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Bernie Sanders races to be the first socialist to win Democratic nomination

After his victory in the 2020 Nevada Caucus, Bernie Sanders now appears to be the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, which would make him the first socialist to appear on the ticket for a major party.

The University of Memphis’ Hardin Chair of Journalism, Professor Otis Sanford, who has for over four decades directed national political coverage at the Pittsburg Press, penned the weekly viewpoint column for The Commercial Appeal, and provided daily political and public affairs commentary for WREG-TV Channel 3, says the millionaire Vermont senator’s chances are real.

“I certainly believe he [Sanders] is the clear frontrunner,” Sanford said.

According to Sanford, the only chance of stopping the Vermont senator’s stranglehold on the nomination is Saturday’s South Carolina primary. Sanford said only Bloomberg or former Vice President Biden—who is favored in South Carolina— convincingly defeating Sanders in South Carolina by a wide margin (such as 40% to 10%, Sanders’ approximate margin of victory in Nevada) would make the democratic primary race competitively “wide open again,” but, if Sanders—who’s promising voters lots of free stuff— wins or is even a close second, then “he is marching towards the nomination,” Sanford said.

Sanford said that, while there is lots of confusion about what socialism means today, Senator Sanders is not shying away from the label.

“He calls himself a socialist, and a democratic-socialist, but nobody really knows what that means,” Sanford said.

According to Sanford, “socialism” is a difficult, divided concept to explain depending on who you ask. He said to older people, the term evokes dictatorships and authoritarian regimes. Sanford said while fewer younger people hold that historical perspective, to the aging demographic old enough to remember the cold war, socialism is an oppressive system that drastically empowers government control over citizens life—especially the means of production— compared to the individual liberty inherent in the American way of life, where citizens are free to choose their careers and keep the money they earn.

“Older people think of the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba when they hear the word ‘socialism,’” Sanford said.

While Sanford predicts Republicans will continue to hammer the “socialism” label, he likewise recalls that conservatives also called the 44th and first African-American U.S. President, Barack Hussein Obama a socialist, who went on to win office not once, but twice. According to Sanford, the question is whether people will tune out when they hear the term “socialist.”

Regardless, Sanford said that some democrats have a strong fear that Sanders would be disastrous for the party, suggesting the American electorate in a general election may not be ready for a radical Leftist proposing wealth confiscation. 

Former Office of George W. Bush aide to the Chief-of-Staff Harrison Horowitz estimates that after Super Tuesday, more than forty percent of the delegates will have been awarded. According to Horowitz, Sanders holds a substantial lead in California, a state which awards a huge amount of delegates.

“He [Sanders] will have an insurmountable lead soon,” Horowitz said.

Horowitz said there are too many moderate candidates in the race, which is fracturing the moderate wing of the party, while the liberal wing is fully behind the millionaire senator from Vermont, who recently was attacked for having three homes, including a waterfront summer cabin appraised between $500,000-600,000.

“Sander’s super-liberal base is 35-40% of the democratic electorate. The remaining 60% is more moderate, but unfortunately for them, is split between multiple candidates,” Horowitz said.

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