trump is doing so well in the GOP primary; despite publicly blaming George W Bush for 9/11 and claiming he purposefully lied about Iraq; a position that would have ended anyones career just barely 10 years ago; much less a Republican.
The GOP has spent the last 8 years calling people Socialists like it was bad. They’ve spent the past 20 years calling people liberals like it was bad. People don’t care as much as they did about these terms as they did 10 or 20 years ago. They don’t care about Castro’s Cuba. They don’t perceive him is a threat. They care mildly about ISIS and muslims (more so on the GOP side) but they aren’t even as scary to the american public as they were post-911.
The reality is people care about one thing right now: the economy. This isn’t fucking rocket science. People are hurting. We had a collapse 8 years ago and most americans feel worse off since it. They don’t feel like things have improved and they feel the bankers took something from us that we can not replace and they want to see someone punished for it.
When Obama met with the Bankers in 2009 and told them he was the only thing that stood between them and the pitchforks he did not realize how right he was. In his desires for bipartizanship and being reasonable he gave them a deal that people who lost their houses and jobs were uncomfortable with. Whether that was fair or not can be debated but the fact is people today are not forgiving the powers that be for what they did. They feel they haven’t seen true recovery. They could give two fucks about the terms socialist; or facist; or nazis or commies. They want things to improve. They want someone to be punished.
With Trumps crowd this punishment the blame goes to oversea countries; and people different from them. It’s not logical. It’s gut instinct. It’s a old page from a old playbook. And it’s not a real solution. Because the reality is the good paying jobs never went overseas. Worse paying jobs went overseas. The good paying jobs went into the pockets of the 1%.
With Sanders supports we blame Wall Street and the political class; Republicans and Democrats: people we feel sold out their citizens for the sake of campaign contributions; for the sake of being popular; or to help out their buddies (or constituents as some put it) on Wall Street; or in the oil industry, or in big agriculture, or pharma, or even the car companies.
So Trump can hit Sanders on that tape; Hillary can too. But the people really aren’t paying attention. The voters who are independent who are voting Trump don’t care about foreign policy and interventionism. They care about jobs and the economy and the vested political interests. And they are the key to winning this.
And it is a election that will only be won with a strong economic argument.