Power & politics: voters in both parties value authenticity

tsj column writers - power and politicsBy Zachary Toillion

Donald Trump has had a very good week in politics. After a series of highly visible conflicts with Sen. John McCain, Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Lindsey Graham, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Iowa’s largest paper The Des Moines Register, Trump has catapulted into the spot of top Republican contender.

As exemplified through these conflicts, Trump can’t be accused of being inauthentic and voters seem to respect that, even if they may disagree with him. It is his willingness to be honest and challenge powerful people and institutions that has a lot of people expressing support for his campaign.

On the Democratic side, the same reason applies to many who are drawn to Senator Bernie Sanders. Voters seem to crave a politician who will answer any question and tell how they really feel, something closely associated with both candidates.

This will make the debates on both sides interesting, as these two candidates have a very unique style that may play well on the debate stage. Both Trump and Sanders are very combative when talking about certain issues. For Trump, that issue is immigration. For Sanders, the issue is income inequality. Both candidates have largely built their credibility on these issues and candid when talking about how they see America. Trump routinely states, “The American Dream is dead,” while Sanders consistently hammers home a litany of areas where the United States is ranked lower than the rest of the industrialized world.

It is this “anti-politician” style of campaigning that has both men doing well in their primaries. Support for Sanders in the early states has skyrocketed, posing a true threat for Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire. Trump has taken a commanding lead over all of his 2016 cohorts, with the most recent average of the five most recent polls showing Trump a solid 8.2 percentage points over his nearest competitor.

For the time being, neither Trump nor Sanders are going anywhere.

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