Bernie Sanders

The Good News Is That We Probably Won't Elect a Socialist. The Bad News Is That We Already Have, Many Times.

Americans probably don't want a president who will nationalize the means of production, but we're happy to keep electing ones who grow government spending.


So Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) has won the New Hampshire primary, after coming in an oh-so-close second place in the Iowa caucuses last week (where he actually won more total votes en route to silver than the declared winner). The bad news for him comes from a new Gallup poll asking whether Americans would vote for various types of candidates, including black ones, Jewish ones, female ones, ones over the age of 70, and more. Gallup finds:

Just one group tested—socialists—receives majority opposition. Less than half of Americans, 45%, say they would vote for a socialist for president, while 53% say they would not.

Even atheists, long a group shunned by voters, did better, with 60 percent of respondents saying godlessness would not be a problem (that's up from 45 percent in 2007). Worse still, Gallup notes that "last measured these attitudes, in 2019, the results were within a few percentage points of those found today." In fact, socialism seemed less a votekill back in 2016, when 47 percent of respondents said that they were willing to vote one in.

Still, Bernie's persistence and strong showing have centrist Democratic commentators seeing red. "To nominate Sanders would be insane," writes Jonathan Chait of New York magazine, who contends:

His vulnerabilities are enormous and untested. No party nomination, with the possible exception of Barry Goldwater in 1964, has put forth a presidential nominee with the level of downside risk exposure as a Sanders-led ticket would bring.

Yet among left-leaning Democrats, Sanders would represent nothing more than Democratic status quo. At Vox, Matthew Yglesias coos, "On the vast majority of issues, a Sanders administration would deliver pretty much the same policy outcomes as any other Democrat." The big exceptions, say Yglesias, are foreign policy and monetary policy, "where Sanders takes issue with an entrenched conventional wisdom that is deeply problematic."

Despite Sanders beating President Donald Trump in the averages of most head-to-head polls, only diehard Bernie bros seem fully confident that Vermont's self-declared socialist would go on to beat the president in the fall election (even Yglesias discounts recent polls, agreeing "it's a reasonable concern" that Sanders' edge would withstand "the sure-to-come cavalcade of attack ads from Trump").

That's putting it mildly. Progressives can claim that, despite surveys such as the new Gallup one, Americans really want "socialism," but there's a reason that no one as explicitly left as Sanders has been nominated—much less won—the presidency.

For libertarians, however, the reason gives cold comfort: Americans don't even need to leave the comfort of the Republican Party to get a spendthrift president who may not be a declared socialist but nonetheless grows the size, scope, and spending of the federal government. Leaving aside the question of whether a president's budget proposal has a chance of being enacted as is, spending under Trump has already skyrocketed and it will go even higher if he gets his 2021 spending plan approved. Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute calculates that inflation-adjusted federal spending would climb by 10 percent (not including interest costs) during his first four years in office. Using an alternative method that only uses "actual budget amounts for the 2020 fiscal year" and compares them to ones from 2016, The New York Times' Alicia Parlapiano and 

Americans may not want a socialist per se, especially one who promises to nationalize health care and create something approaching a single-payer system not only for K-12 education (we already effectively have that) but for higher education, too. But they seem totally ready to re-elect Donald Trump, whose approval rating has soared to as high as 50 percent in some recent polls.* And if it's not Trump or Sanders, it will be someone who goes along with spending more than what we are already spending, which is more than what we were spending a year ago.

CORRECTION: The original version of this story incorrectly stated President Trump's approval rating had reached 55 percent in recent polls. The correct figure is 50 percent, per several Rasmussen Reports surveys.

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  1. You need to headline better.

    1. Nick doesn’t seem to understand that Congress controls the Purse. Presidents do sign the budgets but it effectively doesnt matter if the Congressional vote is veto-proof.

      Now, I would be up for arguments that Presidents do pressure their Parties to increase spending.

      Trump has pushed for more military spending because he really feels and now knows first hand that 19 years of constant war have fucked up the US military capabilities. Trump would cut far more in other federal budget items to still lead to a net budget decrease.

      1. I am all for your farm crop insurance subsidy though.

  2. This is going to be fun, watching all the Trumpistas whine that Trump is not a socialist, that he doesn’t control the budget, it’s not his fault. Just like when the stock market dives, that’s not how you measure a good economy and it’s not Trump’s fault anyway; bu when the stock market climbs, it shows how good Trump is.

    1. Trump isn’t a socialist by any reasonable definition of the term. And the Congress controls the budget.

      Both of those things are true. The fact that you either don’t understand them or can’t accept reality as it is, is your problem. Are you too stupid to understand what is going on or just psychologically unable to do so?

      1. Nice! You skipped right over the other parts. Good job John, fucked up and lying as usual.

        I knew today would be fun.

