Bernie Sanders isn't a ‘democratic socialist’ — he's an all-out Marxist
If recent polls are any indication, Sen. Bernie Sanders is surging in the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination. According to a CNN poll out this week, the Vermont independent has reached a statistical tie with Joe Biden for first place nationally. In New Hampshire, meanwhile, a WBUR survey shows the self-described democratic socialist with a 12-point lead. Polls vary, but Sanders is clearly winning over many Democratic primary voters.
The senator’s growing appeal ought to be disconcerting to us all, because Sanders is not the nice, Nordic-style “democratic socialist” he claims to be. At his core, Sanders is almost certainly an all-out Marxist.
His rise clearly troubles establishment Democrats who are uneasy with his far-left agenda. Among Sanders’s most notable detractors are mainstream Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The former president, for instance, is reported to be so “anxious” about Sanders’s standing that he’s contemplating publicly repudiating him (although some Obama allies deny this account).
Obama and Clinton may have unwittingly contributed to Sanders’s rise, but they are right to be concerned. The man has no business being anywhere near the Oval Office — not even on a guided tour. The fact that the socialist senator is considered a national leader is a disgraceful blemish on the Democratic Party, a party once comprised by men such as John F. Kennedy, who fought communists, while Sanders defended them.
At every stage in his adult life, Sanders has been an unabashed apologist for communism, an evil ideology with a body count of 100 million people dead in its wake. A cursory examination of this record should disqualify Sanders from public office:
- While people such as my grandfather were languishing as political prisoners in Cuba, Sanders said that he was so “excited” about the island’s communist revolution that watching JFK get tough on Fidel Castro made him want to “puke.”
- In 1980, as most prominent democratic socialists criticized Iran’s taking of American hostages, Sanders joined a Trotskyist revolutionary party that defended the Islamic regime’s actions.
- When the United States was containing communism in Central America, Sanders flew to Nicaragua to lend credibility to the Sandinistas.
- The 78-year-old presidential candidate even honeymooned in the Soviet Union and came back full of praise for it. Some may not grasp how bizarre this was during the Cold War, but, at the time, it was almost unheard of to do such a thing.
- Despite his lifelong fascination with communism, not once did Sanders have the decency to meet Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a renowned Soviet dissident who lived in Vermont.
Some have tried tricking voters into believing that Sanders is the American version of Nordic-style socialist democrats. This isn’t true.
The Nordics actually enjoy somewhat free-market economies. Conversely, Sanders’s platform, which openly calls for nationalizing major industries such as higher education, healthcare, and even the internet, falls well outside the mainstream of U.S. politics and more closely resembles the central planning committees in Cuba and Venezuela.
Rather than drawing philosophical distinctions without practical differences, Democrats need to accept the fact that Sanders is an unrepentant Marxist. They must confront the forces within their party that enabled his ascent, such as unchecked liberalism.
Conservatives, meanwhile, should follow President Trump’s lead and denounce Sanders and his ideology in striking moral terms. As for voters, well, throughout his life, Sanders has made it clear who he really is, so they should take him at his word.
Giancarlo Sopo (@GiancarloSopo) is a writer at TheBlaze and was a 2019 regional fellow at the National Review Institute. He is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog.