At a Venezuela Freedom Rally in Washington this week, people who escaped the horrific conditions of socialist Venezuela told reporters that Americans must reject any politicians who pledge to make the country better through the false dreams of socialism. Interviewed by Campus Reform, the former victims of socialist-totalitarian rule said that there was one Democrat in particular that voters must be wary of.
“Bernie Sanders is your enemy. Do not ever, ever get involved with this individual or any of the other socialists,” one man told the site.
“People are eating from trash bags in the streets,” a woman said of conditions in her home country.
“In Venezuela, there is no food, no medicine, education. No, nothing, nothing,” another woman added.
“It is not a game,” one activist said. “It is not the route to go, it is not possible, it is not feasible, don’t fall for it.”
Another: “It doesn’t work the way the book says. Socialism is too good to be true.”
Yet another former Venezuelan citizen said that the United States had triumphed specifically because it had rejected the false promises of socialism.
“This is a beautiful country, it’s the best in the world, it’s the most powerful – and we didn’t get there with socialism or anything close to that,” he said.
The topic is, of course, highly relevant at a time when a self-described (democratic) socialist has won the first two Democratic presidential primaries. With even the Democratic establishment beginning to freak out about the prospect of a Sanders nomination, it’s time for the rest of us to take seriously the possibility that he might be the guy to go up against Trump in the fall. And while it’s easy to sit back and say, “Oh, America would never,” let’s not forget that’s what everyone said about Trump in 2016. Don’t underestimate the power of a highly-energized base.
There are good signs. 53% of Americans said in a Gallup poll this week that they would never vote for a socialist candidate for president. Only 76% of Democrat voters said they would. If those numbers were to hold up in a general election, Trump would sail to victory in a landslide.
That said, Sanders spends a lot of time making careful distinctions from his “Nordic” brand of socialism and the kind that has destroyed so many lives and countries over the last 100 years. If he can convince enough voters that what he calls democratic socialism has nothing to do with Mao or the U.S.S.R or Venezuela, then we could be in trouble.
We’re far from panicking at this point; we’re still confident that Trump can crush whatever candidate emerges victorious from the Democratic primaries.
But we’d be lying if we didn’t say that having someone as radical as Sanders in the position he’s in…we’ll it’s got us chewing our nails more than usual.