Are Bernie and Obama socialists? A brief primer

If you think Barack Obama is a socialist, you simply don’t know what the word means.

Donald Trump, Public Idiot

Braying jackhat doesn’t know the meaning of words.

That’s likely because you’re lazy and willing to trust those who would manipulate you for their own cynical ends, and who really could not care less about your well being. Obama is demonstrably to the right of Nixon (aside from the racist Southern strategy) and he’s not as far from Reagan as most imagine.

For that matter, Bernie Sanders isn’t nearly as socialist as he lets on. “Democratic socialist” is different from socialist. In truth he’s very much in line with European-style Social Democrat parties. He’s further left than a typical American Democrat for sure (especially these days, where most Dems are what we used to call “Republicans”), but in reality Sanders is nothing more radical than your basic 1960s/19790s pre-Reagan Democrat. Period. You might not have agreed with the likes of McGovern and Humphrey, but Bernie isn’t meaningfully different than they were, and it wasn’t so long ago that people like him were perfectly mainstream. We have slid a long way to the right. A long way.

I know these things for several reasons.

  1. I know socialists. Real socialists. They laugh at you every time you use the word. It’s like if I called Russell Brand a Tory.
  2. I paid attention in school and I work hard to know what the words I use mean. Not everyone can say that.
  3. While I’m not a socialist myself, I’m a damn sight closer to it than a vast majority of Americans. To the extent that any label really works for me, anyway. If I lived in Europe I’d almost certainly be a Social Democrat.

Let me know when an American pol starts talking about nationalizing industries. Then we can discuss whether or not that person is a socialist.

In the meantime, do a little reading and stop embarrassing yourself.

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