It is a conventional wisdom of the 2016 election to pair Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders as “outsiders” and “populists,” as though they were parallel rebels against a common political “establishment.” There is truth in the observation but it is a superficial one that obscures the most important choice that voters will be making in this election season. The choice that even many conservatives seem to be missing is this: Bernie Sanders is a radical reactionary who is at war with America’s political and economic system, while Trump for all his flaws is a product of that system and is motivated by a desire to defend it – to “make America great again,” as he is constantly reminding us.
You will never hear those words coming out of Sanders’ mouth, as he and his followers believe the America that Trump thinks was great once, is in fact a racist, sexist, warmongering oppressor. And that is all the difference in the world. Trump may be sloppy with the facts, careless in his formulations and undisciplined in his personal attacks, but he is not – as some intellectuals on the right seem to think - out of his mind. Nor will he, if elected president, deport 11 or 20 million illegals, or bar Muslims from entering the United States. But he will build the wall and secure our borders, and he will develop a vetting system for Muslims from the terrorist Middle East where today there is none.
Bernie Sanders is a lifelong member of the anti-American left who supported the Communist enemy during the Cold War. He is not a democratic socialist (a contradiction in terms) whose model is Denmark. He is a pro-Castro, pro-Sandinista small “c” communist, who honey-mooned in the Soviet Union when it was still a prison camp and has faithfully supported every communist cause embraced by his radical comrades.
To belabor the obvious but often overlooked: Socialism is theft. To redistribute incomes that have been rightfully earned requires using government coercion to take away those rights. In America that would amount to the coercion of tens of millions of individuals whom the government would arbitrarily declare “rich.” This is Sanders’ primary domestic agenda - a 19 trillion dollar bucket list which ignores the fact that $20 trillion has already been squandered on the “War on Poverty” with no noticeable positive result. That is because the poverty problem in America is not economic but cultural. With the exception of those years when job-killing progressives are in power, opportunities abound in this country for those able and willing to take advantage of them.
Just as progressives view the Affordable Care Act as a stepping stone on the way to a “single payer” state monopoly of health care, so socialism for them is only a stepping stone on the way to communism. The difference between socialism and communism is only the speed with which markets and individual liberties are destroyed. For examples of the devastation that socialist politicians and their “solutions” inflict, one need only look to Greece and Detroit or Cuba and Baltimore. These are the domestic futures that Sanders proposes.
America has defended freedom and enforced the peace through three world conflicts, but in Sander’s eyes America is actually the source of global conflagrations. His prescription for a world in chaos that is the direct consequence of Obama’s appeasements and retreats is more of the same. “America Come Home” was the slogan of the 1972 McGovern campaign and has been the familiar theme of the Democrats ever since. A vote for Sanders would be adding a signature to the suicide pact, which is the left’s cherished wish for this country.
Trump showed himself recklessly ill-informed on the causes of the Iraq War during the South Carolina debate. George Bush did not lie to lead us into war – that is, in fact, a Democrat lie. The Iraq War was about Saddam’s defiance of a UN Security Council ultimatum to disclose and destroy his Weapons of Mass Destruction. Contrary to an enormously destructive political myth, the WMDs did exist – including 2250 Sarin-gas-filled-rockets and chemical weapons in storage tanks that Saddam buried and are now in the possession of ISIS. Finally, the destabilization of Iraq and the Middle East are entirely a consequence of Obama’s policies not George Bush’s as Trump falsely maintained. Trump’s misreading of the Iraq War is a serious political fault. But it is the result of ignorance rather than malice against his country, which is what motivates the left. Whatever one thinks of Trump, he is justly hated by the Sanders radicals, who understand that his intentions make him their nemesis not their twin.
David Horowitz is the founder of the Horowitz Freedom Center and the author of Progressive Racism, which will be published by Encounter Books in March.