        1. This is going to be fun, watching all the Trumpistas whine that Trump is not a socialist, that he doesn’t control the budget

          Those two things are facts. Again, are you too stupid to understand them or just unable to accept reality as it is? If not, then why does someone stating the truth bother you so much?

          The internet is a very poor medium to work out your psychological issues. You should seek more professional help.

          1. Lay it on thick, John, your pals are cheering you on from the sidelines. Go John Go!

            1. Pretending you didn’t get called out for your bullshit doesn’t convince anyone. You can’t gaslight people when what you said is right there in front of them. Just go away and stop embarrassing yourself.

              1. You still haven’t even admitted to what you left out, which most people call lying by omission. Go John Go!

                1. i *do* have a job…

                2. You mean this–

                  Just like when the stock market dives, that’s not how you measure a good economy and it’s not Trump’s fault anyway; bu when the stock market climbs, it shows how good Trump is.

                  Do you have cites of people saying that the stock market isn’t an economic indicator? Because I’m not recalling that as a widespread position held by the commentariat.

                  But you MUST have cites, right? Because you made such a stink about it–there’s no way you wouldn’t be able to back up what you’ve said.

                  And presidents most certainly DO affect the market. That fact gets talked about here as well. But–again, you absolutely must have examples of people claiming the opposite, right–prolific posters. Because that’s what you’re asserting.

                  And acting smug about.

                  So you’ve gotta have some really good shit, right, to jam in John’s face–because he pretty well left you standing there looking stupid so far. Trump isn’t a socialist, of any kind–and Congress controls the purse. Those are just facts.

                  So let’s have your–what is bound to be– amazing comeback.

                  1. ABC never has cites. He is the don Quixote of reason tilting at “trumpistas.” He will call anyone who points out how dumb he is a trumpista. He has never added actual value to a discussion.

            2. You are absolutely pathetic.

    2. This is going to be fun, watching all the TrumpistasObamaites whine that Trump Obama is not a socialist, that he doesn’t control the budget, it’s not his fault. Just like when the stock market dives, that’s not how you measure a good economy and it’s not Trump’sObama fault anyway; bu when the stock market climbs, it shows how good TrumpObama is.

      This was literally everyday for 8 years of the Obama presidency in the MSM. So much so they had to make up new metrics to cover for the malaise; like jobs create or saved.

      1. Yeah, it’s one of those things like spam where the spammer forgets to substitute the variables and your Subject: header reads “$NAME1 has a prize for you, $NAME2!!!”

        I understand voting for Trump as opposed to any Democrat these days, but to forget to hold your breath is … breath-taking forgetfulness.

        1. I understand voting for Trump as opposed to any Democrat these days, but to forget to hold your breath is … breath-taking forgetfulness.

          I don’t think you understand how the English language works much less understand why someone would or would not vote for Trump.

          You should try and learn how analogies and metaphors work before jumping into the deep end and trying to use them.

          1. Go John Go! I wonder where your buddies are, why they left you alone.

            1. Well, technically as President he doesn’t control the budget. He has to spend what Congress allocates; there’s already been a couple of Supreme Court decisions (Train v. City of New York and rejection of the Line Item Veto Act) and the Impoundment Control Act stating that the executive branch can’t just NOT spend the money. Cheney tried that with the V-22 back in the early 90s and got his pee-pee slapped. We also just had an entire impeachment trial based off of the contention that Trump illegally held back Congressionally allocated military aid to the Ukraine, and I know you weren’t asleep for that.

              Now, if you want to argue that Trump’s budgets are socialist through and through, that’s certainly arguable since they don’t eliminate funding for every social welfare program. The bigger issue is that, like it or not, these programs are quite popular

    3. FFS you’re a stupid twat. Trump isn’t a fucking socialist you drooling idiot.

      Stop threadshitting.

    4. “Just like when the stock market dives…….”?

      Well, I guess we’ll find out when that happens.


      1. The stock market tanks when profits start to slow or decline, it goes up either when profits are rising or they put hallucinagens in the drinking water like in the dotcom era.

        The President has some effect on that of course, but really the more control you give politicians over the economy the less likely it is to grow.

        I give the President more credit when he is sitting on his hands rather than thinking he can actively manage the economy. I did support Trumps business tax cut, but I oppose any further business or personal tax cuts.

        And I will also blame Sanders and Warren when the stock market tanks of either of them get elected because it’s actually part of their platform.

    5. Look at Pelosi and Schumer’s comments about the budget complaining about the “cuts”. And Pelosi even said “It increases the national debt. It must be rejected” and called it “heartless.” The Democrats have never supported a budget with a surplus, even during Clinton’s term when the House GOP under Gingrich did exactly that.

