The Trumps seem quite uncomfortable by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announcing that he would run for president. This weekend on Twitter, Donald Trump Jr. freaked out about a newly recirculated clip of Sanders and his wife Jane praising specific aspects of the societal system employed by the then-Soviet Union after a visit to the country in the late 1980’s. In Trump Jr.’s ranting, he even shared a conventionally Trump-ian, outlandish nickname for the Senator — “Breadline Bernie,” implying that the high-profile leftist would send Americans down a path towards standing in breadlines if president.
Trump Jr. ranted:
‘Breadline Bernie would like everyone to know that, sure, Communism may have killed millions of people in the USSR, but don’t worry because their children’s puppetry was amazing! (Seriously, just watch!) #BreadlineBernie’
Breadline Bernie would like for everyone to know that, sure, Communism may have killed millions of people in the USSR, but don’t worry because their children’s puppetry was amazing! (Seriously, just watch!) #BreadlineBernie https://t.co/cEtq5vlaSt
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 23, 2019
In the video clip Trump Jr. referenced, Sen. Sanders praises the quality of the Moscow public transportation system and that of the city’s cultural undertakings. His wife Jane focused on that latter point, expressing admiration for the manner in which the Soviets intertwined their cultural life with their lives overall, saying that something like performing with an orchestra would be part of citizens’ work rather than something they did completely on their own and would, say, need to take time off for.
Nowhere in the clip do either Bernie or Jane dismiss the issues with the Soviet system. The first part of the sentence Trump Jr. shared — “Sure, Communism may have killed millions of people in the USSR, but” — simply does not correspond to what either the Senator or his wife actually say in the clip.
Still, that didn’t stop Trump Jr. from pushing the line anyway.
An implication seems to be that Sanders would enact Communism similar to that which he witnessed in the Soviet Union in the United States should he be elected president. To be clear, however, Sanders pushes for “democratic socialism,” a decentralized version of collective ideology in which power is put in the hands of the people. He’s not trying to be a dictator, for god’s sake.
The Trumps have specifically railed against socialism plenty of times before, to be sure. During his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump touted Venezuela as an example of why the United States must never be a “socialist country,” despite the fact that in reality, the country doesn’t practice close to an actual version of socialism.
Bolivia, meanwhile, does practice close to an actual version of socialism, and in 2017, the country was 42 percent richer than when it’s current chief executive took office. After President Evo Morales took office in 2006 and “redistributed income through various government programs, raised minimum wages substantially, and nationalized industries such as telecommunications, oil and electricity,” even poverty fell by 42 percent.
These points don’t seem to matter much to the Trump team, however, which has long preferred fearmongering. Ironically enough, large portions of Americans support a recently floated, socialism-leaning Democratic policy proposal of raising taxes on the super-rich. A majority overall support targeting those making more than $10 million a year.
In other words, the “socialism is bad!” talking point might not be what the Trumps need heading into 2020.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot