Every hero needs their foil. One person that would serve as the balance between the hero’s own strengths and their weaknesses. Most of the time, that role would be relegated to the sidekick or the “best friend”, yknow, the character that would always be number two in that circle. In other cases, that role would fall to the villain, especially to villains who in the end shifts to the hero’s side and become their rival.
There is a politics to this paradigm, and whether it be in situations where you save the world or win elections, politics continue to exist: the loser would never achieve the status of the victor, and they can either accept their defeats gracefully or begrudgingly.
In the anime world, there are many examples. Ash Ketchum had Gary Oak (though I cant understand why Ash, the main hero, is weak as fuck), Naruto has Sasuke, Yugi Moto has Seto Kaiba and Goku has Vegeta. The latter two examples have been the most frequently touted as “similar”, and it isn’t strange that people would come to that conclusion.
In the Yu-Gi-Oh! series, Yugi Moto and Seto Kaiba have been perpetual enemies (even if Yugi doesn’t seem to want to feud with Kaiba), dueling their precious cards and unify only to defeat larger rivals, whether they be Malik Ishtar or Pegasus J. Crawford.
Dragon Ball’s Goku and Vegeta are probably animation’s most powerful rivalry, with the two Saiyans constantly battling it out to outdo each other, unifying frequently when there is a larger threat looming.
The intensities of both rivalries are almost the same, but the factor that differentiates both cases is the attitude of the loser.
I cannot place Seto Kaiba on par with Vegeta, despite their similarities: both coming from families of power and wealth, and both are haunted by a person who they know they cannot surpass. There seems to be a difference in maturity despite the massive egos that they both hold. While Vegeta would begrudgingly take every defeat in stride as a result his regal and entitled personality, Kaiba would sulk his ass deep into himself in a way that he does not want to face it. When hope is lost on him, he does not acknowledge his loss and instead tries to create new situations and conditions in order for him to retake the top position every time.
The Battle City card tournament was an example of this as he cannot shake the fact that Yugi defeated him (or saved his life) during Pegasus’s Duelist Kingdom tournament. After Duelist Kingdom, Kaiba held the Battle City dueling tournament with the intention of solely making himself retake the status of no. 1 dueler. With the amount of money and influence at his disposal, it is possible for him to do this.
Of course, with the whole Malik Ishtar and the Egyptian God Cards thing present themselves as the greater threat to mankind at the climax of Battle City, Kaiba still sticks with his ego and makes even the battles a thing between him and Yugi. Yugi defeats him in his own semi-final, but Kaiba still can’t fucking shake that kind of loss on his own. He needed the emotional push from his little brother Mokuba to finally realize that he will probably never achieve what he desired as long as Yugi is around. Only after Yugi defeats Malik Ishtar that Kaiba accepts defeat, but not before stating “Yugi, our battle is not over”, as he flies away from Yugi and his friends to go build a theme park for orphaned kids just like himself with his massive wealth.
Kaiba chooses to give up dueling altogether for a situation where he is unrivalled and remains the best, albeit in a nobler way. Throughout the tournament saga (or even the Duelist Kingdom saga), Kaiba offers virtually no help to Yugi and the protagonists to defeat the greater threat. It was only after the feeling of “fuck I have to do this” does he give the Obelisk the Tormentor card to Yugi to help him defeat Malik Ishtar. There was no sincerity in his help. His pride mattered more than the greater good, but he left dueling for a world where his pride could be intact.
A crucial difference between Kaiba and Vegeta is the fact that one started out as already having a sense of maturity. Vegeta was the prince of a critically extinct group of beings known as Saiyans, who were wiped out in a vicious genocide by Frieza the warlord who basically wanted to free up the space that Planet Vegeta was occupying in order to profit more from his war activities. Without his planet, or a king, Vegeta status as prince did not matter anymore, therefore all that was left of him was his unimaginable strength. There’s no doubt that this kid went through so much, it even makes Kaiba’s (hateful) father’s death seem small.
Vegeta’s pride had been shattered many times after being defeated by Goku. who was once viewed by him as a “low class” Saiyan. After each loss, Vegeta begrudgingly accepted the circumstances but refused to throw away the idea that he is the strongest being out there. It took three supervillains to make him realize that he would never reach Goku’s level and that he will always become number two, while in Kaiba’s case, no amount of supervillains could dent him.
Vegeta finally acknowledged this fact when Super Kid Buu was about to be annihilated by Goku’s Earth-sized spirit bomb and lived with that truth during the peacetime that followed. There was no need for Vegeta to create situations that would prove his dominance above all else (he didn’t have the means to do it anyway). Vegeta never sulked that deeply, and even if he did, it made him realize his flaws and made him determined to become a better fighter. And also, every time that the Z Fighters needed his help, he would give it, even if it was mostly for his benefit.
