Front Page      The American Spring
  THIS WEEK IN NYC 
 
 
   MANHATTAN CHRONICLES
   February 2016 
   Op-Ed | Alexandra Ares
 
    

THE AMERICAN SPRING OF SANDERS AND TRUMP

   
The wind of spring finally blows over the USA. Freedom from special interests, freedom from what the establishment wants us to think, like, and vote for. Freedom from stiffening political correctness.
   I am what pundits would call an independent undecided voter. What an exciting election for the first time since I became a citizen over a decade ago! Many people in both the Democratic and Republican camps, I mean everyone but the establishment, have rallied around two brand new candidates, Sanders and Trump, who until not long ago weren’t even members of those parties, and who joined the fray in a last minute effort to save their country and party from special interests. This sends a clear message to the DNC and RNC and their entourage of simpatico media outfits and special interests: normal people want change. Exactly what change?
   
    Just read the zillions of people comments in all the online editions of newspapers.
   Many Republican leaning voters want the establishment to slow down on all the madness of policing women uteruses. Sure, being pro-life is a noble thing as a principle, but in the practical life of the 21st century the strong-willed-freedom-loving American women don’t want to return to back-alley abortions. The normal Republican leaning voters want a strong military but no more wars and regime change interventions. They could all use cheaper healthcare, cheaper drugs, cheaper college tuition, cheaper cable and Internet, more on par with what the rest of the world is paying and with what America used to offer its citizens before 1970s. They are tired of illegal immigration and the drug highway at the south border. They want less regulation for daily activities, less political correctness, less corruption and more jobs and efficiency. The normal Republicans still love their rich 1% and hope to join the club.
   This is why so many rallied around Donald Trump despite a media that slaughtered him since he’s announced his candidacy, working overtime to stick mud on him, calling him everything from clown to fascist. Yes, he has been covered non-stop since he’d announced his candidacy last summer, but always negatively and with the intention to stab one more stick in him and destroy him. All pundits used his name to skyrocket their clicks, magnifying grains of Trump sin into mountains of outrage and seas of guilt. When I ask friends to show me a speech in YouTube where Trump is racist, they usually come back empty handed, with a link to a major newspaper where a pundit wants us to think that Trump is racist, or with his statement that most of the people who are entering the south border illegally are rapists, gang members and drug dealers. As a legal immigrant I am tempted to agree that many if not mostly people with a police record will chose to avoid the proper immigration channels and sneak illegally into a country. Sure Trump is a flawed human being in his own bullish way, but he made up for it in various ways. His is against NAFTA and free trade, wants to protect social security and increase efficiency. Most notably he had the courage to tell Bush’s devout followers that the war in Iraq was wrong and based on lies, that W. didn’t keep America safe as long as the World Trade Center happened on his watch. (W. took a 30 day vacation at his Texas ranch while CIA terrorist warnings were blinking read. I recall that in the days before 9/11 the American Embassy in Romania had been closed after rumors of an attack; obviously the terrorists planted noise at the opposite part of the world from where they wanted to strike, a war tactic from the ancient times of Sun Tzu). Republicans who’ve been losing  the popular vote since 2004 (and even that vote had been spurred by a war based on lies) could use Trump as a chance to move out of the far ideological right a few inch toward a more pragmatic middle.   
   The great majority of Democratic leaning voters want pretty much everything the Republican voters want, only with a stronger push to income inequality, less military expenditure, and more social safety net. They want universal healthcare, not just healthcare an inch more affordable than today. They want the Government to negotiate the drug prices, and to curb the monopolies of many industries that are making everyone poor with their obscene price tags, which are many times over what the rest of the world pays. In brief, they want a better shake for the 99%. This implies scary loses of artificial wealth created by the 1% for themselves, which explains media’s and DNC’s aggressive effort to portray Bernie Sanders as a loon and to rally instead around a candidate who is eager to accept money from special interests via speeches, campaign donations, and donations to family foundations.  
   The country as a whole is moving to the productive sides of the left, which is, historically, a normal adjustment, happening every few decades. If we weren’t advancing toward progressive ideals, we’d still have Kings and Queens, no civil rights, no social safety nets, no free public K12, slavery and plantations. It is also moving away from the unproductive sides of the left, such as extreme politically correctness as an excuse to bury diversity of opinion under the flag of diversity of race.
   I was sworn in a citizen in 2004 and so far I’ve never voted in a presidential election. I admired Obama for his outstanding intellect and civility, but the Change he proposed did not address head on the big problems of the country. Too many lobbyists around him, who now have flocked to Hillary, prevented him from pushing his Change with an aggressive grass roots movement as suggested by Sanders. Like many other people who stopped voting, my strike has been a refusal of the no-real-choice of voting the lesser evil. If Trump and Sanders get the nomination this year, for the first time I’ll be presented with a real choice to vote for candidates with bold ideas, candidates who offer us more than a shining resume, ideology, a tortured plan with a few crumbs for the masses in exchange for even more power and money for the status quo.    And if Sanders and Trump don’t win the nominations, Trump could fund a Third Party and invite Sanders to join and run it with him. This might sound like heresy for their supporters, but if they read the New Yorker’s article Economic Populism at the Primaries, they may change their mind. Regardless, between these two wildcards, the American spring might have a happy outcome.     
 Alexandra Ares is a former Journalist for Romanian National Television, the  editor of Manhattan Chronicles, and a novelist of, most recently, Brand New Americans