Sen Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont is skyrocketing in the polls, as anyone knows who is paying the least attention to the news of Campaign 2020. The NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll shows Bernie opening up a double-digit lead, garnering 27 percent of the vote as opposed to his nearest competitor, former Vice President Joe Biden at 15 percent. Bernie is also dominating the Washington Post/ABC News Poll at 32 percent, leading Biden who is at 16 percent.
The results of the two polls have Team Bernie in the heady throughs of pure triumph, with the nomination within their grasp. The Democratic establishment, on the other hand, is in a blind panic. The reason for the panic can be found in an NPR Poll that suggests that Bernie Sanders’ rise in the polls cannot be ascribed to the one thing that he boasts about, his political beliefs.
“Asked about their impression of socialism, only about a quarter of Americans (28%) said they have a favorable view, while almost 6-in-10 (58%) said they had an unfavorable impression.”
As it turns out, Bernie’s rise can be ascribed to the fact that half of Democrats and two-thirds of self-described progressives like the idea of socialism. In contrast, 23 percent of Independents and just seven percent of Republicans have a favorable view of the socialist ideology.
Why do people overall hate socialism? Bernie Sanders claims that his version is the kinder and gentler version he claims exists in Denmark and Sweden. Never mind that these countries, strictly speaking, are not socialist, since they have vibrant capitalist economies. Countries like Denmark and Sweden are social democracies, with high taxes and a generous welfare state.
Most people who are not on the far left, virtually every study suggests when they hear the word “socialist” they think of the red tooth and claw version that exists in Cuba and Venezuela. Socialism means secret police, gulags, firing squads, and economic privation.
Reason notes that Bernie Sanders defended Castro’s Cuba when he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont. “He educated the kids, gave them health care, totally transformed the society!” Fortunately, Bernie also added that Cuba was not perfect.
Indeed, Castro murdered and imprisoned thousands and presided over an economic catastrophe. Many have braved the dangerous boat trip to the United States to get away from the socialist paradise in Cuba.
Bernie also famously praised the Soviet Union when he honeymooned there, ironically just before the collapse of that communist empire and the end of the Cold War. Since becoming a senator and a presidential candidate, Sanders has fallen silent from his former love of socialist tyrannies.
The NPR Poll, by the way, has a result that seems counterintuitive to the meme being put out by the media. “Views of socialism grow more unfavorably the older the generation, but even 50% of Gen Z and Millennials had an unfavorable view of it, as opposed to just 38%, who had a favorable one. Suburban voters, who have been trending with Democrats since Trump’s election, are overwhelmingly against it by a 27%-to-61% margin.”
Capitalism, on the other hand, is supported by American voters by a 57 percent to 29 percent margin. Only progressives and, by a narrow margin, African Americans have an unfavorable view of capitalism.
The same NPR poll shows that Bernie edges out Trump by a 48 percent to 45 percent margin, pretty good for someone who adheres to a radical ideology and political agenda. But those numbers were garnered before Trump and the Republicans hit Sanders with the “S-word” or even the “C-word” full; force. Indeed, many Republicans are eager to see Bernie get the nomination, the better for a Trump landslide.
How much of a landslide? The Washington Free Beacon quotes Chris Matthews, the MSNBC talking head who used to be a Democratic Party operative, is predicting a 49 state blow out. That kind of landside has not happened since President Reagan trounced Walter Mondale in 1984. Before that, President Nixon shellacked George McGovern by a similar margin in 1972.
Most pundits think that a 49 state blowout is unlikely. Too many states, such as California and New York, are irredeemable Democrat. But then again stranger things have happened in recent memory. Who could have thought that a real estate tycoon and reality show host could become president of the United States?