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Bernie Sanders seeks U.S. presidency again in 2020

The Radical Education of Bernie Sanders

Postby smix » Fri Apr 26, 2019 12:34 am

The Radical Education of Bernie Sanders
Time

URL: http://time.com/3896500/bernie-sanders- ... n-radical/
Category: Politics
Published: May 26, 2015

Description: Bernie Sanders won the first election he ever lost. It was the late 1950s, and Sanders was still a teenager, running to be class president at James Madison High School in Brooklyn, New York. His platform promised to raise scholarship money for kids in Korea orphaned during the recent war. “It was an unusual thing for a person so young to be involved in,” remembers Larry Sanders, Bernie’s older brother. When the votes were tallied, the future Senator from Vermont fell short and lost, but the outcome set a precedent he would love to repeat on the national stage. The winner adopted the Korean scholarship idea and made it happen. Half a century later, the populist and self-proclaimed socialist is now 73 years old, and he’s running for president of the United States with a solid shot at second place in the Democratic nomination fight. Win or lose, he will force the frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, to take a serious look at his progressive platform, which resonates with a big chunk of the party’s base. “Today, we stand here and say loudly and clearly, enough is enough!” said Sanders on Tuesday evening at his official campaign kickoff in Vermont. “This great nation and its government belong to all of the people, and not to a handful of billionaires.” “Here is my promise to you for this campaign,” Sanders continued. “Not only will I fight to protect the working families of this country, but we’re going to build a movement of millions of Americans who are prepared to stand up and fight back.” For Sanders, who maintains he is running to win, pushing Clinton to the left would be fitting capstone to a lifetime spent agitating from the sidelines of powerful American institutions. As a teenager, he read Karl Marx, and as a college student he organized sit-ins against segregation, worked for a union, protested police brutality and attended the 1963 March on Washington. Throughout that time, the central theme of his life has never wavered. “We were concerned obviously about economic injustice,” says Sanders of his college days. “And we were concerned with the question, ‘How do you make change?’” Sanders’ education in socialism began at home, in a three-and-a-half room apartment in Flatbush, Brooklyn. His father was a paint salesman from Poland and a high school dropout, and the family lived paycheck-to-paycheck. When Sanders’ father went with his wife to see the play The Death of a Salesman, his father so identified with the underemployed Willy Loman that he broke down in tears. “The lack of money caused stress in my family and fights between my mother and father,” Sanders explained to TIME in an interview this month. “That is a reality I have never forgotten: today, there are many millions of families who are living under the circumstances that we lived under.” Bernie’s older brother, Larry, was a student at Brooklyn College who would come home and discuss Marx and Freud with the high school kid. They talked about democracy in ancient Greece, and Larry took the young Bernie to local Democratic Party meetings. Bernie followed his older brother to Brooklyn College, but when his mother died unexpectedly young, he left Brooklyn and transferred to the University of Chicago.

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In Chicago, Sanders threw himself into activism—civil rights, economic justice, volunteering, organizing. “I received more of an education off campus than I did in the classroom,” Sanders says. By his 23rd birthday, Sanders had worked for a meatpackers union, marched for civil rights in Washington D.C., joined the university socialists and been arrested at a civil rights demonstration. He delivered jeremiads to young crowds. The police called him an outside agitator, Sanders said. He was a sloppy student, and the dean asked him to take a year off. He inspired his classmates. “He knows how to talk to people now,” said Robin Kaufman, a student who knew Sanders in 1960s Chicago, “and he knew how to do it then.” He was a radical before it was cool. He also met regularly with the Young Peoples Socialist League in the student center, where students talked about nuclear disarmament, former Socialist Party Presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs, the lessons of the Russian revolution, and how to implement socialism, though his vision did not match up with the already faltering Soviet experiment.

