In most people's minds the difference between Trump and Sanders is the difference between "fascism" and "Democratic Socialism." That view is correct, but it does not go deep enough. More needs to be said about where fascism and socialism tend in their understanding of the human personality and the social world.
Trump says that people are xenophobic, prideful beings, who don't give a rat's ass for strangers and others in need. Trump says that people are blindly emotional, small-minded, mean and provincial. Trump thinks that his supporters don't need anything more than a few mindless slogans to keep them in tow. In a way, he views people as dogs. Just throw them a bone, a biscuit and some red meat from time to time, and they will be more than content. Trump's social world is nothing more than war, empire and statism--the totalitarian nightmare we are already living in, but just more of it, without end.
Sanders says that people are rational and generous, that they are capable of rising to heights of moral humanity. Sanders says that people can be made to understand complex issues, when the issues are fairly presented. He thinks that people have it in them to be the virtuous citizens of the theory of Democratic Republicanism. Sanders well understands that corporatism has divided and disenchanted the American people. It has robbed them of their dreams and left them bitter. Sanders views people in a compassionate light and encourages others to follow his example. To be sure, Sanders has his blind spots on Israel and certain aspects of the American Empire. But he is immeasurably more attractive than Trump. Trump offers hate and stupidity. Sanders offers hope and understanding.
Which one will the corporate media favor as being no threat at all to corporate rule? Which one will the media look upon as a danger, precisely because he speaks Truth?
Trump is favored because his fascism (while dangerous) poses no real problems to the social and economic order of the American leviathan. Sanders must be marginalized, as it is impossible to refute his best arguments. The fact that Sanders trumps Trump in a head-to-head election says a great deal about the true nature of the American electorate. There is no doubt that a good sized sector of the electorate is a hive of barbarians (perhaps 25-30%). These people are truly scary. They are fanatically racist, dangerously ignorant, emotional, religious, patriotic, psychotic in their weird moral values, where it's ok to slaughter children, just so long as they are Iraqi or Afghan. I would warrant that the progressive-liberal-left sector of the electorate is anywhere from 30-40%, with the remainder being "independent," but still leaning leftwards on most major issues. It's a Great Corporate Lie that the majority of Americans are right wing "conservatives." No Republican has won with anything like a popular majority in recent times: tens of millions of Americans (most of them left leaning) don't even bother to vote and Republican gerrymandering of districts has created the illusion that the "party of Lincoln and Reagan" (LOL) is the modern party of "the people."
The Supreme Court had to hand over Florida to George W. Bush to make him the President. And Bush was reelected by massive cheating and voter disenfranchisement, especially in Ohio.
The corporate media are now ready to call Trump a "fascist," but they are more than happy to see him absorb significant social energy. If that energy were to flow towards Bernie Sanders, now that would be a real problem that would require addressing.! The media keep on telling us that socialism is "un-American." It's interesting to note that a good number of Americans reject this total bullshit...