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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 8/31/15

Sanders the Squishy Socialist Should Ax Bogus Label

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Bernie's Agenda: 'Democratic-Capitalism,' Not Ominous 'Socialism'

Bernie Sanders, by any classic measure, is a lousy socialist who should jettison this inflammatory, injurious misnomer. Does embracing "socialism" -- an open-ended, domestic land mine -- not distract from his admirable career, his national standing or three-month campaign explosion? If winning the nomination is the goal, then why allow every scornful interviewer, partisan Republican, or Hillary defender to wave that derogatory flag?

Does Sanders talk up nationalizing major industries? Top-down, centralized economic control? Widespread price controls, suspicion of private property, or divinely-ordained Five Year Plans? That's what vast numbers, and not a few political scientists, consider "socialism." For this pragmatist, it's high time Sanders removes a self-induced obstacle between him and his looming epic upset.

Even running for Burlington mayor, he wasn't about municipal-owned "socialized" utilities, though he achieved "community trust housing" and fought both city cable price hikes and destructive lakefront development. Where's the splashy socialism? Oddly, Sanders would gain more traction invoking his first allegiance, the high-sounding Liberty Union Party.

Let's face it: anything that reeks of "socialism" communes on our exceptional shores with communism, inviting knee-jerk tar and feathering by jerks -- without apparent upsides for his movement. How many socialists -- Scandinavian or otherwise--will decide our dozen key battleground states? What overt "socialist" candidate has wowed Democratic voters since noble figures, Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas, were news many decades ago? Nationally, in '12, less than 5000 voted "socialist."

The Rare Elected 'Socialists'

Frankly, rightwing extremism sells better in polling: look how well the Trumpster does by singing proto-fascistic stanzas. Would his Trumpery not wither were his immigration wall folly depicted as a kind of socialistic-monopoly boondoggle, forever marrying private industries and topdown federalism to serve Tea Party fantasies? Is not the entire Trump immigration value package a bizarre way to empower the state to "socialize" America by keeping it white as long as possible? Makes the federalized "socialism" of public schooling or Medicare look tame. I make a point here solely about nomenclature as this is certainly not Sanders' view of humane European socialism.

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For a decade, Robert S. Becker's rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, messaging and frameworks, now featured author at OpEdNews, Nation of Change and RSN. He appears regularly at Dissident Voice, with credits (more...)

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