The Democratic Party presidential race these days appears to be tilting toward Sen. Bernie Sanders.
It could turn into a runaway if Bernie wins by solid margins in the rapidly approaching Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. His chances in the Feb. 22 Nevada Democratic caucuses, which are traditionally dominated by the unions, aren’t bad either.
A lot of people are alarmed, not the least of whom is Hillary Clinton, who branded Bernie as “disliked” in a new documentary and is reported as having the “urge” to run herself. (When has she not?) More substantively, mainstream Democrats, even those who lean pretty far left, such as New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait, are concerned they could be headed for “McGovern II”—in other words, a blowout.
I am pleased, not just because of the potential for an electoral college Armageddon that may or may not take place, or even because such an election would quickly put the bogus impeachment trial in the rearview mirror, but because, for the first time in decades, we would have a true election of opposites.
This wouldn’t be a so-called “uni-party” election resulting in minor differences in the tax code, as it usually does.
Trump versus Sanders would be capitalism versus socialism!
And Sanders’s version of socialism is the real deal, and not socialism “lite,” amounting to a couple of instances of tweaked welfare legislation. Bernie is the man who chose to have his honeymoon in the Soviet Union and who still refuses to brand Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro a despot.
Trump, of course, is a businessman-turned-president. There have been others, but, as never before, he is capitalism personified.
It’s high time that something this serious, this contrasting, were put before the public. I say, bring it on.
The battle would be epic. Sanders has remarkably devoted supporters who have been with him for two elections. His fundraising capabilities are legendary. He is the master of the grassroots, a leftwing rock star who overcame a coronary, seemingly in minutes. In a very real sense, Bernie will have deserved his nomination.
The challenge to Trump wouldn’t be simple. Merely calling Sanders “Crazy Bernie” would not suffice. Indeed, as yesterday’s strategy, it could well backfire by seeming to trivialize important distinctions.
Socialism is taken seriously by a large portion of America’s youth over several generations now. They have been taught that way from kindergarten through doctorate by an educational system that is largely socialistic in structure and ideology.
The media has reinforced this viewpoint, as has the entertainment industry. Would Robert DeNiro, Rob Reiner, et al., be supporting Bernie over Donald, despite that being contrary to their class interest? Well, we know.
Whose side would The New York Times and The Washington Post finally be on if it were Sanders versus Trump, not to mention the networks? They may have misgivings about Bernie, some of these outlets anyway, but their entrenched enmity for the president would undoubtedly prevail. They would “give socialism a shot.”
Trump will have to counteract all this. He’ll have to explain to the public why the ”fairness” and “social justice” that’s seemingly so attractive in socialist rhetoric is misleading and that capitalism is a better way to uplift the lower and middle classes, and that societal wealth isn’t a zero-sum game.
This won’t be easy for Donald—as a businessman, he’s a doer, not an educator—but he will have to learn how to do it, to slow down and perhaps be a bit didactic. He should explain, as Friederich Hayek did over a half-century ago, why socialism so often leads to totalitarianism.
He owes that to all of us, especially our miseducated youth.
Timing, however, will be on Trump’s side. This is a unique moment in history to resolve this eternal conflict, at least temporarily. Via capitalism, America has a boom economy, with salaries among the poor and middle class growing faster than for the upper classes. We are largely at peace and have been for a while.
Trump would win this epic battle, and it will be better for the country in the long run.
Epoch Times senior political analyst Roger L. Simon’s new novel, “The GOAT,” is available in multiple formats on Amazon. He tweets @rogerlsimon.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.