Why is Bernie Sanders so popular?
Essentially three reasons – youth, “progressive” leftists and economic illiterates. And, yes, they can be all three. But not necessarily.
Back in May as Sanders was emerging as a presidential candidate, many were caught by surprise that an avowed socialist could pile up the numbers he was getting.
Bernie Sanders, a Senator for Vermont and currently the only declared challenger to Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, is the only member of Congress to describe himself as a socialist. For much of the Cold War socialism evoked images of military parades in Moscow’s Red Square, but for Sanders, and many of America’s self-declared socialists, their aim isn’t to bring revolution to America but to make America more like Sweden and Norway.
And, of course, that’s precisely what we’ve seen Sanders continue to do – tout the European model to hide the well-deserved reputation that socialism really has among the historically literate. Apparently it has worked. YouGov did a poll at that time and discovered the source of Sanders support. While 52% of Americans have a favorable view of capitalism, only 26% have such a view for socialism. Where is that favorable view to be found?
Among younger Americans, however, attitudes are a lot more divided. 36% of under-30s have a positive view of socialism, while 39% have a positive view of capitalism.
Among older Americans, who actually lived through the era of socialism and watched its pernicious effects, only 15% view it favorably while 59% view it negatively. So we have a whole generation growing up who have no experience seeing the reality of socialism played out in front of them. Instead they’re pointed to a couple of socialist Potemkin villages and told that’s how it can be. Don’t expect them to read the recent trashing of the Nordic model that is so obvious to those who have even an inkling of economic savvy.
Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised, as the Democratic party continues to move further left, that they support socialism more and more.
Democrats (43%) are also much more likely than either independents (22%) or Republicans (9%) to have a favorable view of socialism. Democrats, in fact, are as likely to have a favorable view of capitalism (43%) as socialism. While only 9% of Republicans see socialism in a positive light, 79% have a good view of capitalism.
History, apparently, has no relevance with the left. Nor do facts or economic laws. They’re sure that the only reason the magic of socialism hasn’t been successful and produced the utopia they’re sure it promises is it just hasn’t been done right … yet.
To a good portion of them, Bernie is the man to make that happen.
And, probably just as important is this is the same contingent that helped put our current occupant in the White House and keep him there for 2 terms.