(Also: we’re losing our democracy and the habitability of our planet; but the economy is what people care about, so spread the word.)
And speaking of surprises . . .
In small part:
. . . “Republicans howled that [Obama’s] U.S. auto industry rescue package was ‘the leading edge of the Obama administration’s war on capitalism’ and would set us on ‘the road toward socialism.’ [Yet] Trump’s farmer trade bailouts are more than double the size of the auto bailout [and] Republicans are unperturbed.”
. . . Conservatives complain that Sanders and his socialist allies wish to bloat budget deficits. Under Trump, of course, this has already happened. The deficit in fiscal 2019 was a whopping 48 percent higher than it was in fiscal 2017, thanks to GOP policies. And while “Crazy Bernie” does intend to jack up tax rates to (partly) offset his spending, Trump has raised some taxes on Americans, too — he’s just done it more regressively, through taxes on imports rather than income.
Trump’s version of socialism soaks the poor, not the rich.
If conservatives are genuinely frightened by Sanders’s proposed downward redistribution of wealth, they might consider the sort of redistribution practiced by Trump — in particular, the many ways Trump has used his office to redistribute taxpayer dollars into his own pocket. Just last week, during a tour of western states, Trump elected to fly his entourage back to his hotel in Las Vegas each night rather than stay in the other cities he was visiting. Whatever Sanders’s flaws, at least he doesn’t try to steal everything that’s not nailed down.
If you’re a Never Trumper worried that Sanders will take this country down the road to serfdom, beware: President Trump has already paved the path.
Powerful though it is, it’s not clear to me this argument will resonate with a majority of the people, once Trump endlessly reminds them that Bernie honeymooned in the Soviet Union and saw some good in Fidel Castro, etc. Given the chance to explain, his thoughts make a lot of sense. But will people listen?
Former George W. Bush speechwriter and Never-Trumper David Frum is alarmed, writing in the Atlantic:
If Sanders loses badly as moderate voters swing away from Democrats . . . it will be a loss up and down the ticket, a loss that could not only reelect Trump, but also enable him, by preserving his elected bodyguard in the Senate and restoring his majority in the House. The question to weigh before Super Tuesday is thus not only Sanders versus Biden or Sanders versus Bloomberg. It is whether you prefer Speaker Pelosi or Speaker McCarthy, and Chairman Schiff or Chairman Nunes. The hopes of congressional Democrats hang in the balance in the fateful week ahead.
One more reason Bernie — vastly superior to Trump — is not my first choice.