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He talks today about expanding government programs like social security and Medicare, and tuition-free college. “Should the government be running the restaurant across the street?” says Sanders today. “Obviously not!” The civil rights movement also became a home for him. He became leaders of an NAACP ally called the Congress of Racial Equality at a time when most civil rights activists were black. He was arrested while demonstrating for desegregated public schools in Chicago. (No big deal, says Sanders: “You can go outside and get arrested, too!” he jokes. “It’s not that hard if you put your mind to it.”) He once walked around Chicago putting up fliers protesting police brutality. After half an hour, he realized a police car was following him, taking down every paper he’d up, one by one. “Are these yours?” he remembers the officer telling him, holding up the stack of the fliers. In his second year at college, Sanders made national news. On a frigid Tuesday afternoon in January, 1962 the 20-year-old from Brooklyn stood on the steps of University of Chicago administration building and railed in the wind against the college’s housing segregation policy. “We feel it is an intolerable situation, when Negro and white students of the university cannot live together in university owned apartments,” the young bespectacled student told the few-dozen classmates gathered there. Then he led them into the building in protest, and camped the night outside the president’s office. It was Chicago’s first civil rights sit-in. Decades later, Sanders rarely raises his past activism in public. In fact, he generally hates talking about his own story. During a recent interview with TIME, the senator from Vermont sunk deep into a sofa in his office and resigned himself to doing just that. “Too much of media looks at politics as a soap opera,” Sanders said in a deep bass. “I have my views, Ted Cruz has his views, that’s fine: let’s lay them out and let the American people decide.” That aversion to storytelling is part of what makes Sanders a long shot for the Democratic nomination. He polls at around 15% in the early primary states compared with Hillary Clinton’s 60%. And his longtime aversion to the Democratic Party, which he only just formally joined, will be a headwind, as will explaining his identification with “socialism,” a virtual epithet in American politics. “Don’t underestimate me,” Sanders likes to tell reporters. People who know Bernie best say that beneath the grumpy prognostications about social inequality and climate change is a softy at heart. A few months after he arrived at the University of Chicago, Sanders went to a center in a rough Chicago neighborhood run by a Quaker service group, the American Friends Service Committee. He ventured out to local apartments, painting walls. Back at the house, the 19-year-old was fascinated by the 2-month-old daughter of the home’s caretakers. His friends say he brings that spirit to politics. “His feeling for people is something he had back then, and it’s something he still has,” says Jim Rader, a friend of Sanders’ who ran the Quaker house in Chicago. “He always had a sympathy for the underdog.” Sanders has lost six major elections since his race for high school class president. But persistence has brought him to his current post, and he’s seeking to be the oldest candidate ever to go to the White House. His goal, at the very least, is to foist his ideas in the Democratic primary. Now, as before, victory can be seen broadly: He can win the nomination himself, or embed his ideas with the person who does.
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Mayor and ‘Foreign Minister’: How Bernie Sanders Brought the Cold War to Burlington

Postby smix » Tue May 21, 2019 6:27 pm

Mayor and ‘Foreign Minister’: How Bernie Sanders Brought the Cold War to Burlington
The New York Times

URL: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/17/us/b ... mayor.html
Category: Politics
Published: May 17, 2019

Description: Referendums, rallies, a trip to Nicaragua — all were part of his effort to infuse left-wing activism into local politics.

