A newly released video by the Des Moines Register shows Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a self-described democratic socialist, saying at a forum, "My ideas are not far left. They are the ideas the American people want." While the full context of the Democratic presidential candidate's comment is unclear, the statement is demonstrably false.
A Marxist past
A cursory look at Sanders' record reveals the Vermont senator has a long history of supporting far left causes, including communist strongmen and dictatorships. Below are some brief examples:
- Pro-Castro: As The Blaze has reported, well into his career, Sanders expressed an admiration for Cuban communist strongman Fidel Castro. Most memorably, in a video published by The Reagan Battalion earlier this year, the Vermont socialist is seen admitting that he admired Castro for leading a revolution that rose up against "ugly rich people," and that while watching the famous Kennedy-Nixon debates, JFK's support for efforts to oust the Cuban Marxist from power made him want to "puke."
- Soviet Honeymoon: In 1988, Sanders and his wife, Jane, spent their first days as newly weds honeymooning in the Soviet Union. To contextualize how culturally misfitting it was during the Cold War for an American to celebrate such an important occasion in Moscow, we should note that the only other American we know to have done this is Lee Harvey Oswald. Moreover, as conservative columnist George Will noted in 2015, the Sanders honeymoon occurred while the Soviets were still jailing dissidents and threatening key U.S. allies across Europe.
Gulags still functioned, probably including some of the 'cold Auschwitzes' in Siberia, described in Conquest's 'Kolyma.' The honeymooner did not mind that in 1988 political prisoners were — as may still be the case — being tortured in psychiatric 'hospitals.' Thanks to the unblinking honesty of people like Conquest, the Soviet Union now is such a receding memory that Bernie Sanders's moral obtuseness — the obverse of Conquest's character — is considered an amusing eccentricity."
- American dream in...Venezuela: A 2011 column published on Sanders' official Senate office website praises several socialist Latin American governments. "These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger," says the article. Although Sanders has tried distancing himself from the editorial, which he did not write, the article remains on his website.
Even Democrats think Sanders is on the far left of their party. A September 2019 USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll of over 5,000 American adults found Democrats view the Vermont senator as the farthest left candidate in the 2020 Democratic primary. As the Los Angeles Times noted, Sanders' extremism could be limiting his viability as a candidate:
Ideology is one factor that goes into how voters choose whom to support — though not necessarily the deciding one. In the past, candidates seen as on the ideological extremes have often faced problems; Sanders' status as the outlier in the Democratic field could limit his ability to expand his support.
Although the democratic socialist likes to claim his ideas are mainstream in Scandinavia, former Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said in a 2015 speech at Harvard that Sanders is wrong to associate Denmark with his socialist ideology. As TheBlaze's Glenn Beck has noted, Scandinavian economists tend to view American democratic socialists as being on the "far-left/fringe" end of their political spectrum.
In fact, as we reported last week, even socialists in Cuba have blasted the Democratic Socialists of America, the national organization that backs Sanders and other far-left politicians, as being closet communists.
Who does Bernie think he's fooling? Will the media fact-check him?