It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of individualism, it was the age of collectivism. It was the epoch of personal achievement, it was the epoch of unearned entitlement. This describes the schism between two Sanders: "Colonel" Harland Sanders of KFC, and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Colonel Sanders the entrepreneur
At his core, the Colonel was an entrepreneur. Working since childhood, he developed a very strong work ethic. The Colonel was over 60 years old before, in 1952, he sold his first franchise of what would become "Kentucky Fried Chicken." He accomplished this by personally driving from restaurant to restaurant, cooking for the management. And if they liked his recipes, he negotiated franchise rights.
His hard work paid off, and in 1962, he sold most of his company interest for $2 million, (over $15,000,000 today). Perhaps owing to his infamous stubbornness, Colonel Sanders did not merely retire comfortably, he continued to act as spokesman and make surprise inspections to KFC franchises, never afraid to openly criticize any operation he felt was sub-standard.
Senator Bernie Sanders the politician
At his core, Senator Bernie Sanders is a career politician. The Senator is perhaps best known as a "democratic socialist" who claims to advocate for a "Nordic" style of governance. Never mind that Nordic countries have no national minimum wage, lower corporate taxes than the U.S., and strong free trade policies—all things the Senator opposes. Since 1971, the Senator has been in one public office or another. And although he held a few private jobs prior to his political career, it isn't clear the Senator knows anything about the simplest economic principles.
For example, the Senator has said “You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants, when children are hungry in this country.” Of course, anyone who knows anything about economics knows that the number of deodorant brands on the market has nothing to do with hungry children. It is a complete non sequitur.
Conversely, the Senator has also complained to the FCC that cable bills were "too high" as a result of not enough competition, apparently ignorant of the various government regulations that make competition extremely costly. So according to the Sanders, too many choices lead to hungry children, but too few choices lead to unaffordable services.
What is the ideal "Goldilocks" number of competitors? If the government shuts down, say, ten deodorant brands, how many children will be fed as a result? The Senator won't say. He won't because he can't. He can't because he has never managed a cable provider, or owned a deodorant factory, or created a restaurant empire. Yet, the Senator believes that he is uniquely qualified to regulate a market in which he neither participates nor understands. But the Senator does understand at least one thing very well, and that is one can always gather many zealous followers so long as one uses populist rhetoric.
Which Sanders do you choose?
On one hand, we have a late wealth creator, a trader, a negotiator, an entrepreneur. One who offered a product that the average person was free to purchase or not. On the other hand, we have a spender of other people's money, a trade restrictor. One who believes wealth creators are "greedy," and whose policies are mandatory.
Given the choice, which Sanders earns your vote of confidence? I vote for the guy in the white suit and black string tie.
Kevin Schooler is a visual effects artist, who has worked in over a dozen countries on feature films, broadcast, video games and live events.