While the campaigns of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) might seem completely at odds, they actually have something in common, according to political commentator David Gergen.
During the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, the former presidential adviser said the two campaigns both represent the populist movement.
“I think he's riding a wave of anger that is very deep, frustration is very deep in the working class Americans," Gergen said of Trump. "His campaign, as well as that of Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side -- both populist movements, [with] many parallels between them."
The campaigns, he added, "really represent an indictment of the ruling elites in the United States in politics in particular, but also in business to a degree. And that is that for many, many people who are in the working class and who have not finished college ... they increasingly think the system is rigged."
"They think that the conservatives are rigging it in favor of the wealthy and that the liberals are rigging it in favor of the minorities and the poor, and who’s looking after them?" he said.
Many of Trump’s biggest supporters are blue-collar, white voters. Those who make up the real estate mogul's fan base resonate with his message of going against the political establishment and saying the things that others have generally been afraid to speak out loud.
Sanders, the self-described Democratic socialist, appeals to lower- and middle-class voters with his strong support for issues such as raising the minimum wage, reducing student debt and mandatory vacation and sick leave.
Gergen added that while some his peers in elite circles feel the country will be ruined if either candidate wins the election, he's more optimistic. "There’s a tendency in the country for a lot of the forces to work together to try to save things, to make it work," he said.
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