Bernie Sanders, the most authoritarian figure in the mob of authoritarian candidates being fielded by the Democratic Party, says President Trump wants to establish an authoritarian government. It’s one thing for Sanders alone to be convinced of this. It’s entirely another when the majority of his party and virtually all the mainstream media nod their heads in self-satisfied agreement.
“You know that we have a president who has no understanding or respect for the Constitution of the United States, and the separation of powers, and is attempting to move every single day this country into an authoritarian form of government,” the U.S. senator said at a weekend rally in his home state of Vermont.
“We believe in democracy, not authoritarianism.”
To see how empty Sanders’ statement is, to understand how he’s covering up his own authoritarianism, let’s make a few comparisons.
First, Trump campaigned on a deregulation agenda. and while in the White House has rid the Federal Register of oppressive rules at a record pace, hardly an authoritarian agenda. Sanders favors a government that tells the financial sector what it can and cannot do, wants to manage the media and internet, and has little use for free speech.
Second, Sanders prefers life in which the state, not parents, decide where kids go to school. If he had the power, he’d abolish for-profit charter schools and eventually end all charters. Trump supports school choice.
Third, Sanders would force a government health care system — Medicare for all — on the nation, requiring even those who don’t want to be a part of it to participate. Trump ran for president promising to rid the country of Obamacare. He also wants Americans to be free to buy short-term health care insurance, if that is their preference.
Fourth, Trump freed Americans by pushing through a tax cut. Sanders wants to hike taxes, which would put Americans deeper into servitude to the federal government.
In addition to these, Sanders has also “at various times,” columnist David Harsanyi wrote in 2016, “proposed state control over whole” or large parts the energy and transportation sectors. Can anyone recall Trump, who wants to release the private sector to boost fossil fuel energy production, and has reined in the Transportation Department’s rule-making machine, making similar proposals?
Sanders’ self-identification as a socialist alone clearly illustrates his authoritarian appetite. As has been said before, socialists “crave control, want to organize society by force, and put in long hours diminishing the individual while expanding government’s reach.”
Further evidence of Sanders’ authoritarian personality came through a recent New York Times story characterized by National Review as a “devastating report” that describes Sanders’ “love affair with the Sandinistas in the 1980s.”
“So many decades later,” says National Review’s Rich Lowry, “his reflex is the same: If the Sandinistas wouldn’t favor it, he’s not inclined to like it much either.”
Sanders has not only been an admirer of Daniel Ortega, going so far as to travel to Nicaragua in 1985 to celebrate the anniversary of the 1979 Sandinista uprising with the dictator, he has:
- Gushed over other authoritarian figures, such as Fidel Castro.
- Found “much to like in socialist and communist countries.”
- And of course made that “sympathizer” trip to the Soviet Union in 1988.
Sanders’ weekend indictment of the president isn’t the first time he’s accused Trump of being an authoritarian. He’s been projecting his traits onto Trump for years. And, true enough, Trump is no libertarian. None would dare try to make that argument. Yet he has never proposed taking over a single sector of the economy, employed government power to achieve a social objective, nor attempted to dictate consumers’ choices because they have too many types of deodorant and sneakers to choose from.
So for Sanders to moan that Trump is an authoritarian is a case of a rusty and quite clearly cracked pot trying to tell everyone that the kettle over there is blacker than he is. It sells well in some corners, but not where there’s clear thinking.
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