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BURLINGTON, Vt. — For Daniel Ortega, the president of Nicaragua, the summer of 1985 was to be a moment of extraordinary triumph. In July, on the sixth anniversary of the Sandinista revolution, Mr. Ortega would address a crowd of hundreds of thousands with a message of defiance for his political nemesis, Ronald Reagan, and the Contra militias waging war on him with support from Washington. Amid the festivities, Mr. Ortega would also meet with the mayor of Burlington, Vt. Bernie Sanders, then 43, journeyed for 14 hours to reach Nicaragua — switching planes in Boston, Miami and San Salvador — and made a truncated tour of the violence-stricken country before the grand event in Managua. Aspects of the trip might have unsettled another visitor. A reporter who traveled with Mr. Sanders wrote of strict limits on the taking of photographs. At the anniversary celebration, a wire report described a chant rising up: “Here, there, everywhere, the Yankee will die.” If Mr. Sanders harbored unease about the Sandinistas, he did not dwell on it. “After many years of economic and political domination, Nicaragua is determined not to be a banana republic anymore, and it’s free to make its own decisions,” Mr. Sanders declared, according to a Nicaraguan newspaper, El Nuevo Diario, quoting him in Spanish. “Is this a crime?” Unusual though it was, Mr. Sanders’s trip did not shock his constituents. His Nicaraguan odyssey was part of a yearslong effort to infuse local politics with international issues, and to transform Burlington — a once-sleepy college town on the shores of Lake Champlain — into a haven for left-wing activism in the twilight of the Cold War. A New York Times review of Mr. Sanders’s mayoral papers — including hundreds of speeches, handwritten notes, letters, political pamphlets and domestic and foreign newspaper clippings from a period spanning nearly a decade — revealed that from his earliest days in office Mr. Sanders aimed to execute his own foreign policy, repudiating Mr. Reagan’s approach of aggressively backing anti-Communist governments and resistance forces, while going further than many Democrats in supporting socialist leaders. Mr. Sanders’s activities during his mayoralty bring into relief the fervently anti-imperialist worldview that continues to guide him. They also underscore his combative ideological persona, which has roiled national Democratic politics as thoroughly as it upended municipal government in Burlington. As mayor, Mr. Sanders denounced decades of American foreign policy that he portrayed as guided by corporate greed, and outlined a vision of international affairs defined by disgust at military spending and sympathy for Marxist-inspired movements in the developing world. Now, as he competes for the Democratic presidential nomination, Mr. Sanders’s profound skepticism of American power appears to set him apart from other major candidates who have pledged to restore the country’s traditionally assertive global role. Mr. Sanders’s signature foreign policy issue so far has been his opposition to American support for Saudi Arabia’s brutal war in Yemen, which has inflicted vast civilian suffering, and he has resisted endorsing regime change in Venezuela, where the Trump administration has been pressuring Nicolás Maduro, a leftist dictator, to leave power. Mr. Sanders’s deep-rooted foreign policy values have the potential to not only earn him support from voters who have grown tired of overseas wars, but also make him vulnerable to attack from rivals in both parties who are eager to depict him as too radical for the presidency. Mr. Sanders, a Vermont senator since 2007, initially declined an interview for this article. But after it was published Friday, he requested a phone interview, during which he described his opposition to the Vietnam War and criticized an American foreign policy in the 1980s that he said had revolved around overthrowing governments and “installing puppet regimes." “I plead guilty to, throughout my adult, life doing everything that I can to prevent war and destruction,” he said. He also said that “of course there was anti-American sentiment” in Nicaragua in the 1980s, but he did not remembering hearing anti-American chants at the 1985 rally. “This was a war being funded by the United States against the people of Nicaragua,” he said. “People were being killed in that war.” Since his early days as mayor, Mr. Sanders has worn his left-wing ideology proudly. Before visiting Nicaragua in 1985, he had already championed a city referendum repudiating American support for a military government in El Salvador, and had lobbied the board of aldermen to denounce the invasion of Grenada. He had written letters to statesmen in Europe and Asia imploring them to support disarmament, and to Mr. Reagan castigating him for battling left-wing movements in Latin America. Amid local debates over waterfront development and zoning ordinances, Mr. Sanders had forged a “sister city” relationship between Burlington and Puerto Cabezas, a remote town on the Nicaraguan coast. “My hope,” Mr. Sanders wrote to a Nicaraguan official in September of 1984, “is that in at least some small way, the City of Burlington can play a role in reversing President Reagan’s policies in Central America.”
'A Struggling Socialist Municipal Government’
