Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have 1 surprising thing in common

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How Sanders And Trump Are Leading A Political Revolution

Any casual student of American history can tell you that third-party presidential bids stand virtually no chance against the major two parties running the government.

Due to enormous advantages that the ruling two parties hold in media coverage, financing and the winner-take-all dynamics of the electoral college, a third-party presidential candidate has never come close to winning the White House, and there's little reason to think that will change any time in the foreseeable future.

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So if you hold views that don't fit into today's Democrat-Republican duopoly, but you want an actual shot at clinching the presidency, what do you do? Run as a Democrat or a Republican anyway.

That's the lesson of 2016, at least. This cycle, both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders -- both of whom possess values, experiences and styles that break dramatically from Republican and Democratic norms -- ran what were effectively third-party bids for the White House within the two-party system.

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Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have 1 surprising thing in common

Kid Rock

Kid Rock showed his support for the presidential hopeful in an interview with Rolling Stone, saying he's "digging Trump." He also added, "Let the motherf---ing business guy run it like a f---ing business. And his campaign has been entertaining as shit."

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Mike Tyson
 

The former heavyweight champion announced that he would endorse Trump while appearing on HuffPost Live back in October of 2015. "He should be president of the United States," Tyson said. 

As for what Trump has said about immigration, Tyson said the words were "crude" and someone could work with him on the delivery of his message.

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Stephen Baldwin


Baldwin, who was fired by Trump on two different seasons of "The Celebrity Apprentice," said during an interview with Don Lemon on an episode of "CNN Tonight" that Trump would make a "great" president "because he's not a politician, and he doesn't care what anybody thinks."  

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Gary Busey

The actor endorsed Trump back in 2011, even after being fired from season four of "The Celebrity Apprentice," and offered his praise for the presidential hopeful again recently. "He's a great guy. He's sharp. He's fast," he told Fox411. "He can change the country after the last eight years."  

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Dennis Rodman

The retired pro-basketball player tweeted: "@realDonaldTrump has been a great friend for many years. We don't need another politician, we need a businessman like Mr. Trump! Trump 2016." He was fired from season two of "The Celebrity Apprentice." 

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Lou Ferrigno

When asked by TMZ for his thoughts on Trump, the actor and former bodybuilder said, "I hope Donald goes all the way." He was also fired from a season of "The Celebrity Apprentice." 

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Hulk Hogan

TMZ asked Hogan which 2016 Republican presidential candidate he would want to face in the ring, but instead of answering the question, he said he'd want to be Trump's running mate. 

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Ted Nugent 

The musician wrote an article for WorldNetDaily in which he said, "[Trump] should be given the Medal of Freedom for speaking his mind in such a bold, honest, and straightforward manner."

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Tila Tequila 

The model and reality star posted a video on YouTube expressing her support for Trump.

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Wayne Newton

The Las Vegas entertainer announced his support on "Fox and Friends," “I love Donald, and he would make a great president,” he said. But he also voiced his support for other hopefuls, such as Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, and Ben Carson. 

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Willie Robertson

The businessman and star of A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” supported Trump at a rally in Oklahoma last year, where he was invited up on stage. He officially announced his endorsement in January. 

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Jesse Ventura 

Jesse Ventura

The former pro wrestler, former Minnesota governor, and actor was speaking with previous Trump staffer Roger Stone for "Off the Grid," when Ventura said, "I shocked my staff today. I came in and said, ‘You know what, as far as the Republicans are concerned, I hope Trump wins.'" Though he also added, "Now I’m not a Republican — I’m not a Democrat either — so ultimately, I’d like somebody else to win overall.”

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Charlie Sheen 

After initially calling Trump a "shame pile of idiocy" in a tweet, Sheen had a change of heart a month later and tweeted that he'd be Trump's "VP in a heartbeat!"

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Ivana Trump

The socialite held a luncheon in support of her ex-husband. 

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Mike Ditka

The retired NFL coach said of Trump, "I think that he has the fire in his belly to make America great again and probably do it the right way," in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times. 

