Thursday, November 19, 2015

Bernie Sanders to speak on socialism

Democratic socialism, to be precise, although most people (including far too many Clinton Democrats) won't be able to understand what he's saying.  Regardless of Americans' glaring lack of listening comprehension, Sanders has a lot riding on the speech.  PoliticsUSA -- a somewhat unreliable outlet for news, even when it's biased my way -- reports that speech will be today.

The future of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign will be defined by a major speech that he is giving on democratic socialism and defeating ISIS at Georgetown University on Thursday.

According to the Sanders campaign, “Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday will deliver remarks on democratic socialism and his vision for creating an American future based on economic and social justice and environmental sanity. His remarks will also include specific ideas on U.S. foreign policy, how the U.S. can lead the world in defeating ISIS and a long-term strategy to promote a safer and more peaceful world. The speech will take place at The Institute of Politics and Public Service at Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy. Following his address, the Democratic Party presidential candidate will respond to questions from Georgetown University students.”

The section on defeating ISIS was added to speech because the Sanders campaign understands that many people may not be familiar with his foreign policy positions. The speech will be a major moment in the Sanders campaign. The views of Sen. Sanders have been twisted by Republican presidential candidates and misunderstood by much of the media throughout his campaign. In their view, democratic socialist has become socialist. Many in the press don’t see the distinction, so Sen. Sanders needs to educate them.

So we'll apparently learn about how hawkish Sanders is going to present himself.  His support of the F-35 and his views on gun safety have been tells in that regard.

The Paris terrorist attack has pivoted the race for the Democratic nomination away from the strength of the Sanders campaign. Bernie Sanders is at his best on the campaign trail when he is discussing income inequality and the economy, but the biggest hurdle that Sanders still needs to overcome involves name recognition and his democratic socialism.

His aides are comparing (today)’s 2 PM ET speech to President Obama’s speech on race, and the stakes are similar. This is a sink or swim moment for the Sanders campaign. If Bernie Sanders puts the questions about his democratic socialistic beliefs behind him, he could gain a new burst of momentum. If he fails, the current trajectory of the Democratic primary may accelerate towards Hillary Clinton.

No other media outlets are yet reporting the speech will be today (in a perfunctory Google search).  Their stories are all a month old, but still worth reading as they assess the challenge he faces.  Politico has fourteen things he has previously said over the years about socialism.  Here's one.

“I think it means the government has got to play a very important role in making sure that as a right of citizenship, all of our people have health care; that as a right, all of our kids, regardless of income, have quality childcare, are able to go to college without going deeply into debt; that it means we do not allow large corporations and moneyed interests to destroy our environment; that we create a government in which it is not dominated by big money interest. I mean, to me, it means democracy, frankly. That’s all it means. And we are living in an increasingly undemocratic society in which decisions are made by people who have huge sums of money. And that’s the goal that we have to achieve.” 

As said previously, I don't expect any Republicans, and certainly not enough partisan Democrats, to get it.  Their reactions to the Paris terrorism, the Syrian refugees, and a lot of other history suggests to me that it's too late for them to get it.  But I'll try to be a little more optimistic.

Update: Livestream the speech here.  And full text of prepared remarks here.  Excerpt:

So the next time you hear me attacked as a socialist, remember this:

I don’t believe government should own the means of production, but I do believe that the middle class and the working families who produce the wealth of America deserve a fair deal.

I believe in private companies that thrive and invest and grow in America instead of shipping jobs and profits overseas.

I believe that most Americans can pay lower taxes – if hedge fund managers who make billions manipulating the marketplace finally pay the taxes they should.

I don’t believe in special treatment for the top 1%, but I do believe in equal treatment for African-Americans who are right to proclaim the moral principle that Black Lives Matter.

I despise appeals to nativism and prejudice, and I do believe in immigration reform that gives Hispanics and others a pathway to citizenship and a better life.

I don’t believe in some foreign “ism”, but I believe deeply in American idealism.

I’m not running for president because it’s my turn, but because it’s the turn of all of us to live in a nation of hope and opportunity not for some, not for the few, but for all.


Gadfly said...

Add this: Labor leader Joe Hill, executed 100 years ago today:

Gadfly said...

Apparently Bernie or his staff don't care about Joe Hill a lot.

Or, interestingly for a "democratic socialist," while he cares about equality a lot, somehow doesn't see unions as part of that effort. I'm not sure I even heard the word "union" in his speech yesterday.