Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton’s main opponent on the Democratic side of Campaign 2016, is a demagogue.
My Democratic friends balk at this, contending the term better applies to Donald Trump. But, no matter how different these men may be, their differences don’t mean that only one of them can be a demagogue.
Perhaps demagogues of very different stripes.
A demagogue (from French “demagogue,” derived from the Greek “demos,” for “people”) is, my dictionary says, a political leader in a democracy who appeals to the emotions, fears, prejudices, and ignorance of the lower socioeconomic classes in order to gain power.
The charge makes sense because Sen. Sanders has made wealth and income inequality his main issue, and because he relentlessly attacks higher-income Americans as a source of America’s current woes — whose wealth Sanders targets as the cure (provided it goes through his hands, first).
True, he appeals mostly to college-educated middle-class folks and bohos. But he uses the code-phrase “everyday working Americans” as a wedge, and the poor as an innocent shield, to advance what are, in fact, elitist solutions.
Like most self-professed socialists the Senator is only faux-prole, workingman manqué. Intellectuals, collegians and government workers have long dominated the socialist movement.
Though Sanders rightly attacks the plutocracy, he never attacks the government half of the plutocrats’ power structure. Never admits that unions are plutocratic in nature, too.
Instead, he appeals to the emotions, fears, prejudice and ignorance of those who, against all evidence, see more government only as a solution and never as a problem.
Par for the socialist course. That, remember, is a word Sanders chose.
For its historic demagogic appeal.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.