The Heir Apparent to Donald Trump Is…Somewhat Surprising

Written by Laurie Hess, Warwick Township . This piece was first published here, the blog, on February 2, 2021 with permission from the author. It has been submitted to Harrisburg Patriot-News/PennLive for consideration as a Letter to the Editor. 

Let’s just say this: Donald Trump will never hold public office again. His base was not enough to deliver the presidency to him in 2020, and his support is shrinking. All his opponents would have to do is show a video of the riot at the Capitol building on January 6. Independent voters who may have approved some of his policies would run, screaming, in the opposite direction.

This leaves a power vacuum in the Republican Party. Donald Trump’s populism appealed mostly to non-college-educated white men, a dwindling but still powerful demographic.

Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Josh Hawley, and others are currently attempting to fill that role. Still, none of them have the swagger, the charisma, the…bona fides to inherit the mantle of the anti-elitist kingpin.

The person best suited to assume the role of heir apparent is…Bernie Sanders.

It may sound crazy. On the face of it, the two men could not be more different in temperament, morality, demeanor, or their place on the political spectrum. 

But, one of the reasons Donald Trump got elected in 2016 is because of his outsider status. People wanted a president who was not a politician. Someone who would tell it like it is (even though Trump was a notorious prevaricator).

And there is this – Donald Trump purported to represent the best interests of the working class; Bernie Sanders really does. Bernie has long been an advocate for strong labor unions, a higher minimum wage, Medicare for All, and creating an economy that works for everyone, not just the few. All of these policies would benefit the working class far more than the Trump tax cut of 2017, which actually benefited the investment class. 

Oh, there are problems with this, I know. There is a sizable component of Donald Trump’s base that has either overt or subtle racist views. They would have to be convinced the people ahead of them on the economic scale are more of a threat to their wellbeing than the people below them. 

And, OK, I know Bernie Sanders is 79. The chances of him running for president in 2024 or 2028 are slim to none. But what about someone who was in Bernie’s camp? Someone who endorsed Bernie? Someone younger who espouses similar views?  What about someone with the populist swagger of Donald Trump without the bullying tendencies? 

What about a big, tattooed motorcycle-riding type of guy with limited government experience? 

John Fetterman for President, anyone?

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This website is maintained by the founding members of Lancaster SPEAKS Up. All writing and art contained on this blog post represent the thoughts and opinions of its author only.

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