For a time in the spring of 1981, Mr. Sanders sought to skirt national controversy. A Brooklyn-born activist once arrested in a civil rights protest, Mr. Sanders had mounted several quixotic election campaigns in Vermont before finally winning the mayoral race by a 10-vote margin with a message about close-to-home issues like property taxes. He initially seemed determined to govern in much the same way. But Mr. Sanders’s attitude changed abruptly by the fall of that year, after a coalition of Democrats and Republicans in city government joined forces to block the appointments and policies of a mayor they viewed as an interloper. Frustrated in Burlington, Mr. Sanders adopted a strategy more characteristic of presidents than mayors: He turned his attention abroad. It was a pivotal moment in national politics, as Mr. Reagan pursued a policy of relentless opposition to the Soviet Union and its ideological allies. In practice, that meant building up military spending at home and funneling American resources — money, munitions and military advisers — to an array of anti-Communist forces abroad. In some cases, that entailed backing regimes that carried out atrocities, like a military junta in El Salvador. In Washington, many Democrats resisted aspects of Mr. Reagan’s foreign policy agenda, but they mostly shied away from questioning his opposition to Communism on ideological terms, fearing the political implications of seeming soft on the Soviet Union. In Burlington, Mr. Sanders held no similar concerns. His first forays into global affairs were gentle ones. In the summer of 1981, he wrote to the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, reflecting with remorse on the atomic bombings there. In September, he invited the then-first lady of France, Danielle Mitterrand, to visit Burlington, introducing himself in a letter as the head of a “struggling socialist municipal government” and appealing to her as a “fellow socialist.” (Ms. Mitterrand politely declined.) And Mr. Sanders took a pleading tone in a letter that October to Mr. Reagan, and to government leaders in France, Britain, China and the Soviet Union, urging them to shift their spending “now being wasted on weaponry to the development of goods and services which fulfill human needs.” But soon, Mr. Sanders grew more confrontational, loudly aligning himself — and, he hoped, his city — against Mr. Reagan’s policies. In February of 1982, Mr. Sanders addressed hundreds of demonstrators at City Hall, calling for the United States to shun the dictatorship in El Salvador, and he backed a ballot initiative later that year stating Burlington’s opposition to American involvement in the country. A pamphlet for Mr. Sanders’s side in the plebiscite urged citizens: “Your Vote Can Help Stop Another Vietnam!” The referendum passed with three-quarters of the vote, which Mr. Sanders noted in a tart letter to Mr. Reagan. The mayor appeared to take personal satisfaction in antagonizing the White House, scrawling in a handwritten note to a supportive local activist: “You’ll be happy to note that we’ll be informing the President of Burlington’s vote.”
Overcoming Resistance in Burlington
Mr. Sanders’s advocacy on global matters met resistance at home. Chiding the mayor, The Burlington Free Press noted that Mr. Sanders’s critics saw his activities as “a diversionary tactic that is designed to shift public attention away from the unsolved local problems.” And each mayoral proclamation about far-off matters yielded a flurry of letters — to the paper and to Mr. Sanders’s office — that complained that the mayor had greatly exceeded his brief. Mr. Sanders had little patience for the criticism. He responded testily to a constituent who wrote to him in the summer of 1983 and expressed support for Mr. Sanders’s antipathy toward Chile’s authoritarian Pinochet regime, but nonetheless urged him instead to pressure “the Street Department to repair the bulging sidewalk in front of my rented apartment.” “Whatever my views on Chile may be,” Mr. Sanders shot back, “I believe I understand very well the duties of Mayor.” Jim Rader, a Sanders confidant who served for years as Burlington’s city clerk, said Mr. Sanders rejected the idea that local government should avoid addressing issues in the wider political environment. “He didn’t see Burlington or Vermont as independent of the world situation,” Mr. Rader said in an interview. Yet the complaints from city elders and his peers in government kept coming, leading to a clash early in 1985. By that time, Mr. Sanders was spending so much time on global affairs that the board of aldermen passed a gently worded resolution, saying that nonmunicipal business could only be discussed at special meetings. Its normal Monday meetings, the aldermen agreed, could not “give proper consideration to all such issues.” Mr. Sanders vetoed the resolution in a furious message, ridiculing the council and its attempt to segregate matters that he saw as interconnected. “Are the nightmares that children in Burlington have about the possibility of nuclear war a ‘local’ or ‘national’ issue, for example?” Mr. Sanders wrote. If city leaders were tired of Mr. Sanders’s approach, the voters of Burlington were not. After his paper-thin victory in 1981, Mr. Sanders won another term two years later by a comfortable margin. He never faced another close election in the city. Paul Lafayette, a former Democratic alderman who challenged Mr. Sanders for mayor in 1987, said Mr. Sanders had forged an unshakable left-wing coalition with his focus on global issues. “When I ran against him for mayor, I said, ‘Jeez, I’m running for president here,’” said Mr. Lafayette, alluding to the international inflection of Mr. Sanders’s campaign. “He was giving the same damn speech he gives today.”
Sister Cities, Sandinistas and Soviets