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Terrell Owens 

The retired NFL wide receiver told TMZ Sports, "This may be what the country needs and Trump... He’s a guy who won’t put up with B.S. and has what it takes to change how government is run." He appeared on the most recent season of "The Celebrity Apprentice."   

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Azealia Banks

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Jesse James 

James, a TV personality and founder of West Coast Choppers, posted a lengthy Facebook message in January supporting his former "Celebrity Apprentice" boss. He said:

 "Ive met a lot of people in life and I have found it best to form opinions about them by actually meeting them in person. ... What I personally observed is a man that is perfect suited to run this country. ... One thing you know about me is Good or bad I will always tell it like it is. This guy is the Real Deal, and will Make America Great Again."

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Instead of transforming themselves in order to match the GOP and Democratic party lines, Trump and Sanders engineered campaigns that spoke to their own personalities and commitments. Trump has embraced his roots as a brash and fast-talking businessman with little interest in hewing to Republican principles, and Sanders never once apologized for calling himself a democratic socialist and attacked Wall Street with glee.

But instead of being laughed out of the race -- as most political analysts expected they would be last year -- they've had a transformative impact on it. Trump has caused a rupture in his party that amounts to nothing less than a full-fledged identity crisis for the GOP, and will likely win the nomination. Sanders has initiated what may be a sea change in Democratic politics that could be the end of the doctrine of technocratic and incremental change that's guided the party since Bill Clinton's presidency. Instead of biting at the heels of the two parties with third-party bids, they've helped remold them in their own image.

Trump's America

The standard line about Trump in the early stages of his campaign was that he was both too right-wing and not right-wing enough to gain any traction with the Republican electorate.

The problem with his reliably right-wing views was that they were too boorish. He did nothing to hide the xenophobia underlying his stances on immigration and national security. His sluggishness in disavowing the backing of white supremacists signaled a willingness to pander to the racial anxieties of his white supporters. His encouragement of actual violence against dissenters at his rallies was considered an example of him taking his working class machismo too far.

Trump failed countless litmus tests for becoming a Republican politician. Republicans liked him anyway.

On the other hand, Trump also seemed far too liberal to win the nomination. He's been inconsistent on abortion. He's secular and often profane. He even had some positions further to the left of the Democratic establishment -- he has a history of support for single-payer health care and recently said he would refrain from taking "sides" in IsraeIi-Palestinian peace negotiations. On trade, he's bucked free market fundamentalism entirely, promising protectionism and matching only the socialist in the race in his zeal to inject new regulations into that realm of economic policy.

Trump failed countless established litmus tests for becoming a national Republican politician. But here's the thing: The voters that make up the base of the Republican Party liked him anyway.

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders Have One Surprising Thing in Common

Source: Ross D. Franklin/AP

Trump's run for the White House has revealed that the Republican Party doesn't boast the kind of ideological consensus that it once did. The ideological contours of American conservatism have shifted away from a relatively straightforward formula of affection for the free market and social traditionalism.

Trump identified a gap in the market -- secular, nationalist, conservative voters who were more concerned with new solutions to wage stagnation than worshipping at the altar of free market capitalism. Republican elites have lost touch with their white working class base -- or in some cases have grown to openly spite them -- and Trump has been there to play to their anxieties and sweep them up. Even if the GOP finds a way to deny him the nomination, the party won't be the same after 2016.

Sanders' political revolution

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders Have One Surprising Thing in Common

Source: Andy Manis/AP

Sanders' self-described political revolution was also unexpected, although his anticipated shortcomings as a Democratic presidential candidate were a bit more simple: He was too far to the left to be considered viable by political analysts. How would a Brooklyn-born Jew who called himself a socialist, had never in his life been a member of the Democratic Party and spoke openly of class war stand a chance against Hillary Clinton, who early last year was the party's most dominant non-incumbent presidential candidate in modern political history?

