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Is the US ready for a socialist president? Sanders might be about to find out

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The Vermont senator has never hidden his views but his proposed policies to overhaul tuition fees and healthcare have branded him a dangerous extremist

 

 

Dan Roberts and Adam Gabbatt in Manchester, New Hampshire

 

Saturday 6 February 2016 13.33 GMT

 

 

Dr Krissy Haglund does not care if she is labeled a socialist. Or an ideological purist. Or, indeed, any of the other epithets thrown at Americans who are flocking to support Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination. She knows what she is: fed up.

 

“I have patients who are deciding not to have children or are unable to buy a house because of their student loans,” says the family physician from Minneapolis, who this week drove four hours with her two children to see the senator speak in Iowa.

 

“My loan is now $283,000,” she says. “It’s gone up $60,000 in the six years since I graduated from medical school. This is a national crisis that needs deep, immediate attention.”

 

As the only candidate proposing to abolish tuition fees at public universities, Sanders frequently takes on the role of a reverse auctioneer, asking members of the audience at his rallies to shout out how much student debt they have. For a while, the record was $300,000. Then he met a dentist who graduated with loans of $400,000.

 

But paying for college by taxing Wall Street speculation is not the only policy that has seen the senator from Vermont branded a dangerous extremist – by his own party. Despite the limited health insurance reforms passed by Barack Obama, 29 million Americans remain without any coverage and many more are underinsured to the point where they cannot afford to see a doctor.

 

So Sanders does the same thing with healthcare, asking audiences to compete to reveal the size of their deductible – the fixed amount per treatment that must be paid by patients before their insurer will contribute anything. At almost every rally someone gets up to $5,000, sometimes in tears.

 

His plan to replace this bureaucratic and expensive system by expanding the public Medicare program emulates a “single payer” insurance model used in Canada, rather than the direct state provision of Britain’s National Health Service. It aims to reduce overall costs caused by hospitals and drug companies charging the weak US consumer many times the equivalent in other countries that benefit from pooled purchasing power.

 

Nevertheless, when inevitably someone asks if the US can afford to follow other rich countries down the road of universal healthcare and access to tertiary education, Sanders likes to remind them of the trillions of dollars of income redistribution that has already taken place in the opposite direction: a trend that has left median wages slumping, but 58% of all new income since the banking crash going to the top 1%.

 

“Enough is enough,” audience members typically roar by the time he reaches this point in the well-worn speech.

 

“A few years ago you could graduate high school and get a job and just work hard, put on those work boots, and you’d be able to achieve whatever you wanted,” agrees Anna Mead, 22, a student from Long Beach, New Jersey, outside a rally in New Hampshire.

 

“Now, it’s just not the case anymore. We’ve seen vast amounts of inequality just building and building throughout the decades to the extent that the 1% has accumulated such a vast amount of wealth that exceeds 40% of the population. I feel like the United States has always been strengthened whenever we had a president take any kind of policy for the middle class to build them up. When you build everyone up, everyone does better.”

 

The notion, proposed by Sanders, that a corrupt campaign finance system is the only thing standing between voters and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change this might seem simplistic. But it is proving wildly popular.

 

From a standing start, he has closed the gap in the Democratic primary race between himself and a once unassailable Hillar-y Clinton, from 36% to just 2%, according to one national poll this week.

 

Though few believe this one poll to be indicative of the true national picture just yet, real-life voting in the Iowa caucus last week brought Sanders to within 0.3% of Clinton.

 

In New Hampshire, which votes for a Democratic nominee on Tuesday, Sanders is so far ahead of the former secretary of state in the polls that her advisers would be delighted if they could contain his win to single digits. Many are already dismissing the result as a home turf blip and encouraging Clinton to leave the state on Sunday to focus her time elsewhere.

 

Locals in New Hampshire bristle, though, at the notion they would be swayed simply because someone is from next-door Vermont, a liberal bastion that the more libertarian iconoclasts in the Granite State regard with suspicion.

 

This argument also ignores the fact that the state Hillar-y Clinton represented in Congress is only 50 miles from the New Hampshire border, although New York reportedly has such ambiguous feelings about its former senator that the Sanders camp claims she refused their requests to hold a debate there.

 

Yet much as it pains his supporters to acknowledge any frailty, Sanders is under growing pressure from Clinton during their debates. The attack strategy varies. Sometimes she argues they are dancing on the head of a pin by debating who is a true progressive, but when the policy gulf is illuminated the attack switches to what she claims are his wildly unrealistic proposals.

 

Privately, Clinton’s attack machine has gone further, claiming deep-seated communist sympathies. That serves as a likely prelude to what Sanders might face from Republicans in the still somewhat unlikely event that he wins the Democratic primary.

 

Sanders has never hidden his political background and has left much for critics to pick over. But it is his steadfast determination not to hide from the label “democratic socialist” that causes most confusion.

