Socialist theory versus the ugly reality

Tonight, those who attend the caucuses in Iowa will cast the first 2020 presidential primary campaign votes from the remaining field of Democrats running for president.  Democratic candidates have dwindled from 28 to 11 — John Delaney dropped out the race a few days ago.  Down-to-the-wire polling shows Bernie Sanders a mere three points ahead of Joe Biden; Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren trail Sanders by 8 and 10 points, respectively.  The other seven candidates continue to flail, none having polling numbers above single digits.

Whatever the outcome, one thing is for certain: the Sanders socialist mantra is about to emerge forcefully into the American political consciousness.  Ironically, Bernie Sanders's version of socialism mirrors that of Karl Marx.  Then there's the "cherry-picked" version of socialism, which apparently appeals to a large swath of his supporters.  The divergence of understanding is wide: socialism in theory versus socialism in practice.

Sanders's 2020 campaign website lists a number of issues he would implement as president: open borders, eliminating ICE, amnesty for illegals, Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, free college tuition and the forgiveness of all college loan debt, housing for all, expanding Social Security, forgiveness of all medical debt, and imposing extreme income tax burdens on wealthy Americans.  He also panders to numerous special interest groups by promising to mandate federally legislated rent control, eliminating "right to work laws," doubling union membership, suing the fossil fuel industry out of existence, closing all charter schools, cutting the current U.S. prison population in half, ending the deportation of convicted illegals, and allowing post offices to conduct banking business.  In a nutshell: capitalism bad, socialism good.  Millennials have adopted this meme.

Millennials, who make up the largest base of Sanders's supporters, have been spoon-fed the anti-capitalism trope since they entered kindergarten.  This is why so many of this generation favor socialism with one caveat: the fine print has never really been explained.  Bernie Sanders isn't the first Marxist who has shied away from laying out his plans for revolution.  Furthermore, history proves that the transition from a capitalist economy to a Marxist miasma doesn't happen overnight.  Venezuela's descent into financial ruin began way back in 1998, when a political outsider named Hugo Chávez won an election.  Chávez proceeded to launch the "Bolivarian Revolution" and subsequently was granted executive power by the government's General Assembly.  Over the course of his 15-year rule by presidential decree, Chávez successfully bullied the General Assembly members to pass hundreds of new laws, many of which proved disastrous for the once flourishing, petroleum-based economy while unjustly enriching himself, family members, and his cronies.

Today, Venezuela suffers from hyperinflation and crippling debt, coupled with massive unemployment and extreme shortages of food, medical supplies, and clean drinking water.  Violent crime has risen so rapidly in the country over the last five years that Venezuela now has the highest crime rate in world.  More than two million people have fled the country, escaping to nearby South American countries.  It's no wonder Comrade Sanders, who once praised Hugo Chávez, isn't saying much about Venezuela gone horribly bad.  Even though Chávez died in 2013, seven years later, his appointed successor Nicolas Maduro, hasn't fared much better.  Venezuela has fallen to failed state status.  Bernie Sanders doesn't want to talk about it, and his supporters seem not to care.  Cherry-picking the socialist ideology translates simply: free stuff sounds good, and punishing America's most wealthy by imposing extreme tax levies is the way to achieve a socialist utopia — or so they think.

In truth, Sanders doesn't appeal to critical thinkers.  Instead, he encourages his supporters to act upon the idea of re-engineered United Socialist States of America.  The necessary revolution for social, economic, and government realignment is of no consequence.  Historically, misguided and naïve revolutionaries discover that the path to utopia is littered with unfulfilled promises, a lot of dead people, a wrecked state, and thoroughly disillusioned survivors.  Understandably, it's the history Bernie Sanders wants everyone to ignore.

Tonight, those who attend the caucuses in Iowa will cast the first 2020 presidential primary campaign votes from the remaining field of Democrats running for president.  Democratic candidates have dwindled from 28 to 11 — John Delaney dropped out the race a few days ago.  Down-to-the-wire polling shows Bernie Sanders a mere three points ahead of Joe Biden; Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren trail Sanders by 8 and 10 points, respectively.  The other seven candidates continue to flail, none having polling numbers above single digits.

Whatever the outcome, one thing is for certain: the Sanders socialist mantra is about to emerge forcefully into the American political consciousness.  Ironically, Bernie Sanders's version of socialism mirrors that of Karl Marx.  Then there's the "cherry-picked" version of socialism, which apparently appeals to a large swath of his supporters.  The divergence of understanding is wide: socialism in theory versus socialism in practice.

Sanders's 2020 campaign website lists a number of issues he would implement as president: open borders, eliminating ICE, amnesty for illegals, Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, free college tuition and the forgiveness of all college loan debt, housing for all, expanding Social Security, forgiveness of all medical debt, and imposing extreme income tax burdens on wealthy Americans.  He also panders to numerous special interest groups by promising to mandate federally legislated rent control, eliminating "right to work laws," doubling union membership, suing the fossil fuel industry out of existence, closing all charter schools, cutting the current U.S. prison population in half, ending the deportation of convicted illegals, and allowing post offices to conduct banking business.  In a nutshell: capitalism bad, socialism good.  Millennials have adopted this meme.

Millennials, who make up the largest base of Sanders's supporters, have been spoon-fed the anti-capitalism trope since they entered kindergarten.  This is why so many of this generation favor socialism with one caveat: the fine print has never really been explained.  Bernie Sanders isn't the first Marxist who has shied away from laying out his plans for revolution.  Furthermore, history proves that the transition from a capitalist economy to a Marxist miasma doesn't happen overnight.  Venezuela's descent into financial ruin began way back in 1998, when a political outsider named Hugo Chávez won an election.  Chávez proceeded to launch the "Bolivarian Revolution" and subsequently was granted executive power by the government's General Assembly.  Over the course of his 15-year rule by presidential decree, Chávez successfully bullied the General Assembly members to pass hundreds of new laws, many of which proved disastrous for the once flourishing, petroleum-based economy while unjustly enriching himself, family members, and his cronies.

Today, Venezuela suffers from hyperinflation and crippling debt, coupled with massive unemployment and extreme shortages of food, medical supplies, and clean drinking water.  Violent crime has risen so rapidly in the country over the last five years that Venezuela now has the highest crime rate in world.  More than two million people have fled the country, escaping to nearby South American countries.  It's no wonder Comrade Sanders, who once praised Hugo Chávez, isn't saying much about Venezuela gone horribly bad.  Even though Chávez died in 2013, seven years later, his appointed successor Nicolas Maduro, hasn't fared much better.  Venezuela has fallen to failed state status.  Bernie Sanders doesn't want to talk about it, and his supporters seem not to care.  Cherry-picking the socialist ideology translates simply: free stuff sounds good, and punishing America's most wealthy by imposing extreme tax levies is the way to achieve a socialist utopia — or so they think.

In truth, Sanders doesn't appeal to critical thinkers.  Instead, he encourages his supporters to act upon the idea of re-engineered United Socialist States of America.  The necessary revolution for social, economic, and government realignment is of no consequence.  Historically, misguided and naïve revolutionaries discover that the path to utopia is littered with unfulfilled promises, a lot of dead people, a wrecked state, and thoroughly disillusioned survivors.  Understandably, it's the history Bernie Sanders wants everyone to ignore.