Thursday, February 13, 2020

Bernie Sanders isn't a socialist

The thing is, Bernie Sanders isn’t actually a socialist in any normal sense of the term. He doesn’t want to nationalize our major industries and replace markets with central planning; he has expressed admiration, not for Venezuela, but for Denmark. He’s basically what Europeans would call a social democrat — and social democracies like Denmark are, in fact, quite nice places to live, with societies that are, if anything, freer than our own.

So why does Sanders call himself a socialist? I’d say that it’s mainly about personal branding, with a dash of glee at shocking the bourgeoisie. And this self-indulgence did no harm as long as he was just a senator from a very liberal state.

But if Sanders becomes the Democratic presidential nominee, his misleading self-description will be a gift to the Trump campaign. So will his policy proposals. Single-payer health care is (a) a good idea in principle and (b) very unlikely to happen in practice, but by making Medicare for All the centerpiece of his campaign, Sanders would take the focus off the Trump administration’s determination to take away the social safety net we already have.


  1. If only he dropped those pesky moral principles on health care and stopped self- identifying as a loser (like Chavez and Corbin)

    He could be a winner just like Trump!

    What is the measure of successes these days in America? It seems somewhat mixed up.

  2. Very mixed up, Jeb. One success would be getting more people out to vote in November.