Keelan: The Sanderses are just like the Trumps

By Don Keelan

Senator Bernie Sanders has made it quite clear he despises President Donald Trump and all that he stands for. Nevertheless, the senator and his family have emulated the Trumps in so many ways that it has to be disheartening to his legion of followers.

When the Sanderses undertake a project, it is critical that those who will be chosen to be involved must first be family members. A recent example: the Sanders Institute, headed up by Jane O’Meara Sanders, has a son as a paid employee. And ditto for the Sanderses’ other nonprofit, Our Revolution.

photo by Gage Skidmore (Wikimedia Commons))

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and his wife, Jane Sanders, speaking with supporters at the Agriculture Center at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Ms. Sanders also kept things in the family when she was president of Burlington College. She made sure that her daughter’s nonprofit venture, Vermont Woodworking School in Fairfax, Vermont, was the recipient of close to $500,000 in funding from the now defunct college.

And not unlike the Trumps, Ms. Sanders does not mention anything negative in the promotion of The Sanders Institute. She notes her involvement with the Mayor’s Youth Office, in Burlington. Very little is mentioned on what had transpired at Burlington College, where she was president for seven years.

Bernie must have read Trump’s “The Art of the Deal” before he entered into negotiations for his book advance with the executives at St. Martin’s Press. Who would ever have thought it would be possible for a U.S. senator from the small state of Vermont to obtain an advance of $795,000? You just have to be so proud of him.

Following in the footsteps of their fellow New Yorker, Donald Trump, the Sanderses are well on their way to amassing significant real estate holdings now that their lake house has been added to their collection. Granted, they have a long way to go to catch up with the Trumps; nevertheless, they have made a good start.

Getting back to Burlington College, a great deal of credit has to be given to Ms. Sanders and her negotiating skills. She was able to obtain a “sweetheart” deal when her services were no longer wanted by the college’s board of trustees. Ms. Sanders walked away with a $200,000-plus severance package. Even the FBI and FDIC now investigating the college’s finances must be puzzling over the payout.

However, the most remarkable replication of a Trump-type business venture was the creation of the company, location and players that ran the marketing for Bernie’s run for president. There is no doubt that this venture had all the ingredients of a Trump enterprise.

Who actually owns the enterprise to this day is still an unknown. Old Towne Media LLC was where close to $90 million dollars had been legally funneled by the Sanders to the presidential campaign. The company was located in a nondescript house located at 4507 Penwood Drive in Alexandria, Virginia.

In keeping with the Trump mantra of “all in the family,” the house is the home of Shelli Hutton-Hartig, who along with another close friend of the Sanderses, Barbara Abar Bougie, controlled the spending for the campaign’s marketing. In doing so they would have been able to keep in the LLC approximately 17 percent, which is a standard fee for any marketing and advertising firm to charge — in this case it would amount to $15.3 million. The Donald would have to be pleased with their entrepreneurial prowess.

I can only imagine how much more successful Bernie Sanders and associates might have been had they gone into business rather than public service. Their profound business skills have been evident, starting out 40 years ago in Burlington, Vermont, as an itinerant carpenter, and now a member of the country’s “one-percenters.”

Make no mistake: the Sanders saga is a Vermont success story, and in many ways surpasses Donald Trump’s achievements. Trump inherited his family’s real estate empire, whereas Sanders grew his through public service — and in doing so has kept it all in the family.

Don Keelan writes a bi-weekly column and lives in Arlington, Vermont.

Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

10 thoughts on “Keelan: The Sanderses are just like the Trumps

  1. I lived my entire working life in Vermont and had to listen to Bearnie’s rhetoric. He made a lot of noise in Washington but was unable to bring home much Washington revenue for Vermonters. He helped transform Vermont into the welfare state it is now. Bearnie was born in New York city and made his way to Vermont to attend Goddard collage, basically a Pot smoking Hippie farm giving out degrees for basket weaving. He made Vermont into the 5th worst place to try and retire in, one big reason why I live in Florida. I also strongly believe that witch Clinton paid Bearnie to get out of the race, I’m sure there is an offshore account somewhere!

  2. Imagine what America would look like after four or eight years of Bernie as president. Imagine hell on earth, that would be close to it.

  3. Great article, but wrong premise. Bernie isn’t at all like our President. He actually is what he accuses our President of being. He has no class nor morals.

  4. I’ve always beleived that Sanders was a fraud from day one. Saw him for the first and thank heavens the last at the Vermont Law School when he was running for the Senate. His opponent answered questions with candor and thought. All Bernie would say is “I’m for the little guy” and his hippy followers would go bananas. Also, why hasn’t his wife’s involvement in the Burlington College land purchase fiasco received more coverage? It’s just like Obama, the liberal, biased main street media always looks the other way. Great report, Don.

  5. Don,
    A remarkable litany of a “public servant” taking advantage of inside opportunities to enrich himself and his family at his constituents’ troughs, all the time perfecting his role as a demagogue. Actually in that respect, he may have taught “the Donald” a thing or two. Brooklyn has apparently become a breeding ground for the ethically challenged, a skill at which one of our recent governors was another role model.

    Aren’t we fortunate to have so many prominent politicians – or would-be politicians – demonstrating their expertise at screwing the electorate? I have no doubt that impressionable young people are
    learning from their examples and will follow their steps in running for public office. These amazingly popular officials are challenging the scions of Wall Street in reviving the scenarios for becoming wealthy at the expense of the gullible masses. It calls into question the now popular rush for expanding the need for pre-K schools. If we are patient and just bide our time for, say, three or four years, all these youngsters can learn the tricks of this get-rich-quick trade by merely consulting their I-phones or -padsand dialing up the names of some of our prominent governmental officials. It sure could save a lot of education-related tax dollars.

    Aren’t we living in a grand world?

  6. I’M TRYING TO REMEMBER…….Who was the last Jewish carpenter that “figured” on the world stage….

    Dennis Morrisseau
    US Army Officer [Vietnam era] ANTI-WAR
    Lieutenant Morrisseau’s Rebellion
    Second Vermont Republic
    POB 177, W. Pawlet, VT USA 05775
    802 645 9727

  7. Bernie ” Carpetbagger” Sanders , all he has done to get his fame and fortune is ride on the backs
    of tax payers with his foolish rhetoric . Mrs. Sanders , well she has made a name for herself be it
    by hook or by crook ……………. Follow the money !!

    The only thing Sanders as in common with Trump, is they are both New Yorkers ………….

  8. Don—Great column as usual. Wrote for the Manchester Journal
    just after the Civil War—or so it seems—but you’re doing a must
    better job of it. I’ve been tempted to send our president a new box
    of crayolas after some of his tweets. dt

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