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Sander's monumental mistake: failing to explain exactly what a democratic socialist government is

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Message Michael Payne

I like and respect Senator Bernie Sanders and agree with many of the policies and actions he is putting forth for voters' consideration in November. He seems to be doing better and better in the polls and I do believe he would be a very good president, but I haven't made up my mind as to which candidate I favor, not yet.

However, I also feel that he will little chance of beating Trump in the general election if he continues to allow himself to be labeled as a socialist by those who are determined to undermine his campaign. He calls himself a democratic socialist, which I think accurately describes what he stands for, but he doesn't seem to understand that many politicians, together with a great many Americans, take that to mean that he is a socialist in the true sense of the word.

What he should be making very clear to everyone is that a democratic socialist and a full-blown socialist are not the same, not by any stretch. They share the same name or term, socialist, but they are, without question, not the same.

What we need to do in this discussion and what Bernie should do, when he appears in town halls, on TV, radio, and other appearances, is to define what each of these two political terms means so this political propaganda is silenced.

Socialist economic system: "a system in which the government largely controls and administers everything that goes on in the country and in the economy. It's as if everyone pretty much works for the government. For example, in a capitalist economy, the main force of motivation is private profit, whereas, in the socialist economy, the encouraging factor is the social welfare of all of a nation's citizens."

Social democracy is a" political , social and economic philosophy that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a liberal democratic polity and a capitalist-oriented economy." The government does control and administer the function of certain entities in the country where that is necessary and is most effective, but it does not control everything by any means.

If Bernie continues to fail to do this and becomes the Democratic candidate in November, Trump and his minions will smear him relentlessly and take him down. He better wake up and soon, or he is going to a great disservice to himself, his party and this country.

Bernie must speak out on this matter and not continue to remain silent. Why don't his campaign advisers or his wife tell him that he must get ahead of the game, to put an end to this Republican determination to label him as a dreaded Socialist, someone who must never become president?

The US is the next thing to a social democracy. For example, take the US military. Check out this article about the US military being a form of democratic socialism. Most Americans would never think of it as that but that's exactly what it is since it is fully controlled and administered by the government. Its personnel are paid by the government and receive tax-free housing allowances, they can get subsidized food at military commissaries, nearly free health care, and generous tuition assistance.

There is the G.I. bill, subsidized education by which I and many millions of draftees used to get through college. And when military personnel fully retire they get a pension and all who have served receive almost entirely free health care from the VA medical system.

What are other notable examples of democratic socialism in America? Well, how about Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare that millions upon which millions of Americans depend? Then there are food stamps, fire departments, police departments, public libraries. Also, student loans and grants, and farm subsidies, There are corporate bailouts and welfare for low-income Americans. And on and on and on.

All of them fit the definition of democratic socialism.

What we hear from Republicans and misinformed Americans is that we should fear socialism/democratic socialism as if it is the same as communism. It's anything but that. Well, what about other countries that have this form of government, are they totally mismanaged, are they going bankrupt, and letting people receive benefits for nothing?

Here's an article that lists all the democratic socialist countries in the world. Included are Norway, Denmark, and the other Scandinavian nations, and Germany with one of the strongest manufacturing sectors in the world. There is France, Italy, Brazil, Portugal, Turkey, and the UK. They are all over this planet and, in most of them, there are corporations that work with governments to fuel their economies.

It's time that Sanders speaks out, explains what democratic socialism is and reminds Americans that it is a central part of this country, and that's why he espouses that political ideology. If he does, then the wind will be at his back but, if he fails and remains silent on this matter, then he will be portrayed as a Socialist threat by the Republican attack dogs and that's a losing proposition.

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