When the new Dragon Ball Super came out earlier this year, we saw a Vegeta that was incredibly more mature (and in a way stronger than ever before), which contrasted with Goku’s attitude, which has become more cocky and reckless. Vegeta is now Goku’s best friend, sparring partner and eternal number two, and he’s okay with that.
The two characters both showcase how loss is dealt. You can either do it gracefully or you can do it with a heavy heart. Bernie Sanders, unfortunately, is currently looking a bit like Kaiba more than Vegeta.
The US Presidential Election in 2016 has so far been an ugly, ugly affair. There were no standout candidates to begin with, but Bernie the 74 year old Vermont senator quickly asserted his place to the top of public opinion and the young generation with his socialist-minded policies and his open disdain for American capitalism.
His rivals however, prefer to embrace the unchangeable capitalist mindset and use it to their own advantage, which makes sense since one has a history of succumbing to the greed of Wall Street and another is a businessman that exacerbates the capitalist mentality further. Bernie Sanders is probably America’s best hope in constituting any amount of change.
But as it shows, it seemed that the country was not ready for such a mind.
His rival in the Democratic party, Hillary Clinton, has badly beaten him in state primaries and opinion polls in a way that recalls Muhammad Ali ‘s fight with Sonny Liston. On the Republican side, Donald Trump, a Frieza-like figure, has reigned victorious as the party’s candidate for the presidential election.
Clinton and Sanders’ situation is similar to what Goku and Vegeta always face. Hillary Clinton’s situation places her in Goku’s position. There rises a threat way greater to mankind, and the way to stop this threat is to team up (whether they like it or not) to stop this threat. It could be that simple.
However, in this case, Goku and Vegeta are fighting with each other while Frieza continues to destroy planets.
After being badly beaten by Clinton in a majority of states, Sanders remains determined to win even if his chances of doing so are very slim. What’s worse is that he and his campaign team (and supporters) have not stopped slandering Clinton’s name and reputation since Sanders began to slip in the delegate race. Many of Sanders’ supporters do not want Clinton to win, and what’s worse is that even people from as far away as Indonesia are beginning to fall for that slander.
But I’ll note that Bernie Sanders is the best candidate in that election, no doubt. Ideology-wise, he offers radical changes that chip away the culture of American capitalism. Clinton does not, and she merely exists as a powerful figure in politics with a lesser evil (and more rational) stance than Donald Trump. She might not be able to bring a change as radical as Sanders, but for a majority of the American people, that seems to be okay.
After all, if they didn’t want her, they wouldn’t vote for her.
Trump is probably the candidate that will emerge out of this race unscathed. Even if he did lose, he will leave a lasting impression on American politics and many would even call to reform the system. Also, the people who want to vote for him are pretty fixed on what they want, and it’s unlikely that they’ll go for another choice. His power upon his supporters is THAT strong. Of course, no subordinate dares to go against Lord Frieza. Even as Frieza massacres entire Namekian villages for their Dragon Balls, his team will just stand there and watch, becoming desensitized about it all. If the man wins, it hails a scenario where Frieza has achieved immortality through the Dragon Balls and rules as the most powerful force in the universe. A lot of people will be collateral damage.
Both Clinton and Sanders are able to stop this threat by teaming up together, but as the primary season draws to a close, Sanders is still stubbornly trying to turn the solid mathematical odds into his favor and continues to discredit his ally, whom could be the only hope (ugh) in defeating the Trump monster.
Sanders is becoming more like Seto Kaiba rather than Vegeta.
He is in danger of turning the Democratic National Convention into a situation where victory must be achieved at all costs. He is relying heavily on the results of the convention as the last way his efforts would pay off.
What he should do is cease talking shit about his rival and actually help her out, for the good of their party and to defeat the larger threat. He has the means, supporters and the norms to do so. But it seems he is refusing. All he needs to do is lose gracefully.
Then, he would be able to implement his ideas in another way. The presidency is not the end.
But the old man is confident. He has several Blue Eyes White Dragon cards (and a Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon) in his deck and believes that he is undefeatable. But the truth is, his rival has done so much better with her Dark Magician deck.
What will happen if he doesn’t win? Will he sulk and just go off the political radar altogether? Will his supporters go with him and avoid Hillary Clinton at all costs?
Or will he offer his hand gracefully to the people that possess the one chance of taking down the greater evil?
Sanders is too good to end up as Kaiba. His ideas towards reforming Wall Street and social and financial equality are among the best ideas that have emerged in modern American political thought. The beauty of those ideas lay within their simplicity and them being in touch with humanity. His human strength is enormous.
The United States needs him. Goku needs Vegeta (while Yugi does not need Kaiba) to defeat the greater good. The world needed Vegeta. So much so that heaven would allow him to fight on Earth for a short while to help tackle the threat of Majin Buu.
The world doesn’t need a politician that acts like Seto Kaiba. There’s already too much of those people everywhere, and they don’t have the right to use the Obelisk the Tormentor god card.
Bernie is the foil and the balance to Hillary’s weaknesses. He must be Vice President.