Needless to say, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to predict how historians will write about contemporary political figures. However, it sure seems that some, if not most historians, have a proclivity to rewrite history when it comes to certain leaders with whom they share common political views. Case in point, Che Guevara is almost universally celebrated by historians and popular culture as a well-meaning revolutionary, instead of the Marxist murdering monster he actually was.
When it comes to documenting the socialist quest of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ two failed presidential bids, we should hope historians do the right thing and accurately tell the story instead of glossing over it because they sympathize or agree with Sanders’ socialist vision.
In short, Sanders has run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination twice, even though he is not a member of the Democratic Party, and both times he has not achieved his goal. Why, you might ask, has Sanders not been able to secure the nomination to run for the world’s most important job? The answer is simple: Americans, for the most, still abhor socialism.
Although the media and academia are in love with Sanders’ brand of socialism, so-called “democratic socialism,” the record shows (twice, in fact) that most Americans (namely Democrats) have rejected Sanders’ socialist platform.
When historians begin to write books about the Sanders era, they ought to present his radical agenda, which was dismissed by Americans, in its true light. First of all, although he claims to be a progressive, he is anything but. Rather, Sanders’ agenda is (or should we say was) the antithesis of progress.
Second, in Sanders’ democratic socialist world, the U.S. would completely regress to a governing philosophy that has failed spectacularly every single time it has been attempted.
Third, if historians are honest and fact-based, they will highlight the absurdity of Sanders’ policy proposals. Sanders’ platform, which included “Medicare for All,” the Green New Deal, “free” college, etc., would have, if ever enacted, crashed the U.S. economy and fundamentally transformed the ethos of America from liberty and individual responsibility to centralization and collectivism.
Just as historians have noted the misguided policies and un-American principles of other failed presidential candidates, they should apply the same rigor and truth to Sanders.
As a former history teacher, sadly, I can say that far too many historians do not always meet this bar. In my experience, radical socialists such as Huey Long, who ran for president in 1936, have been unfairly portrayed by historians as well-intended progressives instead of power-thirsty politicians pushing policies that divide the nation and foster class warfare.
And this is how Sanders should be portrayed in history books. Bernie Sanders is a hypocrite. He is a multimillionaire with multiple homes who lives a life of luxury. Sanders travels across the country on private jets while always telling us how terrible fossil fuels are. Sanders pays as little in taxes as possible yet always tells his followers that the wealthy (which he is) do not pay enough in taxes.
Sanders was never a new-age progressive with a list of policies that could have made America better. He was just another socialist running on a platform of failed ideas. Even worse, he is an authoritarian who is the embodiment of Do as I say, not as I do.
Unfortunately, I fear that many historians will portray Sanders as simply ahead of his time. They will chalk up his failed campaigns to any reason other than the fact that Americans rejected his socialist nightmare vision.
Yet, fortunately, the true tale of Sanders’ failed presidential bids will live forever. As they say, history is written by the victors, and victory was never achieved by Sanders or any of his fellow democratic socialists.
And that is the heart of the story historians should emphasize when penning books about Bernie Sanders’ legacy.
Chris Talgo is an editor at The Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank based in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.