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Campaigns or Cults? Sanders and Trump Supporters May Have Common Ground

Photo by Dan Dennis on Unsplash

New York Times Columnist Paul Krugman garnered a lot of social media attention for his recent article, “Sanders Over The Edge.”

The piece highlighted many flaws in the Bernie Sanders movement, and took several shots at the candidate directly, making for some very unhappy #FeelTheBern supporters.

The article also drew some reactions from notable political commentators like Robert Reich, who broke down the “errors,” so to speak, of Krugman’s column on his personal Facebook page.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t pick on a particular columnist, but I respect Krugman. Also, I respect his perch at The New York Times.

Posted by Robert Reich on Friday, April 8, 2016

Both Krugman and Reich bring up thought-provoking points. If anything, this discussion should give a reality check to the die-hard Bernie Bros as well as those who fear communism is upon us. No candidate can prove themselves to be perfect, especially in today’s information age. However, one of Krugman’s main points was that he is beginning to notice “intolerance and cultishness” from both the supporters and Sanders himself. Krugman also made the same claim back in 2008, while Barack Obama began to gain traction.

While this claim may seem a bit far-fetched, it should not be ruled out as a possibility. Take a look at Donald Trump for example; his devoted following (which Trump said would be undeterred even if the candidate were to “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and not “lose any voters”) and braggadocious attitude, along with his absurd sound bites and policy claims, are littered with impracticalities that can easily be considered “cultish.”

On the other end of the spectrum, there are Bernie Bros demanding and expecting free college and health care without settling for reasonable compromise. As a result, this provokes a culture of self-righteous entitlement. In today’s rising politically-correct society, this is a recipe for disaster and could also be viewed as following the script of a cult.

Regardless, both Trump and Sanders have clearly resonated with voters by striking a nerve on a number of issues that plague our country and are often neglected by status quo politicians. It will be interesting to see how both groups of supporters face reality in the coming months.

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