The Florida House denounced democratic socialism on Tuesday with a resolution calling it a threat to American democracy.
Though the resolution has little legal significance, Democrats disavowed the bill.
“Democratic socialism is really no different from socialism itself,” the bill’s Republican sponsor, Rep. Tom Fabricio, said.
During debate, Fabricio argued that the politics espoused by figures like U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont was wrongheaded and dangerous for American democracy and capitalism.
“Democratic socialism is a slippery slope that does lead to socialism in many nations, and people have died looking to obtain individual liberties that we enjoy here today,” he said.
Sanders’ office could not immediately be reached for comment.
The resolution does not ban any political party or prevent political candidates who identify as a democratic socialist from holding public office or seeking it.
Nevertheless, Democrats have bristled at being described as socialists.
“Social democracy is not socialism, and democratic socialism is not socialism — if it was, there wouldn’t be the modifier. It implies that there is an element of democracy,” Democratic state Rep. Joe Geller said.
The Republican-led House passed the resolution along party lines in a 79-36 vote.
“Are you at all concerned that we are setting a terrible precedent here by cherry-picking political parties for condemnation and candidates — as you mentioned, sitting U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who by the way, almost was the nominee for the Democratic Party in previous elections,” Democratic state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith asked Fabricio.
“No, I do not believe we are setting a dangerous precedent,” Fabricio replied.
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