As he passed the midpoint of his tenure as mayor, Mr. Sanders hoped the same agenda that solidified his position in Burlington would vault him into higher office. He ran for governor in 1986, falling far short of victory, then ran for the House of Representatives two years later, losing again. His electoral pursuits coincided with even more ambitious diplomatic adventures, including trips to Nicaragua, the Soviet Union and Cuba. As a candidate for governor, Mr. Sanders’s campaign materials pledged that he would raise the minimum wage, lower utility rates and champion “the majority of Vermonters who oppose U.S. intervention in Central America.” Mr. Sanders had made support for the Sandinistas a personal crusade as mayor. In 1983, he wrote to Mr. Reagan calling on him to “stop the C.I.A. war against the people of Nicaragua,” and the next year formed the sister-city partnership with Puerto Cabezas. With Mr. Sanders’s blessing, Burlington officials helped organize a shipment of medical supplies and other aid to Nicaragua. His trip to Managua in 1985, when he met with Mr. Ortega, offered perhaps the most vivid proof of his stance. Mr. Reagan regarded Mr. Ortega as an intolerable threat — a Marxist revolutionary with ties to the Soviet Union and Cuba. Even as the Contras faced mounting allegations of brutal killings and other atrocities, Mr. Reagan backed the anti-Communist forces with a determination that ultimately plunged him into legal scandal after his administration defied congressional restrictions on funding them. Contra atrocities appalled the American left, but Mr. Ortega’s forces were also implicated in grave human rights abuses, including the killing and forced relocation of civilians. Mr. Ortega, who lost power in 1990 and returned to the presidency in 2007, has been accused in recent years of carrying out crimes against humanity. During Mr. Sanders’s visit to Nicaragua, he visited Puerto Cabezas and met with Mr. Ortega’s foreign minister — who was fasting to protest American policies — and harshly scolded American reporters who traveled with him for amplifying Mr. Reagan’s attacks rather than reporting “the truth” about Mr. Ortega. “You are worms,” Mr. Sanders seethed at George Crile, a prominent CBS journalist, according to The Free Press. Mr. Sanders also met in Nicaragua with opposition journalists, and after returning home, he said the Sandinistas had been wrong to force indigenous communities to abandon their homes. But his overall view of Mr. Ortega was unchanged; he wrote a letter to the Sandinista leader inviting him to Burlington, and lamented that the American news media had not “reflected fairly the goals and accomplishments of your administration.” Otto J. Reich, a former special envoy for Latin America who helped oversee Nicaragua policy for the Reagan administration, said that by the middle of the 1980s a politician like Mr. Sanders “should have known better” than to fawn over Mr. Ortega. Mr. Reich noted that prominent liberals, like John F. Kerry, then a senator from Massachusetts, had met with Mr. Ortega in Nicaragua but had not actually celebrated him. “He has, by virtue of these travels and associations, joined up with some of the most repressive regimes in the world,” Mr. Reich said of Mr. Sanders, alluding to his visit to Nicaragua and subsequent trips to the Soviet Union and Cuba. Richard E. Feinberg, a Brookings Institution fellow who specializes in Latin America, said Mr. Sanders’s admiration for the Sandinistas was “really quite mainstream” on the left in the 1980s, even if he cut a lonely figure in Nicaragua as an elected official. “In retrospect now,” Mr. Feinberg said, “one can see that there were a lot of flaws in the Sandinista policies.” Mr. Sanders, in the interview Friday, expressed concern about Mr. Ortega and the “anti-Democratic policies” of his government today. Mr. Sanders’s Central American advocacy drew mixed reactions in Vermont. One voter rolled his eyes in a letter to the editor when Mr. Sanders announced his 1986 gubernatorial campaign. “He’s not even running for governor,” the Burlington resident wrote. “He’s running for foreign minister.” But the same activities helped raise Mr. Sanders’s national profile. At a fund-raiser in Berkeley, Calif., for Mr. Sanders’s gubernatorial campaign, Peter Camejo, an activist who would later be Ralph Nader’s running mate in the 2004 presidential race, cited Mr. Sanders’s foreign travel as a key reason to support him, The San Francisco Bay Guardian reported. “Do you know what it would mean,” Mr. Camejo enthused, “for a governor to go to El Salvador, to go to South Africa?” Crushed in the race for governor, Mr. Sanders marshaled a similar base of support two years later, when he interlaced his 1988 campaign for the House with a series of high-profile gestures of outreach to the Soviet Union. He formalized a sister-city relationship that year between Burlington and Yaroslavl, a city on the Volga River, traveling there in the spring and hosting a Soviet delegation in Vermont just weeks before the election. Mr. Sanders again walked a line between fostering kinship with a foreign people and admiring aspects of a repressive system. Conversing with Yaroslavl’s mayor, Alexander Ryabkov, Mr. Sanders bemoaned the cost of the Cold War to both countries. He noted that the quality of health care and housing was “significantly better” in the United States, but also less accessible. “The cost of both services is much, much higher in the United States,” he said, in remarks captured on an audio recording. “In the Soviet Union, health care is free or virtually free.”

