Presidential hopeful and self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders is losing the Democratic vote to former Vice President Joe Biden. Nonetheless, the Vermont senator remains convinced that he has the upper hand “ideologically” among voters.
“While our campaign has won the ideological debate, we are losing the debate over electability,” Sanders said last month, following a massive blow to his campaign in recent primaries.
The question ensues: Has Sanders really won the ideological debate? Not yet.
Despite not taking the lead in recent primaries, the movement Sanders has created of so-called “Bernie Bros” is significant. He has been a major force in bringing radical policies to the center of political dialogue, and those policies are what we should be concerned about.
Sanders has become an icon to younger generations by pushing the narrative that if you can take down the top 1 percent, you can create more equality.
To put it simply, the Sanders movement is built upon the idea that those who are rich are the root of all society’s problems, and that government is the power that can fix these issues — whether it be through taxes, social programs or the overregulation of markets.
Thus, his movement embodies a desire for total revolution and the uprooting of American principles.
Sanders himself said during the announcement of his 2016 presidential campaign that he and his supporters can “begin a political revolution to transform our country economically, politically, socially and environmentally.”
And truthfully, that is what those who are “feeling the Bern” have begun to do.
Today, an astonishing 61 percent of Americans ages 18 to 24 view socialism positively.
The problem with this is that many young Americans have hardly been taught about the dangers of socialism, or they believe that real socialism has “never been tried.” The fact is that real socialism has been tried all over the world in the past and present and has failed countries miserably.
What would make socialism in America any different?
And those failures are not just the radical policies as seen in places like Venezuela, either.
Even nations like Sweden that have used democratic socialism to create an overbearing welfare state have proven that socialism creates a slippery slope for individual liberty and independence from government.
The danger in supporting this style of socialism is that the need for expansion in government never ends and the cost continually increases. This cost is then placed on not only the wealthy, but the middle class as well.
One can already foresee the issue of a slippery slope arising in the very policies supported by Sanders.
The senator does not simply wish to raise taxes on the wealthy: He wants to implement a $90 trillion “Green New Deal,” universal health care and free college for all, to name just a few of his policy measures.
All of this is not to say that change is not needed to make education more affordable, or to decrease the insane cost of health care in America. But the means by which we intend to do these things will change the course of this country for better or for worse.
So far in this election season, young Americans — who are seen by many as Bernie’s secret weapon to winning the nomination — have not shown up to vote for him in the numbers he has hoped for.
Our greatest concern should be that eventually these young people will show up to vote before they are warned about the dangers of socialism.
The principles of freedom that our founders so uniquely established have created the most just, most innovative and freest nation on earth. But in the wise words of Benjamin Franklin, America will only stay that way if we can keep it.
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