Issues & Insights
Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

Bernie Sanders’ Red Roots Are Starting To Show

I&I Editorial

Sen. Bernie Sanders has said publicly that he doesn’t believe government should own the means of production. Yet he appears on national television last week and agrees there should be a “federal takeover” of the energy sector. His Marxist slip is showing.

“When I use the world socialist — and I know some people aren’t comfortable about it — I’m saying that it is imperative” to “create a government that works for all and not just the few,” the Vermont Democratic lawmaker said in 2015.

“I don’t believe,” he continued, “government should own the means of production,” which of course is a hallmark of socialism.

That version is quite different from the 1976 Sanders, who said “I favor the public ownership of utilities, banks and major industries.”

2015 Sanders is also inconsistent with the Sanders of spring 2019, who, according to People’s World, which claims to be the “voice for progressive change and socialism” in America, “will propose workers take ownership of individual plants and businesses, removing them from the hands of the bosses and financiers who back them.”

Ownership won’t change hands unless a coercive government becomes involved and socializes business. The workers can’t simply vote companies over to themselves.

Last week Sanders appeared on MSNBC, where he seemed to agree with the host that nationalization of electricity production is necessary.

While discussing “how power is generated and distributed,” Chris Hayes told Sanders “you propose essentially a takeover of the whole thing. Essentially a Tennessee Valley Authority extension for the whole country. Am I understanding that correctly?”

“Yeah, yeah, you’re in the ballpark, that’s right,” Sanders replies.

Showing an even deeper affinity for the hard left, Sanders on Tuesday declared that China has made “more progress in addressing extreme poverty than any country in the history of civilization.” 

“They’ve done,” he said, “a lot of things for their people.”

To his credit, Sanders did mention China’s “authoritarian way.” But it’s not China’s slow move toward a more liberal economy that prompted him to gush. It’s his antipathy toward free-market capitalism, which in his fevered thinking promotes inequality. It somehow escapes this man that capitalism is the only system in history that’s been able to lift billions out of what legendary economist Milton Friedman called “grinding” poverty.

Sanders is well-known for supporting other socialist struggles, such as his crusade for Medicare for All, his fondness for Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista government in Nicaragua, and his admiration for Fidel Castro’s “workers’ paradise.”

Socialism’s $6 Trillion Man believes he has the right to dictate how private businesses conduct their affairs, while he argues that the “exploited” among us — meaning those he is pandering to for votes — have a right to a job, health care, education, “affordable housing,” and “a secure retirement” provided by the toil of others.

Sanders tried to run away from his red roots during the 2016 election cycle because he knew the country wouldn’t vote for an outright socialist. But now it seems he’s opening up, perhaps buoyed by the fact the Democratic Socialists of America, “America’s largest socialist party,” has grown, says the Hoover Institution’s Paul R. Gregory, “from 6,000 to 60,000 dues-paying members in the last eight years and counts two members of Congress — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and Rashida Tlaib — in its ranks.”

Maybe by the time the Democrats debate again, Sanders will be telling everyone that his preferred pronoun is “comrade.”

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I & I Editorial Board

The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • “Government that works for all, and not just the few”. So in other words, NO DEMOCRATS! Heck, I would settle for a government that works for its CITIZENS instead of illegal aliens. As a bonus, could we return to the rule of law where EVERYONE is expected to uphold the law, not just us little people?

  • Bernie told us that we need to be just like Venezuela. The government takes over the oil industry in Venezuela and one of the most oil rich countries on the planet has few if any animals left in their zoos because the citizens feeding their families with them.

    Bernie had a town hall meeting in April 2019 where he told us we need to be just like Finland with their socialized medicine. Unfortunately for Bernie no-one on his staff did their research before he made his absurd comment about Finland because they would have discovered that the government of that country officially dissolved in March 2019. The Prime Minister and his entire cabinet resigned in disgrace because they cannot get the cost of their government run health care under control.

    I bet there are socialist countries all over the world that hope old Bernie does not hold them up as a positive example of anything. Seems every time Bernie tells us about some socialist utopia that we should follow their government turns to crap while their citizens suffer.

    • When Venezuela made all of those utilities public, the quality of life shot up. If you’re wondering about Venezuela’s current economic struggles, look no further to Venezuela’s failure to diversify their economy. When oil is your only economic backing up, your economy is has a very large weak spot to what has been known for a long time as “economic warfare”, not unlike Nixon’s iniative against socialist Chile in the 70’s.

      When Sanders brings up “like Finland”, government or not, Finland’s healthcare is far better than ours, and they rate higher in the happiness and quality of life indexes than we do, counting with lower child mortality rate, better general health, longer life expectation, etc. So save yourself the asinine talk about ‘people suffering’. We are suffering more here.

