Lost in the tumult of covering the 2016 presidential campaign trail is a striking reality that’s largely gone unacknowledged: the brewing revolt at the grassroots by working- and middle-class Americans who feel left behind by the system.
This discontent and its insecurities are fueling the surges of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, who offer different responses to it, and whose candidacies haven’t faded despite predictions from party insiders and many pundits. It’s also underscored by the fact that the GOP’s two leading candidates—Trump and Ben Carson—have never held elective office, unlike the senators and governors trailing them.
Sanders and Trump, in very different ways, are highlighting the failure of status-quo politics to address concerns that hit home with non-wealthy Americans. But while Sanders is running a campaign based on a positive vision of government doing more for these Americans, Trump is striking a cord with people who feel other slices of society need to be put down so they can rise up.