Sanders vs. Trump

America’s seeing two authentic presidential candidates, but only one has integrity

One of the most intriguing aspects of the race for U.S. president, on both the Republican and Democratic sides, is the emergence of two strong anti-establishment candidates, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Both have tapped into a growing anxiety among Americans with electrifying calls for disruption of the status quo, and millions of voters have responded.

Sanders and Trump are, as the philosopher, writer and prominent socialist Cornel West has stated, “authentic human beings in stark contrast to their donor-driven opponents.” That’s much of the reason for their popularity, he says.

“Yet,” West adds, “only Bernie has authenticity and integrity, whereas Trump is for real but not for right…. He has authenticity, but he doesn’t have integrity.”

Nowhere is that more evident than in Trump’s call for the mass deportation of the approximately 11 million people living in this country illegally. When asked how he would find, arrest, adjudicate and then transport so many people out of the country, he has no response, other than to proclaim, “It’s called management.”

A few journalists have tried to make him come up with a plausible answer to the question, with no success. When Univision’s Jorge Ramos, perhaps the most famous Spanish-language journalist in the country, pushed Trump on the issue, the candidate booted him out of the press conference. Yes, Ramos stubbornly refused to cede the floor, but it was because he knew Trump would duck and dodge if he didn’t.

It’s not hard to fathom Trump’s appeal. Many Americans have lost confidence in their government and blame the nation’s problems on foreigners in the land. Trump plays to that frustration and fear, calling Latino workers in search of a better life “rapists” and criminals and implicitly blaming them for America’s ills.

He is, in a word, a demagogue, and dangerous for that reason.