Commentary

Posik: Sen. Sanders a Candidate of the Past, not the Future

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Independent Vermont Senator and 2016 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is making headway in the polls, climbing through the democratic ranks as Hillary Clinton’s campaign slowly loses its steam and Joe Biden remains a non-factor.

What once seemed like an easy victory for Clinton months ago now appears to be an interesting race – at least somewhat. Sanders were polling only 10% in the democratic primary after his campaign launched on May 26, behind both Biden and Clinton by a reasonable margin. Now, many polls show Sanders has more than doubled his 10% total, taken second in the primary away from Biden , and is continuing to gain support as he moves forward with his campaign.

Despite the roughly 30 point margin Clinton still has on Sanders, this Huffington Post 2016 National Democratic Primary poll shows it didn’t take long for Sanders’ numbers to improve once he really starting campaigning. As Sanders’ numbers have increased, both Clinton and Biden have suffered losses.

When Sanders made his announcement, he started receiving support in large numbers, which along with the several scandals surrounding Clinton, has drawn attention away from her campaign and shined a greater spotlight on his own. Some of Sanders’ campaign events have attracted thousands of Americans. A seemingly modest total of 5,000 attended a rally in Denver, nearly 10,000 showed up to support him in Madison, Wis., and even 7,500 made an appearance here in Portland at an event he hosted on July 6.

While Sanders’ numbers improve nationally and in the primary, I fear the electorate has lost sight of something important – what Sanders truly stands for.

Sanders’ public façade is that he’s the candidate for the middle class, but behind his disguise, Sanders is an extreme liberal who promotes policies that Vladimir Lenin would endorse – the redistribution of wealth and government subsidized everything. I’d even be willing to bet that Sanders has a poster of Karl Marx in his bedroom.

All humor aside, in anticipation for the 2016 presidential race, I originally expected Biden to use radical (perhaps now Donald Trump-esque) rhetoric to motivate the hard left. However, his absence thus far in the race has allowed Sanders, a self-proclaimed “democratic” socialist, to take command of the leftward thrusting crazy train.

On the opposite side of the political spectrum, Trump continues to get hammered by the media for his disputable comments and extreme right stance on particular issues, as he should. But, nobody seems to care that the person climbing rungs fastest on the lefty ladder is, of all people, Bernie Sanders.

If America were Sanders’ own utopia, we would mirror Western Europe in every major facet of government. His socialist policies would be marketed as “free,” but burden taxpayers for years to come and increase government spending worse than it already is. The national debt would soon be a myth to Americans, because Sanders would put us so far in debt that nobody in this country could conceptualize its total or how long it would take to pay it off.

We would underperform economically, as Western Europe consistently does in comparison to our free market capitalist system. Under Sanders, welfare programs and government dependency would expand, and soon our social safety net would more likely resemble a jumbo hammock.

And with a wave of his magic wand upon election, the federal minimum wage would be $15/hr., crippling small business while drastically increasing the cost of living. Job creators would be overtaxed and free trade pacts would be denounced, leaving America’s future political landscape littered with the same socialist ideologies we tried to avoid decades ago in the eras of World War II and the Cold War.

But it would be fair, and we’d all be equal, right? Don’t forget miserable.

When I read any of Sanders’ rhetoric, I question why he didn’t run on this platform years ago. I’d like to think we were more threatened by socialism then than we are now in 2015. But then, I regain consciousness, only to realize that “progressive” has somehow become synonymous with “socialist,” and that Bernie Sanders has a realistic chance of earning the democratic bid and becoming the 45th President of the United States.

 

About Jacob Posik

Jacob Posik, of Turner, is the director of communications at The Maine Heritage Policy Center and the editor of The Maine Wire. He can be reached at jposik@mainepolicy.org.

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