Updated - The Top 5 Things that Bernie and Trump have in Common

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One more example: They promised to show their tax returns, but never did!

1. Movement

Bernie: Our movement understands that what we don't need is Trump's huge tax breaks for millionaires. July 21, 2016

Trump: “It's a movement not a campaign.” Trump campaign ad September 20, 2016

Politicians never start movements because movements are started by people, always. Can you think of an instance where a billionaire ever started a movement?

Campaigns operate within our political system. Movements operate outside the political system.

2. Establishment

Trump, "I think the establishment actually is against me...” January 25, 2016

Bernie: “I think the people of Iowa have sent a very profound message to the political establishment, to the economic establishment, and, by the way, to the media establishment.” February 1, 2016

Both Trump and Bernie dislike the “establishment.” They both ran for president as “outsiders.”

In fact Bernie went so far as to refer to Planned Parenthood a “part of the establishment.” January, 2016

3. Corrupt

Trump: "Our laws are so corrupt and so stupid," Trump April, 2018

Both Trump and Bernie have contempt for our political system. Trump clearly wants to undermine our laws and Bernie has no faith in the political “system.”

Bernie: “Democratic socialism means that we must reform a political system in America today which is not only grossly unfair but, in many respects, corrupt.” November, 2015

Trump: “Our movement is about replacing a failed and corrupt, and when say corrupt I'm talking about totally corrupt political establishment, with a new government controlled by you the American people.” October 2016

4. Rigged

Trump: “I'm afraid the election is going to be rigged.” August 2, 2016

Althought Bernie never claimed the election was rigged against him, large numbers of his supporters firmly believe the DNC was rigging the primary for Hillary. His supporters believed the political system was broken and that the primary was rigged to favor Hillary.

5. They rarely smile

Bernie and Trump scowl. When they do smile it's rare and visibly pained.

Trump and Bernie's comfort zone is the angry face, but anger is not a substitute for governance.

There's more similarities

Although Bernie and Trump consistently referred to working men and women or “working families” during their presidential runs, the image of “working” was certainly an image of the white male laborer.

Moreover, it was this particular demographic, the white working male, that their supporters adamantly referred to when discussing Hillary's loss: 'She lost the working people.' But that is disingenuous. What they really meant was that she couldn't persuade the 'working man' to support her. Certainly working women backed her (read the championing of the Lilly Ledbetter bill by Hillary and Ledbetter's subsequent endorsement of Hillary). Moreover, people who were concerned about the state of our economy voted for Hillary.

Her “loss” is identified by many as her inability to connect with 'workers.” This image conjures up populist feelings of pride in the 'strong man' who works hard despite the powers of elites that conspire against him. Hillary was cast as an 'elite' evidenced in the constant references to her as being status quo or corporate.

Both Bernie and Trump want their movements. Yet, interestingly neither has any background in the women's liberation movement which changed this country radically in the mid-20th century with one of its most notable achievements: the opening of doors for women into traditionally male jobs.

Shockingly, Bernie gave a speech in 2015 on socialism and the greatness of the New Deal without ever mentioning Francis Perkins, the woman who essentially created the New Deal.

Political Parties

Bernie was never a Democrat until he ran for president in 2016 and now he has returned to being an independent. Trump, between 1987 and 2011, started as a registered republican and then switched to independent and then switched again to a democrat and then back to being a republican.

The similarities between the two men who campaigned against the first woman to win a major party nomination is worth analyzing.

When we move beyond this time and enter a new decade, perhaps, we can see more clearly the trends that laid a foundation for the Trump Presidency. Patriarchy is bolstered by people whose comfort zone is a male framework for culture and government. In order to pave the way for a fuller democracy for the United States our biases must be uncovered and seen in a new light.

-Jennifer Hall Lee

Slut-Shaming Versus The Male Gaze

Am I a Slut-Shamer or just another feminist?


There are a few photos of a nude Melania Trump being passed around the web. I consider them to be feminist viruses that scream “click me.” They are invading our Facebook pages and our psyches.

These images are examples of the classic feminist concept called the Male Gaze, a term created by Laura Mulvaney in 1975. Mulvaney's  academic framework was brilliant and enabled us to finally analyze cinematic imagery with a feminist eye. 

What is the Male Gaze? It is the male point of view. We see the male gaze in pornography, comics, movies, and billboards. It is the lens through which we peer when seeing women and girls depicted for male consumption.

Good examples of the Male Gaze are the sexualized images of Marilyn Monroe. Ms. Monroe portrayed a woman as a mix of sexuality and girlish innocence in numerous movies. She was a pre-feminist cultural definition of the desirable female. She fought this description of herself because she wanted to have good roles with dramatic depth without success.

The women's liberation movement was too far into the future for her and she couldn't break through. Monroe stays forever embedded in the patriarchal milieu of pre-feminist movie-making. 

When I first saw the images of Melania Trump I couldn't help but to apply the Male Gaze and I critiqued them for what they are: images for men.

Then I posted them on Facebook and commented that our girls really didn't need to see these pictures of a First Lady.

