The Bern and The Donald: almost one and the same

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are extremely similar candidates. This isn’t going to be very popular with either Trump or Sanders supporters, but both have made comments which are nearly identical in policy, if not rhetoric. Differences exist, but the points of convergence outpace them. Sanders wants most guns banned, while Trump claims to be pro-gun. Sanders is also pro-abortion, while Trump has become pro-life over the last 15 years. Trump also has a mixed tax plan, which includes a 20% tax on any business that outsources jobs, while Sanders wants higher taxes. But on several key issues, the two are almost the same.

Trump has made his opposition to Obamacare part of his selling point to voters. He recently told CNN he wanted to see private companies handle most health care. But then he suggested there be a system where people who can’t afford care should be helped. Trump promised to make a smart deal with hospitals across the country. Here’s also a direct quote from his Phoenix speech:

We’ve got to repeal it and replace it with something good. And we have to take care, you know I know this doesn’t sound very conservative, we’ve got to take care of everybody not just the people up here. We’ve got to take care of everybody…Okay? Get used to it conservatives, I love you conservatives. Get used to-let’s take care of everybody, please…The premiums are going through the roof, the deductibles, frankly, you have to get hit by a Komatsu tractor in order to use them, they’re so high. We can do it, you get rid of state lines…and we still take care of those people who can’t do it. We have to, we have to, we have to!

Who does this sound like? Bernie Sanders, of course, just with more bravado. Here’s what Sanders told Vox.

Despite the modest gains of the Affordable Care Act we have 35 million people who still have no health insurance, and, more importantly, millions more are underinsured with high copayments and high deductibles. I believe in Medicare for all people, and I think that is not an area where private insurance companies should be functioning, because once you have private insurance companies their goal is to make as much money as possible, not to provide quality care. In terms of health care, yeah, we should have a public health-care system guaranteeing health care to all people in a cost-effective way. I think a Medicare-for-all, full-single-payer approach is the way to do it.

There is a slight difference because Trump wants to involve private insurers, in most cases. But the promise to make smart deals with hospitals, that’s straight out of Sanders’ playbook, just slightly smaller. It’s possible Trump is actually for Obamacare, but just his version of it. So in this case, he’s not conservative at all.

Sanders and Trump are also supporters of the VA system, just not how it’s currently run. Sanders was the primary sponsor of the reform bill which passed the Senate last year. His news release on the bill praised it for how the VA will be able to hire more doctors.

It makes certain that we address the immediate crisis of veterans being forced onto long waiting lists for health care. It strengthens the VA so that it will be able to hire the doctors, nurses and medical personnel it needs so we can permanently put an end to the long waiting lists.

Trump told Dana Loesch on The Blaze how he was interested in VA reform.

Probably the most incompetently run agency in the United States…Run by and involved with McCain and all the political people…the greatest of all are the veterans and they’re treated so badly. And I see this powerful man come over to me and he’s got tears in his eyes, they’re treated so badly by the Veterans Administration…You fix it with good management…I’d fire everybody…I’d get the best managers…Put yourself in this position, when you’re not feeling great you can go see a doctor. But these people wait five or six weeks in a reception area, and then when they’re ready to see the doctor, the doctor says, “I’m sorry, I’m going on vacation for three weeks.”

Again, pretty similar to what Sanders wants. Instead of making it to where veterans can go see whatever doctor they want, the two want to keep the VA system going. Trump hasn’t discussed the finances of the VA system, but he’s been a champion of a government monopoly taking care of vets.

The two are also similar in their belief the Trans-Pacific Partnership will hurt American businesses. Trump tweeted his opposition to the bill in April, and later released a radio ad which called it cronyism.

And the Obama Trans-Pacific Partnership and fast track are a bad, bad deal for American businesses, for workers, for taxpayers. It’s a huge set of hand outs for a few insiders that don’t even care about our great, great America…It’s because you have lobbyists lobbying for this thing, and you have lobbyists representing areas of industry, you have lobbyists representing countries

Bernie Sanders’ opposition to TPP was for a variety of reasons, but he wrote in Huffington Post how it would give out hand-outs.

Large, multi-national corporations that have outsourced millions of good paying American jobs to China, Mexico, Vietnam, India and other low-wage countries think the TPP is a great idea. They understand that this legislation will allow them to accelerate efforts to hire cheap labor abroad. The TPP is also strongly supported by Wall Street and large pharmaceutical companies who believe their global profits will increase if this agreement is passed.

Their other arguments for why TPP shouldn’t exist are different. Sanders also claims the environment would be hurt and that TPP will undermine democracy. Trump focused on currency manipulation, and the fact the US should make individual agreements with individual countries (which is a good idea). But it’s telling they both use the same arguments. It could be a total coincidence. Remember, the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street both railed against the bailouts and government intervention into the finance industry. Their solutions were different because OWS wanted to see businesses pay higher taxes, while the Tea Party wanted the government out of business.

Then there’s immigration. Sanders told Vox how he wasn’t interested in immigration because it would hurt people in America.

It would make everybody in America poorer —you’re doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don’t think there’s any country in the world that believes in that. If you believe in a nation state or in a country called the United States or UK or Denmark or any other country, you have an obligation in my view to do everything we can to help poor people. What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy. Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour, that would be great for them. I don’t believe in that. I think we have to raise wages in this country, I think we have to do everything we can to create millions of jobs.

How does Trump feel? Ed already has a write up on it, but he favors mass deportation.

I want to move them out. I want to move them back in and let them be legal. But they have to be in here legally…Later, down the line, who knows what’s going to happen? It’s something I would think about, but right now, no, I’m not open to it… We have a lot of bad dudes, as I said. We have a lot of really bad people here. I want to get the bad ones out…And by the way, they’re never coming back.

Is there an honest difference between the two? Trump has occasionally said he wants to make legal immigration easier, without going into specifics. But he’s also said he wants a great wall on the border with Mexico, and Sanders voted in favor of a bill putting more fencing on the Mexican border. Sanders also supported the 2013 “Gang of Eight” bill, which thankfully didn’t pass. So in this sense their beliefs are almost the same, even if Sanders has more specifics vs. Trump’s.

This is why there are people on the Right who are very cautious on Trump’s candidacy. These are people who support candidates like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, and Rick Perry. So it’s not just the establishment that’s worried. When Trump presents positions which show he might as well be a doppelganger to Sanders, with a slight change of words here and there, it should make people pause. If people are interested in supporting Trump, that’s fine, but they need to get beyond his rhetoric and look at what he actually stands for. The same goes for any other candidate, whether they’re running for local, state, or federal office. But it is really interesting Trump supporters have rushed to forgive him for his past leftist stances, while many of them refused to offer Mitt Romney the same benefit of the doubt in 2012.

Update (Ed): Minor headline change from “in” to “and.”