By: Abigail Calandra | Writer
Though the 2020 election is still two years away, Republicans and Democrats have been advertising the rise of politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, among others, as a symbol for the overthrow of capitalism.
The main culprit of the resurgence of the “Red Scare” is GOP pollster Frank Luntz. He appeared on the Fox “MediaBuzz” program with Howard Kurtz, stating the usual scare tactic – Americans are going commie! Luntz blames the media for being “soft on socialism” and favorable to politicians- Sanders, Warren, and AOC that blatantly expose the flaws of capitalism. This couldn’t be more untrue. The press has been openly bagging on Sanders for years. Due to fear of litigation, business exposes remain out of the limelight and have been for decades. Corruption of the big corporations stays hidden in the shadows; from the child labor practices that make our consumer goods to pollution. It’s rare for news organizations to have a labor reporter.
The most astonishing segment of the Luntz interview occurred when he predicted that Sanders will likely be the 2020 Democratic nominee and Republicans should be rooting for that because “Sanders cannot appeal to overall mainstream American people.”
These attacks on Sanders are not limited to the conservative media, Colorado governor and Democrat presidential candidate John Hickenlooper went after Sanders while in New Hampshire, nonchalantly- well, not really. In early May, he stated, “who would have imagined the Koch brothers and Donald Trump could help resuscitate the discredited ideas of Karl Marx and Joseph Stalin?”. He later apologized for the statement, further explaining that he believes Sanders’ ideology will likely damage the private sector along with the working people inside it.
“Bernie’s ideas scare [politicians] and suggest that he’s a ‘communist’ and he wants utopian equality and they think it will destroy our country’s values.” said junior, Eli Winn. “Or they call him a socialist because it generally has a negative connotation which can push his candidacy down.”
The goal of the attacks on Sanders is to push for the idea that a vote for him and his policies is a vote to overthrow free enterprise.
“I don’t think classifying Sanders as a socialist is a completely correct term,” said junior Alan Swan. “Instead, someone who holds socialist ideals that he is attempting to implement into a capitalist system.”
The media demonizes Sanders as some creepy commie, but in reality, he would have been considered a tepid Republican in the 1950’s when the Red Scare was at its peak. The irony of this whole situation is that during Dwight Eisenhower’s presidency ideas like state-subsidized mortgages, government-aided tuition, and socialized medicine were considered relatively mainstream. The top tax bracket was 91 percent, and there were 10,000 taxpayers in 1958 who paid 81 percent or higher.
At this point, it’s too early to tell whether Bernie Sanders is the answer to the nation’s problems, or if he will even be the Democratic nominee. The media has caused us to believe that demanding more politically will result in a disaster, but demanding fairness and competence from politicians shouldn’t be such a radical idea.