- The Democratic Socialists of America have officially endorsed Bernie Sanders for president in 2020.
- “Sanders is the only democratic socialist running for president in 2020, and the only socialist in American history with a serious chance of winning the presidency,” the organisation said in a statement on Friday.
- Sanders on Monday said he needs to do a “better job” explaining what socialism means as Republicans try to link him to the chaos in Venezuela.
The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) have officially endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders for president in 2020, referring to the Vermont senator as the “only socialist” in US history with a “serious chance” of winning the presidency.
“Sanders is the only democratic socialist running for president in 2020, and the only socialist in American history with a serious chance of winning the presidency,” the organisation said in a statement on Friday.
The statement added, “Sanders’ platform – Green New Deal, Medicare for All, College for All, ending cash bail, strengthening unions, and a living wage – would transform American society by ending the worst forms of poverty and inequality while empowering workers to fight for even more.”
The DSA also endorsed Sanders in 2016, and in recent weeks signalled that it would follow suit in 2020.
“Bernie Sanders is part of an incredible revival of resistance to billionaires and their corporations,” DSA national director Maria Svart said in a statement on the organisation’s official endorsement.
“But even as we endorse Sanders, we know that no single president can do this alone: only by building a massive, multi-racial working-class movement for the long term can we fight back against the capitalist class. We just have to remember: we have the power if we stand together,” Svart added.
Sanders is a self-declared democratic socialist, unapologetically embracing the term “socialist” despite the fact it continues to have negative connotations for many Americans.
With that said, Sanders recently said he needs to do a “better job” explaining socialism.
“I think what we have to do, and I will be doing it, is to do a better job maybe in explaining what we mean by socialism – democratic socialism,” Sanders said on NPR’s “Morning Edition” on Monday. “Obviously, my right-wing colleagues here want to paint that as authoritarianism and communism and Venezuela, and that’s nonsense.”
“What [democratic socialism] means … is that in the wealthiest country in the history of the world we can provide a decent standard of living for all about people … That’s not Utopian dreaming; that is a reality. Health care for all can be done, and we can save money in doing it,” Sanders went on to say, contending that what he’s really advocating for is a “vibrant democracy.”
Recent polls have shown Democrats, and particularly young voters, are warming up to socialism.
But a majority of Republicans continue to have a negative view of socialism, and President Donald Trump has seized upon this in his 2020 campaign messaging by linking Democrats to the chaos in Venezuela brought on by Nicolas Maduro’s socialist, authoritarian government.
In the 1970s, Sanders was a hardline socialist, supporting the nationalization of major industries as a leading member of a “radical political party.” His views are less extreme these days, but he still supports strong government involvement in issues such as health care and education.
The DSA’s philosophy is well to the left of Sanders’ platform. For example, the DSA is unabashed about moving toward a society in which workers have control of the economy. Sanders espouses policies that favour working class rights, but is not quite as radical in his rhetoric as the DSA.
A relatively small organisation with 56,000 members, the DSA’s national profile has been growing in part because of the swell of media coverage surrounding Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York – a member of the DSA who volunteered on Sanders’ 2016 campaign.
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