Over the years, presidential hopeful Sen. Bernard Sanders has often said he is a “democratic socialist.” In recent days, the Vermont lawmaker has retooled that description, telling National Public Radio that his version of democratic socialism simply means a “vibrant democracy.” More importantly, Mr. Sanders currently enjoys lead status in the race; multiple polls consistently put him in first place — prompting some observers to explore the greater implications.
“Is he really a socialist, or is he a communist? What is socialist about what he wants? Isn’t he more of a communist?” asked CNBC host Jim Cramer during an on-air discussion Thursday.
“It’s a fine line. And it’s authoritarianism either way,” his fellow host Joe Kernen replied.
The bold discussion was not overlooked by Republican analysts.
“Sanders wants a total government takeover of health care that not only eliminates private health insurance, it will increase taxes on anyone making over $29,000. He wants to eliminate drug companies, and he has proposed a government takeover of energy production. He also wants a federal jobs guarantee and he supports the authoritarian Green New Deal. Furthermore, Sanders wants to use abortion to control population growth,” says Steve Guest, rapid response director for the Republican National Committee.
“He also honeymooned with communists in the Soviet Union, and praised communist Fidel Castro, who imprisoned and executed thousands, for his ‘revolution in terms of values.’ And Bernie defends socialist dictators like Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro and invites Marxists calling for the end of capitalism to kick off his rallies. Bottom line: Bernie Sanders’ radical agenda will destroy America’s capitalistic society as we know it,” Mr. Guest concludes.
Do voters care? Not necessarily.
“If he were to become the nominee, about half of all Americans say it makes no difference in their vote that Sanders is a socialist, including about 7 in 10 Democrats,” a new Washington Post/ABC News poll reports. “In a measure of how Democrats see Sanders as a candidate against President Trump, 72% say they believe he would defeat the president.”
THE BLOOMBERG BUZZ
He made his first appearance to mixed reviews in a Democratic presidential debate that drew a record 19 million viewers for host NBC/MSNBC. Nonetheless, newly minted White House hopeful Michael R. Bloomberg already has a warning for voters who may swoon over Sen. Sanders and other potential nominees.
“Look. The real winner of the debate was Donald Trump,” Mr. Bloomberg told a crowd of fans in Utah just hours after he left the stage.
“I worry we may be on the way to nominating somebody who cannot win in November. If we choose a candidate who appeals to a small base like Sen. Sanders, it will be a fatal mistake. Voters don’t want empty talk, they want leadership. They don’t want hand waving and finger pointing, they want common sense ideas that can become real policy,” advised Mr. Bloomberg.
He got the most buzz in select media about his debate performance, garnering 103 individual mentions on the major morning shows which followed on CBS, ABC and NBC. A big deal? Could be. The aforementioned Mr. Sanders came in at a distant second with 27 mentions, Sen. Elizabeth Warren garnered 21 mentions, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg had 13, Sen. Amy Klobuchar got eight and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden had seven.
So says a new analysis from Media Matters, a nonprofit press watchdog. But media mentions don’t always translate into positive news.
“Prior to the Democratic debate on Wednesday, Mr. Bloomberg had roughly 2-1 odds to win the Democratic nominee,” says online bookmaker SportsBetting.ag. “Following the poor debate showing, Bloomberg is now listed at 4-1.”
THE DEMOCRATS, IN SUMMATION
From a GOP perspective, things are a little rickety across the aisle according to Kayleigh McEnany, press secretary of President Trump’s reelection campaign.
“The Democrat Party is in the midst of a full-scale meltdown. Americans are watching the party of JFK be torn apart by anti-job socialists and anti-worker globalists who want to control every aspect of Americans’ lives. This train wreck is nothing compared to what they would do to our country. None of these candidates will be able to go toe to toe with President Trump in November,” Ms. McEnany observes.
Fox News remains the most-watched network in the entire cable realm according to Nielsen ratings numbers, besting such non-news rivals such as Turner, HGTV and the History Channel with 3.2 million prime-time viewers. As it has been for 18 consecutive years, Fox News is the No. 1 cable news network, compared to CNN with 969,000 prime-time viewers, and MSNBC with 1.6 million.
Fox News, incidentally, will air a timely special on Sunday at 10 p.m. EST to mark the 25th anniversary of Iwo Jima, hosted by anchor Martha MacCallum. Her new book “Unknown Valor: A Story of Family, Courage & Sacrifice” traces her family’s experience with that pivotal event; the book will be released on Tuesday.
Fox Business Network, meanwhile, continues to outperform rival CNBC throughout the day and evening, claiming three of the top four programs on business TV last week, according to Nielsen. “Lou Dobbs Tonight” also remains the No. 1 business show for the 59th consecutive week according to Nielsen.
POLL DU JOUR
⦁ 63% of U.S. adults say the U.S. economy is “excellent” or “good”; 91% of Republicans, 56% of independents and 39% of Democrats agree.
⦁ 61% overall say the economy is “getting better rather than worse”; 92% of Republicans, 54% of independents and 34% of Democrats agree.
⦁ 49% overall approve of President Trump; 93% of Republicans, 43% of independents and 6% of Democrats agree.
⦁ 45% overall are satisfied with the way things are going in the country; 80% of Republicans, 38% of independents and 13% of Democrats agree.
⦁ 23% overall approve of Congress; 14% of Republicans, 27% of independents and 28% of Democrats agree.
Source: A Gallup poll of 1,028 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 3-16
⦁ Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin
© Copyright (c) 2020 News World Communications, Inc.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.