What’s most worrisome is that other candidates who are more likely to actually succeed in 2016 will try to win over Trump’s or Sanders’ supporters by co-opting their Fortress America mentality. All of the GOP contenders except Jeb Bush have called for some type of impenetrable border with Mexico as a precondition for discussing any changes in immigration numbers. By and large, they have also signed on to mandatory use of E-Verify, a national database that would effectively turn work into a government-granted privilege while increasing the reach of the surveillance state.
Though she pushed for President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal with secretary of state, Hillary Clinton has flip-flopped and now is a critic of the deal. If Sanders continues to eat her lunch or even nibble around its edges through the end of the year, look for her to rethink her generally positive position on immigration too.
Trump’s and Sanders’ appeal isn’t hard to dope out.Twice as many of us—60 percent—think the country is headed in the wrong direction as think it’s going in the right direction. Trust in government has been skidding since the 1960s and the general loss of faith has accelerated since the 9/11 attacks. Trump and Sanders speak to our anxieties with a mix of shouty slogans, moral certitude, and magical policies on everything from health care to the minimum wage to ISIS.