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On his trip to Yaroslavl, Mr. Sanders also traveled for the first time with a spouse beside him — the former Jane Driscoll, a city employee whom he married that May, and who evidently shared his ideological enthusiasms. Returning to Burlington, Ms. Sanders announced on city letterhead that Russian-language lessons would be offered in the city. For a salutation, she employed an arcane euphemism used among socialists and communists: “Dear Fellow Traveler.” In the interview Friday, Mr. Sanders called the Soviet Union an “authoritarian dictatorship” but said that stopping nuclear war was more important to him in the 1980s. “I was going to do everything that I could to prevent a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union,” he said. Mr. Sanders brandished his voyage as a candidate for the House, saying such ventures would “reduce the obscene federal military budget” and facilitate peace. Mr. Sanders lost that 1988 race, but he would soon run for Congress again and win. And in the final days of his mayoral term, he would set up his next candidacy with a 1989 trip to Cuba, coming away impressed by the Cubans’ “free health care, free education, free housing.” He acknowledged that Cuba held political prisoners and was not a “perfect society,” according to The Free Press, but added that the United States had problems like homelessness and illiteracy. Before he finished his term, Mr. Sanders had already stirred hopes that he would one day rise above Congress. In a 1988 letter to Mr. Sanders, Rick Whitaker, a graduate student who interviewed to be his campaign manager, alluded to Mr. Sanders’s support for Jesse Jackson’s presidential candidacy when he proposed an even loftier goal than Capitol Hill. “A socialist and a black on the presidential ticket?” Mr. Whitaker wrote. “Maybe so.”
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Sanders defends democratic socialism, calling for "21st Century Bill of Rights"