But Sanders did emerge as a challenger, and an impressive one at that. He rose in the polls over the course of 2015, he just about split the Iowa caucuses with Clinton and won by a landslide in the New Hampshire primary. As the nominating contests went on, Sanders failed to play well with voters -- especially black voters -- in the South, but outside of that region he's won or narrowly lost most contests.

Sanders' popularity isn't in spite of his radically different vision of liberalism than Clinton, but because of it.

Sanders' success is important because it's become clear that his popularity isn't in spite of his radically different vision of liberalism than Clinton, but because of it. Huge swaths of the Democratic electorate, especially young people, have been eager to donate money to and vote for a candidate who has unambiguously positioned himself to the left of the Democratic Party throughout his career, on issues ranging from the Iraq War to Wall Street reform to fixing a broken health care system. Sanders was able to tap into a hunger for this level of progressivism in the electorate precisely because, like Trump, he decided to test assumptions by running his own show. Sanders didn't change himself to match the liberal zeitgeist --he just decided to take the plunge when the liberal zeitgeist came around to matching him.

RELATED: Celebrities who endorse Bernie Sanders

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Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have 1 surprising thing in common

Killer Mike of Run the Jewels 

The rapper has been very vocal within the hip-hop community about his endorsement of Sanders, and even introduced him at an Atlanta rally. 

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Danny DeVito 

In August 2015, the 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' actor took to Twitter, saying, "Bernie Sanders...you're our only hope Obi-Wan Kenobi". 

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Mark Ruffalo

Ruffalo used Twitter to share his political stance on January 17th of this year, saying, "@BernieSanders is preferred 2-1 by young people because they know his means what he says."

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Susan Sarandon 

In June of last year, Sarandon posted a video titled 'Flashback: Rep. Bernie Sanders Opposes Iraq War' along with the caption "We need a leader who is courageous and levelheaded in times of crisis:Bernie Sanders ‪#‎Bernie2016‬.

The liberal activist has since been seen campaigning for Sanders in Portland, Maine and introducing him on the campaign trail. 

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Belinda Carlisle

Back in August of last year, the lead singer of The Go-Go's tweeted, "yes, I switched teams...my candidate!" above an announcement that Bernie Sanders would be joining CNN's State of the Union. 

Ever since then she has been an avid supporter on social media. 

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Justin Long 

The 'Dodgeball' actor introduced Bernie Sanders at a campaign event in Des Moines shortly before the Iowa Caucus. 

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Sarah Silverman 

Sarah Silverman was among other celebs who headlined a fundraiser for the presidential candidate at Hollywood’s Laugh Factory on January 26th. 

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George Lopez 

After tweeting "WATCHA I Am #feelingthebern. Today I'm proud to officially endorse @BernieSanders for President" late last year, the actor has made headlining appearances at Sanders' fundraising events. 

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Spike Lee 

After citing his endorsement on a radio show recently, he elaborated on his commitment to Sanders, saying: “Bernie was at the March on Washington with Dr. King. He was arrested in Chicago for protesting segregation in public schools. He fought for wealth and education equality throughout his whole career. No flipping, no flopping. Enough talk. Time for action.”

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While center-left wonks in the media used to the Clintonian focus on targeted policy proposals often take issue with his sweeping promises, his inattention to policy details and his grassroots theory of change, it's clear that huge portions of the country are quite fond of it. His belief in being unapologetic about ideology and using grandstanding as a negotiation tactic more closely resembles modern Republican politicking than Democratic. For better or for worse, it seems to work quite well.

Regardless of the outcome of Sanders' bid for the White House, it's clear he's pushed both Clinton and the party as a whole to reconsider a host of positions and messaging on the nature of the economy. It remains to be seen if Sanders ends up creating a new generation of politicians -- Sanders Democrats -- who will be able to employ his strategy and brand of liberalism to the same effect.

Earlier in March, Sanders said that he made the decision to run as a Democrat rather than an independent because he knew that he'd receive better media coverage and fundraising opportunities. He made the right decision. Even if he loses the nomination, it's clear that as a Democrat he's already changed a party he's spent much of his career raging against.

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