 

In a lengthy speech at Georgetown University last November, he argued that his political philosophy was most in keeping with that of Franklin D Roosevelt, who similarly proposed a mix of public works, help for the poor and banking reform to lift America out of the Great Depression.

 

“I don’t know what we mean when we say he is a socialist because my idea of Bernie Sanders is that he’s an FDR liberal,” agrees Sharon Ranzavage, 69, an attorney from Flemington, New Jersey, speaking outside an event in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Friday.

 

“He’s back to the future, if you will, and that’s why I’m excited about him. I think the Democratic party in this country has veered very far to the right. We have to get back to who we are, which is taking care of each other. We’re a capitalist country but we need to modify the extremes of capitalism.”

 

Confusion also stems from the fact that Sanders uses the phrase “democratic socialist” partly to stress his belief that change must come through the ballot box, but also because, in continental Europe at least, he would probably be known as a social democrat, a label that does not easily translate to the US.

 

A “Democrat” in US parlance is something the independent senator from Vermont only became when he decided to seek the party’s presidential nomination in May. Anyone using the word “social” in American politics might as well go the whole hog and add the “ist” before somewhere else does.

 

In a British context, Sanders would be hard to place too. Many of his core proposals – universal access to healthcare, paid maternity leave and a more generous minimum wage – are accepted, in principle at least, by all the main UK parties including the Conservatives, who recently put up the British minimum wage as a centerpiece of their budget.

 

In relative terms, Sanders represents a swing to the left for the Democratic party that is analogous to Jeremy Corbyn’s recent victory in the Labour leadership campaign. But on foreign policy and absolute comparisons of domestic policies he would probably be closer to pre-Blairite Labour reformers of the 1980s and 90s such as Neil Kinnock or John Smith.

 

Back in New Hampshire this week, a radical mood is conjured up at rallies calling for a “political revolution” and blasting out John Lennon’s Power to the People. But when Sanders punches his hand into the air, he quickly unclenches the fist, to avoid imagery that is too strident.

 

We will have to wait for several more primary results to know whether American politics could possibly be ready for a self-avowed socialist. Already, the response from supporters to seem to be a shrug that suggests this is the wrong question.

 

“I feel like I finally have a politician who will match my true feelings and hopes for this country,” says Haglund.

 

Is America ready for socialism? Probably not. But it might be ready for Sanders.

 

Sanders fans on socialism

 

What is wrong with being a socialist?

Dwayne Hamm, 23, from New Brunswick, New Jersey:

 


I believe what people think is a socialist is: they get confused and think we’re heading towards the dreaded communism. But I think people confuse themselves about what it is Sanders is trying to do and what it is a socialist believes in. You’ll see that there’s nothing wrong. All we’re asking for is equality across the board. And to those who have privilege it may seem oppressive. And I feel that’s what people think the problem is.

 

 

Can you be a democratic socialist?

Anna Mead, 22, from Long Beach, New Jersey:

 

I don’t think socialism can exist properly without democracy. Socialism is community regulation of the means of production and distribution.

 

 

How do you feel about Hillar-y Clinton trying to woo young people?

Fiona Boomer, 19, from Salt Lake City, Utah:

 


I do have to give credit where credit’s due but as a young person Bernie’s stance on free education would be amazing. I’m deeply in debt as it is. It would be great if that was free. Hillar-y is debt free and Bernie is tuition free. That’s a big deciding factor for me. I do think Hillarious is doing a good job. She claims she’s being more realistic but I think Bernie is realistic.

 

 

How likely is it that Clinton will win you over?

Rene Casiano, 41, from the Bronx, New York:

Honestly if Bernie doesn’t make it I will support her because she’s still better than everyone else on the other side of the spectrum.

 

 

 
2508.jpg?w=700&q=85&auto=format&sharp=10
1
6
Bernie Sanders speaks at the 2016 McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club Celebration in Manchester, New Hampshire on Friday.
Photograph: Adrees Latif/Reuters
 
 

 

Edited by umbertino
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The  article is staggering in the magnitude of the author's ignorance.

 

That supporters can't understand Sanders entire campaign is based on one premise that is only a statement about the dismal lack of any real education in public schools is disheartening.

 

Sanders is declaring the government has mismanaged and destroyed almost everything America stood for, and since the American Dream is almost dead anyway, Sanders wants to eliminate any remaining freedom,  opportunity, and incentive.

 

How incredibly stupid.

 

America will die the day that moron takes office.

 

The USA would become the USSA.

 

What those jackals don't understand, is millions of patriots are working to open minds in order to effect a non-violent revolution.

 

The governments death technology would be turned on her citizens in any violent event, in addition to the realities of neighbor killing neighbor.

 

Patriots do not wish to engage in this manner.

 

We realize, our greatest foe is the decades of lies, deceptions, corruption, and agenda forced on us by government.