Postby smix » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:44 pm

Sanders defends democratic socialism, calling for "21st Century Bill of Rights"
CBS News

URL: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/bernie-san ... y-2019-06/
Category: Politics
Published: June 12, 2019

Description: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders offered a full-throated defense of democratic socialism in a speech in Washington on Wednesday, invoking the legacy of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to call for a "21st Century Bill of Rights." "Over 80 years ago Franklin Delano Roosevelt helped create a government that made transformative progress in protecting the needs of working families," Sanders told the crowd at George Washington University. "Today, in the second decade of the 21st century, we must take up the unfinished business of the New Deal and carry it to completion." Sanders said his vision of democratic socialism requires "the moral conviction to choose a different path, a higher path, a path of compassion, justice and love." "We must recognize that in the 21st century, in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, economic rights are human rights," he said. "That is what I mean by democratic socialism." Many of Sanders' proposals, including Medicare for all, free public college and a $15 minimum wage, fall under the umbrella of democratic socialism. Those policies were the centerpieces of Sanders' 2016 campaign — he gave a similar speech in November 2015 defending democratic socialism. Since his previous run for president, "socialism" has increased in popularity. A 2018 Gallup poll found that 37% of Americans viewed socialism favorably, an increase of two percentage points from 2016. Conversely, 47% of Democrats viewed capitalism positively, down from 56% in 2016. And while socialism was significantly less popular than capitalism and free enterprise, it was the only one of those three that increased in popularity nationally between 2016 and 2018. Adding more wind to Sanders' sails, earlier this week a Harris poll found that 55% of women between the ages of 18 and 54 would prefer to live in a socialist country over a capitalist country. But Mr. Trump has wielded the label as a weapon, often linking Democrats to socialism on Twitter and to the press. Sanders addressed that criticism directly in Wednesday's speech. "While President Trump and his fellow oligarchs attack us for our support of democratic socialism, they don't really oppose all forms of socialism," Sanders said. "They may hate democratic socialism because it benefits working people, but they absolutely love corporate socialism that enriches Trump and other billionaires." Sanders said the president "believes in corporate socialism for the rich and powerful. I believe in a democratic socialism that works for the working families of this country." The Vermont independent said his 21st Century Bill of Rights would establish that every American, regardless of income, has a right to a job with a living wage, health care, education, affordable housing, a clean environment and a secure retirement. While Sanders embraced the term on Wednesday in Washington, he has seldom directly referenced it on the campaign trail. He made no mention of democratic socialism in his campaign kickoff remarks in March, nor in his campaign announcement video. Last month, at a senior citizens town hall in Henderson, Nevada, a woman wished for Sanders to be more direct. "Please stress that socialism is not communism. That's very, very important that you stress that," she said.

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The senator replied, "Thank you. I will, as a matter of fact." Some of Sanders' challengers rivals for the nomination explicitly reject his embrace of the democratic socialist label. Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney told CBS News that Sanders is being "intellectually dishonest" pitching democratic socialism. "I'm a full-throated capitalist," Delaney said. "What the United States of America is, is a free market economy. Where capitalism is able to work its magic, which is to innovate and create jobs." Earlier this month, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was raucously booed at the California Democratic Party State Convention after saying, "Socialism is not the answer." Four days later, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, himself a candidate, defended Hickenlooper. "If John would have said that speech here [on Wall Street] he probably would have gotten a big cheer from these capitalists here," Bennet told the news Cheddar. "It's different from San Francisco." "There's a Twitter universe out there that has move extremely far left. I think that is different from the base of the party," Bennet said. Neither Hickenlooper, Bennet nor Delaney have surpassed 1% support in any national poll this year. While Sanders' defense of democratic socialism clearly distinguishes himself from moderates running — including front-runner Vice President Joe Biden — it also gives the senator a chance to stake his claim on progressive turf that will be threatened by candidates like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, which has recently enjoyed a bump in polling.
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