Sunday, December 10, 2023

With Bernie Sanders as nominee, Democrats face tough task of running against capitalism

In an otherwise disastrous debate performance ahead of Saturday’s Nevada caucuses, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg did make one solid point directed at Bernie Sanders: “What a wonderful country we have. The best-known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses.” 

By giving him a victory in Nevada to go along with his win in New Hampshire and arguable triumph in Iowa, Democrats have put Sanders in a commanding position to be their party’s nominee as the race heads to South Carolina and then beyond. Sanders is the only candidate who has all of the attributes typical of a major party nominee: early state performance, money, organization, and national polling. 

If the time is ripe for Sanders’s socialist revolution, most American voters don’t know it yet. Contrary to his claim that vast swaths of workers aren’t “making a nickel more than they did 45 years ago,” people in the United States currently have record-high confidence in their personal finances, with nearly twice the same number of Gallup poll participants reporting that they’re better off financially now than they were a year ago than they did in 1977.

Although two-thirds of people in the U.S. believe global poverty is on the rise, extreme global poverty has plummeted, not just as a percentage of the world’s population, but in absolute terms. Two centuries ago, 94% of the planet lived on the equivalent of less than $2 per day. Today, fewer than 10% do. Less than half a century ago, two-thirds of the world’s population survived with fewer than $5.50 per day. Today, less than half do. And from 1990 to 2015, the absolute number of people living on under $1.90 per day fell by more than 1 billion.

“I wrote a best-selling book,” Sanders told the New York Times when asked about how he made so much money after his 2016 campaign. “If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too.”
Bernie Sanders by Gage Skidmore is licensed under Flickr (Creative Commons)