 

Equally heinous, is the mindless stupidity from these articles, and the foreigners who continuously meddle in our affairs.

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***///

 

Just ONE of their platforms that's riddled with STUPIDITY....

 

"free college education"...?  So they can go on to make millions in their careers and never pay back a dime ?

That doesn't even makes sense ! We sure wish they'd shut up about that.

 

If they want "free university", why don't all those liberal, tenured kommie klown "professors" teach for FREE...?!  <_<

 

Wise up you kommie tools and ignorant, brainwashed little morons !!   :angry:

 

Too much "IGNORANCE" running rampant in Our Constitutional Republic these days.  <_<

 

Excellent post, DM !   :tiphat: 100 PLUS 1's if we could ! 

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Bernie Sanders is for people who don't want accountability for their lives.  They just want things handed to them.  They like equal outcome, not equal opportunity.  Hil-lary is just a typical politician.  Trump is a friggin idiot.  You can't ban people from the country based on their religion.  That's against the Constitution, and if you're gonna dislike this comment, I can only assume you're anti Constitution, a libtard, or a lazy socialist.  Yes, we don't need to take on refugees because one, militants are hiding amongst them, and two, we can't even afford to help our own displaced.  

 

I'm a Ted Cruz guy now that Rand dropped out.  

Edited by Yukon Silvermoon
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Obama's Mentor was Frank Marshall Davis , a Card Carrying 100% Full Blown COMMUNIST - THIS is only the beginning.

***///

 

... it is said FMD is actually ho'bummer's biological father...

 

 ho'bummer's momma was such a ho' it's hard to say who that baby daddy really is....  <_<

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***///

 

... it is said FMD is actually ho'bummer's biological father...

 

 ho'bummer's momma was such a ho' it's hard to say who that baby daddy really is....  <_<

Be cool if we could get a DNA test to see if FMD was indeed the Daddy - Yep, as for Ho'Mama; couldn't help but laugh out loud the first time they tried to pass of his Mom as a " Free Spirit " - Born and raised in Los Angeles for 20 yrs, I know what a " Free Spirit " means.

 

Loose, REAL Loose.

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Be cool if we could get a DNA test to see if FMD was indeed the Daddy - Yep, as for Ho'Mama; couldn't help but laugh out loud the first time they tried to pass of his Mom as a " Free Spirit " - Born and raised in Los Angeles for 20 yrs, I know what a " Free Spirit " means.

 

Loose, REAL Loose.

***///

 

We saw somewhere on the internet where they put pics side-by-side of ho'bummer & FMD and they were a match!

 

Remember, he's one of many photogs who took nudie pics of ho'bummer's ho'mama!

 

One of those sessions more than likely ended up in the demon seed himself being spawned

from these two kommie wretches !

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No!!!! America is not ready for a Socialist President. Yet since the youth of America does not truly understand the consequences of a Socialist President and government, since all they hear is they won't have to pay back their huge student loans, they may elect one anyway.

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***///

 

We saw somewhere on the internet where they put pics side-by-side of ho'bummer & FMD and they were a match!

 

Remember, he's one of many photogs who took nudie pics of ho'bummer's ho'mama!

 

One of those sessions more than likely ended up in the demon seed himself being spawned

from these two kommie wretches !

An insidious plot many decades in the works - come to think of it, I've seen pics of FMD; my immediate reaction years ago was the remarkable likeness of he and O.

Makes the blood boil -  :mad: 

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***///

 

... it is said FMD is actually ho'bummer's biological father...

 

 ho'bummer's momma was such a ho' it's hard to say who that baby daddy really is....  <_<

 

 

An insidious plot many decades in the works - come to think of it, I've seen pics of FMD; my immediate reaction years ago was the remarkable likeness of he and O.

Makes the blood boil -  :mad: 

 

spittin' image... of FMD

 

obamadavis.jpg

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The question in the title of this thread is oxymoronic!  We would not BE the USA, as per its Constitutional Values, if we had a socialist president.  THIS is what today's youth, and unfortunately too many ignorant citizens, fail to educate themselves about... much less comprehend.  Apathetic... and pathetic.

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spittin' image... of FMD

 

obamadavis.jpg

***///

 

It's a perfect match. No denying it.  

 

Even the flattened out ear tops... eyebrow shape... upper lip... nose... cheek lines... chin...

square forehead as opposed to the other kommie's round one... eye shape...

 

Yup.  

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***///

 

It's a perfect match. No denying it.  

 

Even the flattened out ear tops... eyebrow shape... upper lip... nose... cheek lines... chin...

square forehead as opposed to the other kommie's round one... eye shape...

 

Yup.  

 

Not to mention the skin color, short nappy hair, right leaning left facing profiles......and the suits, the suits are quite similar....both having a tie and jacket.   :facepalm: 

 

GO RV, then BV

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