Many objections were raised to my article "The Trump phenomenon shakes the U.S." published in Daily Sabah in February 2016. Actually, our "U.S. pundits" constituted the majority, saying that Trump was overrated; he would fail to convince the U.S. with his "reckless teenage" manners and had no chance against Hillary Clinton. Four months after the article, Trump was officially nominated by the Republicans, and nine months later he was elected president of the United States.
When I look at the way the U.S. election process is going, I see that the only candidate who is on the rise is Bernie Sanders. Indeed, Sanders was the only figure to challenge Clinton in 2016 in the nomination race within the Democratic Party. According to some, Bernie could not be elected because the party's entrenched structure intervened to get Clinton elected. When you look at the "superdelegate" system, it is not a very unfair claim at all. Although four years have passed, Sanders still stands today as the most unifying figure in the Democratic base.
Despite all the contrasts between them, Trump and Sanders have one thing in common. It would not be wrong to say that the crowds who prefer either one are fed up with the political status quo that dominates Washington. Just as Trump did not hail from within the Republicans, Sanders has never been a typical Democratic Party member either.
Sanders is a self-styled "democratic socialist" who took part in anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, voted against the First Gulf War and became one of the leaders of the opposition movement against the invasion of Iraq. So much so that we can now say that he is the founding father of the "democratic socialists," who are few in number but influential within the Democratic Party.
As far as I follow the U.S. mainstream media, after Obama's vice president, Joe Biden, announced his candidacy, Sanders was not given much of a chance. Apparently, however, while Sanders came first in the polls in Iowa, which was a vital test for the Democratic Party's candidate selection, Biden failed to even make it into the top three. That means an overwhelming loss for Biden, but the hope of victory for Sanders.
Another characteristic that distinguishes Sanders from the other presidential candidates to date is that he is Jewish. The inspiring thing is that Sanders is supported by the American-Muslim community as well as the Jews. Unlike other Democratic candidates, Sanders has the closest relations with the Muslim community as he goes to mosques to hold speeches, advocates for the Palestinian right to decent living conditions like Israelis and is slandered by right-wing Jews as a "self-loathing Jew." Also, his campaign manager is a Pakistani Muslim.
Frankly, it would not be surprising if Trump wins this year's U.S. presidential election again. However, if a single figure is going to come out of the Democratic Party to challenge him, it could just be Sanders.
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