If John Steinbeck were still around, the current goings on in politics might inspire him to write another book about unhappiness – this one non-fiction, which he might call, The Summer of Our Discontent.
It doesn’t take a political scientist to figure out that that’s what Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have tapped into – the electorate’s discontent with anything even vaguely connected to politics as usual.
Republicans pray that Bernie pulls off the impossible and wins the nomination. And Democrats are praying (to the extent that liberals pray) that Trump actually stays the course and finishes first in the GOP race. Who in his right mind, both sides figure, would vote for that guy?
This is how bad things have gotten in America. Nobody knows what Trump’s position is on anything and something like 25 percent of GOP voters think he’d make a great president.
We know what Bernie Sanders thinks about the issues — and what he thinks would sink the economy. And yet, he’s drawing crowds rivaled only by the NFL and the Rolling Stones.
It’s not just Bernie’s authenticity that has his fans excited, it’s also Hillary’s inauthenticity. You get the impression that if you asked her about the weather, she’d consult with a focus group before telling you that it’s raining.
And then there’s the daily drip, drip, drip of those pesky emails that has eroded the public’s confidence in her. A majority of voters don’t think she’s honest or trustworthy. Not a good thing for someone who wants to be president.
But if Democrats really want someone other than Hillary to run against the Republicans, they can’t really think Bernie is the guy. Despite his popularity with the far left of the party, he (probably) can’t beat Hillary. But what he can do is entice someone else, someone more mainstream, to get into the race.
Will Joe Biden jump in? How about John Kerry? Or Al Gore?
And before we go too far thinking Trump is such a big favorite of GOP voters, remember that something like 75 percent of them prefer somebody else.
But in a nation that craves something new in politics, in a nation that also craves amusement, a Trump-Sanders race would be fun. If Donald had a say in the matter, he’d put it on pay per view.
And as Trump put it on MSNBC the other day, talking about Bernie Sanders’ popularity: “He’s struck a nerve on the other side and I’ve struck, I think, an even bigger nerve on the Republican side, the conservative side. It’s amazing.”
Amazing! That’s a good word to describe what’s going on during this summer of our discontent. But it’s worth asking if it’s just a summer romance, this fascination with both a billionaire and a socialist who detests billionaires? Or is it something more? We’ll know soon enough. Summer is almost over.