Candidate Bernie Sanders

At least one yard in the local area sports a Bernie Sanders for President campaign sign.

Yet, Missouri Democrats overall prefer Hillary Clinton 53 percent to Sanders’ 25 percent according to Public Policy Polling on August 11, 2015. BSanders

Sanders ahead elsewhere

Sanders’ popularity is a surprise to many. A recent New Hampshire poll shows him ahead of Hillary Clinton 46 percent to 30 percent and ahead of Joe Biden with 14 percent although Biden is not [yet] in the race.

WMUR Channel 9 report of September 25, 2015 says Sanders’ supporters like his ideas in general, his honesty and his support for the middle class.

What is Democratic socialism?

DemSocSanders espouses Democratic socialism defined as: a form of socialism … where the ownership and control of the means of production, capital, land, property, etc., is by the community as a whole — combined with a democratic government.

“Means of production” refers (in Marxist theory) to the raw materials and means of labour (tools, machines, etc.) employed in the production process.

“Ownership and control” under socialism according to Merriam-Webster refers to a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state.

Ha-Joon Chang and Robert Rowthorn wrote in The Role of the State in Economic Change (1995) that “…in socialism, the state is the most powerful figure that can reshape a society,” in contrast to the state in capitalism being the weaker variable that “lets the state dynamically change itself”.

Sixty-eight other socialists article in July this year entitled “Sanders 1 of 69 Democrat socialists in Congress,” explained the “chief organizing goal” of the Democratic Socialists of America “…has been to work within the Democratic Party and remove the stigma attached to “socialism” in the eyes of most Americans.” Further, the

Democratic Party is something the public understands, and association with it takes the edge off. Stressing our Democratic Party work will establish some distance from the radical subculture and help integrate you to the milieu of the young liberals.

Workplace Democracy Act

In his September 7 Newsletter, Sanders wrote:

The surest path to the middle class for American workers is with unions. The security and strength of a union job means that workers can have good pay, health care, and a voice at work.

He will propose legislation this fall as the Workplace Democracy Act. Sanders believes the middle class is disappearing as a direct result of limitations on the right to form unions and to bargain collectively.

The Act he proposes would:

  • Ensure companies can’t prevent workers from getting a first contract.
  • Make it easier for workers to form unions through a majority sign up process.
  • Strengthen the enforcement when corporations break the law.

Sanders’ other campaign themes

In his August 30, 2015 Newsletter, Sanders listed his key campaign issues as:

  • Income and wealth inequality
  • Jobs and income
  • Campaign finance reform
  • Climate change
  • College affordability
  • Health care
  • Poverty
  • Tax reform

Just another $18 trillion…

Sanders says the $18 trillion the Wall Street Journal calculates to be the cost of his programs is over-exaggerated. A single-payer system under Medicare and higher taxes on the wealthy will reduce that amount, he said.

Stephen Wolf of the Daily Kos believes America will not elect him because Sanders as a “socialist”is too radical to win the 2016 election. Nevertheless, Wolf opines:

Ultimately, we should want a democratic socialist government to shape society for the benefit of all.

Socialism and the Bible

Some Christians believe socialism is biblical. Morgan Guyton, Associate Pastor of the United Methodist Church in Burke, Va., wrote:

…But regarding those aspects of human need like health care and housing that require greater resources than even large megachurches can muster, I don’t see why Christians should fight tooth and nail to prevent God from using our secular government to provide for these needs.

Dr. Joel McDurmon writing for American Vision expressed an opposing view in an August 15, 2015 article:

The measures are socialistic if by socialism you mean private application of charity by individuals, families, and churches in order to benefit the poor and needy of society. It is emphatically not socialism if by that label you mean taxation and redistribution enforced by the State’s gun. Big difference.

Images under Creative Commons license
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