As if he were conducting electricity…

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a simile featuring US senator Bernie Sanders.

I’m no expert on American politics but I read the New Yorker weekly and the New York Times (online) daily. As a result, I pick up the occasional governmental tidbit. A recent one focused on Senator Bernie Sanders, pictured above, the longest-serving independent in Congressional history. Sanders runs for office as an independent but caucuses with the Democratic Party and is counted as a Democrat for purposes of committee assignments.

In a New Yorker story headlined “The Inevitability Trap: Hillary Clinton and the drawback of being the front-runner,” writer Ryan Lizza offered some sophisticated political analysis. But he also gave readers a terrific simile. Here it is:

Long wisps of Sanders’s white hair levitated above his head, as if he were conducting electricity. 

I thought of Albert Einstein as soon as I read that image. And I recalled the years my kids enjoyed playing with the Van de Graaff generator at our local Science World. Having never before seen a photo of Bernie Sanders, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But it took me less than five seconds to locate the image I’ve used to illustrate this column.

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