Bernie Sanders is a socialist, disguised as a so-called, “Democratic Socialist.” Conservatives have labeled Sanders a communist, a Marxist, and a Stalinist, and not without a measured justification.
After all, Sanders has praised Fidel Castro’s Cuban revolution. He’s been mixed it up with the Sandanistas. He even honeymooned in Moscow, something my wife would have rejected immediately, preferring Maui, Hawaii.
But it’s not his travels that cast suspicion on Sanders, it’s his decades-long rhetoric extolling the virtues of class struggle and a firey disdain for capitalism and people of wealth and privilege.
Setting Bernie Sanders aside, can any radical socialist who wants to break up banks, implement medicare for all, forgive student debt, and make college free, win the South Carolina Democratic Primary? Can a self-described democratic socialist who boldly tells voters he wants to redistribute the wealth of Americans according to his fancy be elected by heretofore traditionally moderate voters?
The answer is sort of, but probably not…at least, no one has accomplished the feat thus far. In the 2016 primary, Sanders did not play well in South Carolina against Hillary Clinton, receiving 96,498 votes (26%) against Clinton’s 272,379 (74%) votes. He earned a proportional 14 delegates, while Hillary received 39.
There is a cultural divide between the Sanders decidedly left-leaning socialist tenets and the traditional, right of center, South Carolinian voters.
Worse, Sanders will face more contenders in 2020 than he did in 2016, further reducing his odds to win. There will be four other candidates in the primary, including Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg won’t be on the ballot, he’s putting his money (literally) on a big win on Super Tuesday.
Depending on the poll and the day, Biden and Sanders look like they are the front-runners. South Carolina’s proportional delegate distribution makes it unlikely that Sanders will secure the same number of delegates in 2020 as he did in 2016.
Both his political views and the number of rivals are making Sanders look like, at best, a second-place horse in a crowded field.
South Carolina is the home of one Nikki Haley, hardly a Democrat, and light-years from a socialist. She’s a popular and successful former Governor with a wide and diverse demographic. South Carolina is still a light red color. It’s not a state that is likely to elect a socialist.
Bernie’s socialism won’t play in South Carolina.
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Featured Image Bernie Sanders by Gage Skidmore (CC)