Patrick Gower: How Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are the same

OPINION: Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump actually have a hell of a lot in common and I don’t just mean being angry white men in their 70s.

Watching Sanders in action, I cannot get over the similarities with when I first saw Trump at Super Tuesday four years ago. 

“Feeling the Bern” is a very similar sensation to watching the rise of “The Donald”.

Both are outsiders shaking their party’s cage - Trump shook the Republicans, now Sanders is doing the same to the Democrats.

Both get tens of thousands of crazed supporters along to their mega-rallies, performing to massive crowds every day.  

They are both divisive -  people love them or hate them. 

This just amps the show up even further, there is division and conflict - that’s entertainment folks.

And we all know Americans love entertainment.

When I first saw Trump’s fanatical supporters, I wondered if he could “crossover” and get more mainstream support. Look what happened.

And when I saw Sanders' base in Los Angeles yesterday (hipsters, progressives/socialists, students and Hispanics) I wondered exactly the same - can Bernie cross over and get mainstream support?

Both Sanders and Trump are competing for some of the same voters too - the disaffected working class. 

Trump got them last time. 

But Sanders is clearly after them now - he has a policy to double the minimum wage. 

I can even see some similarities with Trump’s call for a wall with Mexico. That was dismissed as a fantasy from the get-go but I remember Republicans saying while they didn’t reckon it would happen, they still liked that Trump was talking about it. 

You get that feeling with some of Sanders' policies - are they really ever going to happen? Free healthcare for every American? Really?

Or is this Bernie’s version of the border wall? A vision his supporters like.

Sure, Sanders and Trump could not be more different on policy. And as people they are obviously very different too - Trump is self-centred, Bernie seems caring. 

But when it comes to politics both Sanders and Trump are about “change” - it is just so powerful to see in person, I actually find it exhilarating. 

There is the same feeling of revolution in the air, the same surge of a building movement. 

Trump pulled it off - the Republicans could not stop him. The question is whether Sanders can get the unstoppable momentum to do a copycat job on the Democrats. Then they will be even more alike. 

The Sanders -Trump battle for the Presidency would be epic. Two similar leaders with two similar movements coming at each other from completely opposite sides - with everybody else in the middle as America decides.

Patrick Gower is Newshub's National Correspondent and is in the US for the Democratic primaries.