      For every Finland that’s struggling, there’s a Denmark, a Norway, and many other examples that are doing just fine. You decided to single out 1 example out of 10 better ones– all of them still performing better than we are. That is typical dishonest, low IQ drone regurgitation of misinformation. Try doing some basic research into history and world economics instead of licking the boots of people that do not have your best interests at mind.

      • Moreover, the resigned government was a right-wing government that couldn’t manage the cost, not unlike the current government that just increased the projected deficit by tens of trillions of dollars in inane tax cuts. The failure of Finland’s right wing government has been succeeded with favoritism towards Finland’s Social Democratic party.

        Sounds familiar? That’s right, Finland is looking towards people like Bernie because it turns out that these neoliberal right-wing people have a habit of ruining everything. Check out the recession that we’re heading towards here in the US.

  • Still can’t believe anyone takes this old fraud seriously. If these grifters drove dollar-ninety-eight Burlington College into bankruptcy with fraud, nepotism and bad judgement, just imagine what they’ll do to the federal government.

    • A “Government that works for all, and not just the few”, has already been established. By the Founding Fathers of this country. We simply need to follow the laws we already have…..

  • I always appreciate people who have done nothing but suck at the public/government teat tell us how to live our lives.

    • You mean people like Donald Trump, whose fortune was built out of sucking out NY taxpayer money and using bankruptcy loopholes to stiff hardworking americans out of their pay and seizing the value of out their work for himself? OH, that’s how all of these neoliberal republican and democrat politicians made all their money– stiffing the tax payer and never producing anything of value or making the changes for the people.

      You know what I actually appreciate, when intelligent and well educated people that actually know what they’re talking about and have our, the working class, best interest in mind tell us how to live our lives. Instead of letting all of us know that you’re misinformed and uneducated, unsubscribe from your corrupt mind-control news organization that will keep feeding you asinine platitudes and misinformation to sway public opinion so that they can keep sucking off dollars out of you.

      Check out Joe Rogan’s podcast where he interviews Bernie Sanders and join the millions of conservatives like you that realized they have been misled by dishonest media and news networks about politicians like Bernie Sanders that are legitimately trying to make a better change for the world, and not chasing a dollar.

  • You are doing a great job of trying to sway people to a view that you seem to hold dear. I don’t agree with your views but I hope you can see the good some people are actively trying to achieve im im t world rather then the stifling of progress that we see many times.

  • There is a lot of name calling and insults in your comments right now regarding Bernie Sanders. Are you going to correct this?

  • Thank you “seasoned journalists” for coming out of the woodwork to save America from scary Bernie’s Marxist ideals and writing such balanced political think pieces. This smear campaign of a website can’t be at all correlated to his rise in the polls right

  • This article calling Bernie names “red roots” goes against the standards of this site. Oh and by the way, no amount of slander will effect the minds who actually know the truth

  • I find your facts lacking and your tone agenda driven. As for the rule against name calling in your comments. I think you do plenty of that, so should your articles not have been posted?

  • RW I SEE. Sorry, I prefer the truth. Not regurgitations of Fox or the like. No matter how many facts you see, you just can’t admit republicans Republicans have failed you. How many of you going to decline SS and disability? Social programs. Roads, military, cops, firemen., socialism.

  • So who exactly is funding you? Because if you are not biased towards anything Bernie spoke about, everything would be perfectly logical and humane – just as it is with many working-class Americans that do their own research outside of their 9-5, and sometimes 6-12.

  • Trying to paint Bernie as some evil socialist villian is just pathetic, you are already living in a half socialist country like every other developed country in the world. He is not trying to get rid of the capitalist economy which all the upper class so desperately want to cling to, he just wants a society that works for the majority of Americans. I’m Irish and you guys are lucky to have someone with genuine intentions on making your lives better. Let him do it!!!!

  • Bernie is conceptualizing a new blend of capitalism and socialism to create a more egalitarian U.S. in line with Constitutional values. Why do you insist on implying he is some sort of 50s commie? If we cannot grow as a nation focused on for, of and by the people we are finished as anything resembling a democratic country. Change is inevitable LET’S GET ON WITH IT in an organized, positive way to benefit the MAJORITY of the people, OK?

  • Extreme capitalism is just as bad as extreme socialism.
    That is why it two party started was set up, to balance out one tendency or the other.
    Now, one party, the extreme capitalist party, wishes to stamp out any hint of social programs to help the poor. They wish to turn over everything to the rich, and leave the poor to suffer or die.

  • All that coming from a multimillionaire. And what people seem to forget is these are the people that where lobby by corporations to create loopholes in our tax laws to there benefit. And Sanders flys around on a private jet so much for the climate.

  • Dont have to look beyond the US postal service or DMV to defeat his communist dream…

  • You guys are a joke, there was no insight in this article and I wish I had not wasted my time humoring this site. I will not recommend this site to anyone that I know. Shame on you and may God forgive you, because I don’t have the patience nor the capacity to forgive this foolishness myself.

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