The race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is really heating up and it seems that more and more people are “Feeling the Bern.” But even with Bernie’s growing popularity, Hillary is ahead in national polling by a fairly significant lead. Many Liberals still remain hesitant about voting for Bernie Sanders. But are they right to do so?
Let me start off by saying that I absolutely love Bernie. I love what he stands for. And I wholeheartedly agree with him on income inequality, single-payer, Citizens United, and a handful of other social policy ideas. He has ignited the Democratic Party and brought a spark to the political landscape that was sorely missing.
But as much as I admire and respect him, I think that Liberals are right in their reluctancy to give him their vote.
Now for those of you die-hard Bernie fans….and even if you really dislike Hillary….before you jump down my throat, hear me out…
While yes it’s true, many Democrats love Bernie Sanders, I believe they want to keep the White House more. And Bernie’s biggest problem is that he is running as a self-proclaimed Socialist.
It really doesn’t matter who the Republicans nominate to run against us, the country simply will never elect a Socialist. And it also doesn’t matter how much better Bernie polls against Trump than Hillary. The reason that doesn’t matter is because most of the country knows very little about Sanders. The GOP and the press have been attacking and vilifying Hillary for years, but they haven’t even begun to go after Bernie.
Now I realize that many Progressives do not fear Socialism. But the same cannot be said about the country as a whole.
Sanders was asked at the last Democratic Town Hall to explain what he means when he calls himself a “Socialist.” Bernie answered that he wants to change things here in America to be more like Scandinavia and Germany. He then gave a very vague explanation of that.
“Creating a government that works for all of us, not just a handful of people on the top — that’s my definition of democratic socialism.”
The problem is that most Americans immediately become alarmed when they think of being changed into socialized Europe. You know, the whole “American Exceptionalism” and all that.
But the bigger problem is that Americans are already uncomfortable with the whole idea of Socialism….and that’s before the Republicans have even gotten started on it. How do you think the Republicans are going to define Socialism to the American public? Will they be fair? Of course not. And the real kicker? They don’t have to be, because all they’ll have to do is pull out a dictionary.
The GOP will paint Sanders as the candidate who wants to take control and ownership of private industry and private property. They will say that Bernie wants the government to take over the production and distribution of goods. They will say that he wants to grow government bigger than it’s ever been in the history of our country.
They will define Bernie as the candidate who’s all about wealth redistribution, massive tax increases, and government overreach. And then they will liken Socialism to Communism.
And whether or not all of the GOP’s assessments of Socialism are accurate or fair doesn’t really matter. The point is that in this country, their scare tactics will easily be effective.
Another place that Bernie is particularly vulnerable is on taxes. At that same Town Hall, Sanders said that he would seek massive tax increases in order to pay for Medicare for all. Moderator Chris Cuomo called it “one of the biggest tax hikes in history.” And again Sanders chose to make the analogy of his plan to that of the European nations of France and Britain.
He made no apologies about raising taxes. I know that Bernie believes that the end justifies the means, and frankly in this case so do I, but proudly telling the American people that you are about to majorly raise their taxes just isn’t going to play well overall. Bernie actually said, “it’s demagogic to say, oh, you’re paying more in taxes.”
But guess who just so happens to be a demagogue waiting in the wings ready to jump all over that? Any number of the GOP candidates come to mind.
So as much as I love Bernie, I just don’t see this country electing a Socialist.