And that's where the Slut Shaming cudgel came flying through the web to try and knock me out.

But, I was ready with my Wonder Woman power cuffs and deflected the assault.

Am I a Slut-Shamer or just another feminist?

The accusation of Slut-Shaming can be seen as a way to silence a woman for criticizing the patriarchal male gaze.

We are in an election where we have the chance to break the all male deadlock in the Oval Office. It is the first time we have a female nominee for president who has a good chance of being President. It is interesting these images have surfaced at this time.

The presence of these photographs challenge us at this historic point in time; Are we ready for a woman President or do we want to keep women as simply sexual beings?

The photo I posted, when I got my slut-spanking, had layers of meaning any progressive feminist would be excited to dissect and analyze. Let's give it a try.

Melania is nude and lying provocatively on a bed with tousled white sheets. She looks alluring and is staring straight at the camera – at us. We are looking down at her. Her body is vulnerable with spiky high heels that would hobble her if she tried to leave. Her jewelry consists of two heavily jeweled cuffs on both wrists and a jeweled choker around her neck. This bed is owned by someone. Her? I don't think so and here's why. She is on the bed, but she is handcuffed to a man's briefcase. Who has the key? The owner of the briefcase. The owner of the bed. The owner of her.

She is chained to him, capitalism, money, and patriarchy. If images could talk this would say, “If you have the money you can have me too."

I'm a feminist, sure I can criticize it.

Some say Trump is the bigger issue and these photos are minor compared to what he could do to our country if he becomes President. In a world where male presidents lord over us as the ultimate power image, with wives as appendages, yes he is the bigger issue.

However,  these images will trot alongside the images of an all male presidential ticket reinforcing an unequal relationship of power and gender. 

And as a feminist mother I have a job to do. I have to help my pre-teen navigate her way through this country and show her how to criticize the images of semi-nude women and yes, provocative images of girls, from television to the streets of my city. (Last night's stroll along Sunset Boulevard brought me to a towering image of a young woman in a tight bathing suit with butt cheeks exposed. )

Our daughters now stand at a moment in time where they can hold in their young minds images of a female President when deconstructing the images of the Male Gaze. 

A teen girl has to grow with a sense of her own power that is not sexual power.

But, thanks to the New York Post, if Trump wins, we have more images of the potential First Lady that will be very visible on the internet. The recent photos of Melania from the 1990s show her acting as a lesbian vixen and as a wet and waxed nude woman with no real pubic hair (an encouragement of pre-pubescent female sex). These clearly compound the problem ahead.

I didn't slut-shame Melania Trump. I criticized the image with a feminist point of view.

As a thinking person I have to allow myself to entertain the possibility that Melania could be First Lady.

A girl's discovery of these photos on the internet coupled with the fact that every single President in our history has been male is a tangled web of gender, power and sex that will have to be confronted if Trump wins.

And that's just pondering the result of girls (and boys) seeing these images here in the United States.

What will children in other countries think?

This isn't slut-shaming. This is a feminist issue. Keep talking.

 Photo of Melania Trump courtesy © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com

THE POPE OF VERMONT: BERNIE SANDERS

by Jennifer Hall Lee

The Pope Ascending

Is it moral for women to be excluded from the priesthood?

Bernie visited the Vatican, but he didn't scream for revolution. In fact, he just shook the Pope's hand. The Catholic Church is a bastion of male dominance and as long as Francis is the Pope, it's going to stay that way. This seems perfectly fine for Bernie. 

Why did Bernie go to the Vatican if not to talk about revolution and equality? It was probably for the media coverage, which is a lost opportunity for the angry revolutionary from Vermont. There is a lot to talk about in terms of revolution and the Church, namely a growing chorus for female priests. 

The ordination of women is one of the growing movements for women's equality, however it's still on the edges of our society, unlike the movement for equal pay. Why is it important to have female priests? The Church holds large amounts of power over people's ideas about women. The Pope and Bernie like to talk about income inequality, but cannot seem to see that women cannot be separated from the economy of the world. 

The Pope plays it safe and lightly criticizes capitalism, and many who consider themselves forward thinking intellectuals have vocally praised him for this, but when it comes to the status of women in the Church Francis is doing his part to keep them secondary. At the same time people who praise his words on income equality, stay silent when it comes to his words on women. The Pope and his supporters accept women's second class status in the Church. 

When confronted by activists for women's participation as priests the Pope said that the Church had already spoken on that topic (I didn't know the Church could talk.) and that the door to women priests was "closed." Take that you women's equality activists!

Bernie's meeting with the Pope was less than he expected, as he only got to shake his hand, but according to the New York Times he was "beaming." Sanders made the obligatory statement for the media and said he admired the Pope for his work "...demanding that morality be part of our economy." 

There is no morality in the Pope's refusal to allow women serve as priests equally with men. The Pope is a patriarch and Bernie, a patriarch himself, isn't much of a revolutionary. 

Image Courtesy of The U.S. State Department on Flickr