On NPR, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne saw it as positive: “Let’s list two names who we don’t get to talk about, Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas. This is the most serious socialist candidacy for president since they ran. But Bernie Sanders has a long list of particulars that he wants to put on the table, and I think by shifting the campaigns to economics, he will generally help Democrats.”
Yes, the media elite, which eternally predicts the Tea Party and the Christian conservatives will destroy the Grand Old Party, could only see better days ahead for Democrats with a self-described socialist contender in the race.
Sanders reminds conservatives of that appendix in Milton Friedman’s 1980 book “Free to Choose” where he underlines that most of the 1928 Socialist Party platform of Norman Thomas was already part of the American federal establishment when President Reagan began his tenure.
The Democrats distance themselves from the word “socialist,” but continue marching the country toward its definition.
The usually servile Chris Matthews has offered one important contribution in recent months by asking leading Democrats to name the difference between a Democrat and a socialist, only to watch them babble and bumble over their barely suppressed ideology.
DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz tried to change the subject to the difference between Democrats and “right-wing extremist” Republicans. Sen. Charles Schumer protested, “I’m not going to get into it.” Hillary said, “You’d have to ask him [Sanders].”
Journalists like Karen Tumulty at The Washington Post have described the Democratic base as torn between their idealistic (socialist) heart for Sanders and their poll-calculating head favoring Clinton. So the more that the garbage barge of ethical scandals casts a pall over Clinton’s image, the more tempting it is for Democrats to toss out the caution and go crazy for the capital-S socialist.