“Don’t they know?” I scream when I see these Bernie stickers. “Don’t they realize who he really is?” Apparently not. But then, to them, and to most on what Sean Hannity might call the “radical left,” Bernie is not a person as much as an ideal: A sort of liberal Santa Claus who will come down our collective chimney to deliver free healthcare and free college, and, with the aid of his ineffable North Pole magic, break up the banks, slay the patriarchy, eliminate racism, end income inequality, and tax corporations into insolvency—all while raising the minimum wage for his workshop elves. How he plans to actually accomplish any of this he only hints at—Bernie rarely deigns to answer process questions and usually gets grouchy when pressed for details—but it all sounds so wonderful we want to believe, just as we every year insist that yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
His psychological appeal has some things in common with Trump's appeal. The blunt, rough-talking style affects the manner of straight talking and an aura of certainty, even if the content is bullshit. Further, he makes many promises that he can't remotely keep because of reality constraints. Those restraints are matters of both will and way.