      The House writes all the spending bills. And the RINOs that control the GOP don’t want to cut the spending either, as evidenced during GW Bush’s presidency when the GOP controlled the House, Senate and White House (or read de Rugy’s articles on it). I don’t see it as a battle Trump can win: Congress will just override his veto shutting down the government and blame him. Just as the Democrats claim Trump is cutting the budget when he’s only cutting planned increases.

      What I don’t see, is anyone else proposing less spending than Trump is proposing, with the exception of Rand Paul whose penny plan proposal was rejected by the Senate last year.

    6. Funny how you libtards do the same thing. Economy’s great? Yeah, that’s rollover from Obama… [next sentence] The national debt has doubled and it’s all Trump’s fault! Both major parties do this instead of taking responsibility for the negatives. If it’s bad, it’s the other party’s fault, if it’s good, it’s to our party’s credit.

      1. Go back to Breitbart, buddeh.

        1. Cant let ABC take the lead from you I see.

    7. Jesus Christ – Trump’s not a socialist! I can’t remember right off-hand the term for the economic system where the ownership of the means of production is privatized but regulated so as to serve the national interest as defined by the government (MAGA!), but it’s certainly not socialism. IIRC, it was a popular system in some parts of Europe about 75 years ago, mostly among people who liked the trains to run on time.

      1. It is a type of socialism, and it’s not something Trump does.
        Unless I’m mistaken, and you can point me to regulations he’s imposed to control various industries?
        Hint: tariffs ain’t it

        1. Fascism is not socialism. Hitler only added “socialist” to the party name in 1920 to appeal to lefties. And yes, Trump’s approach to the economy is more fascist than socialist.

          1. It is neither. But then again you think the executive initiates appropriation bills.

          2. Fascism is a “3rd way” system and explicitly Marxist. Yes, it is a type of socialism (otherwise there is nothing to distinguish socialism from communism).
            Most accurately, both are types of progressivism (=communism/socialism, fascism, Islamism, and to a lesser extent social democracy).

            Now that that’s out of the way, eunuch, describe – using specific examples – how Trump’s policies are in any way fascist, and what distinguishes them from socialist policies.
            If you can’t do that, shut the fuck up and sit in the corner where you belong.

          3. Fascism and socialism both seek to control all the power centers in a society, but fascism allows private ownership of capital if it’s harnessed to meet state goals.

            But neither fascism or communism or socialism would allow platforms like Facebook, Google, etc. to be completely independent without state controls, and if you doubt that compare the European regulations on Tech companies, and then consider they would be a lot worse if we weren’t protecting them somewhat from what they’d like to do.

      2. Again, the only fascist in the race is Lyin’ Lizzie Warren.

    8. A socialist that cut regulations and taxes?
      If this is a new form of socialism with less government control over business and money I could be swayed. LOL

    9. That’s because you’re trying to attribute responsiblity based on the effects and not the causes. You can never attribute a rising or a falling stock market to a President just for existing, but you can attribute it in part to their policies.

  3. Typo. Based on the accompanying text and the table, I’m pretty sure that’s supposed to read “godlessness would not be a problem”

  4. Don’t be so sure of yourself about Bernie. the left, not just the media and politicians but the left leaning public in general has gotten so overheated about Trump that if Bernie is the only choice besides Trump they will vote for Bernie just to get Trump out. I don’t think they will stay home like so many predict.

    1. People were saying the same thing about Bush’s second term. And Kerry still lost by a lot more that Gore. And Kerry had more broad appeal than Sanders does.

      1. True but we have a lot more democrat “Voters” now than then and teh DNC has upped their dirty tricks fo finding votes in trunks of cars

      2. People were saying the same thing about Trump in 2016. He was supposed to be so terrible that Democrats and independents would turn out in droves for Hillary just to keep a corrupt, racist, anti-semitic misogynist out of office.

    2. Even if Bernie were to get trounced in the general election, I really don’t want him to get the nomination. He normalizes socialist ideology.

      The comparison to Goldwater might be apt. Barry took a hell of a beating in ’64, but he laid the groundwork for Reagan to be victorious 16 years later. I worry that a Sanders nomination could lead to a Comrade Ocasio-Cortez (or some other diehard collectivist) becoming our commander-in-chief after a few more election cycles.

      1. “He normalizes socialist ideology.”

        Bernie getting his ass kicked by Trump nationally would tend to show otherwise. If you mean Commie candidates making it to this stage at all, we are WAY past that. Commies are here to stay and destroy America because we have freedoms that allow their freedom of political affiliation.

        The best we can do is trike down national healthcare, Commie candidates, and other Socialist ideals every chance we get.

        1. Like it or not (I don’t), Bernie Sanders has increased public support for socialism to levels we haven’t seen since at least the 1930’s. If he gets the nomination, there is a significant portion of the electorate that will convince themselves that accepting socialism is better than the alternative of not supporting the Democrat candidate. That’s just how team politics work.

          “The best we can do is (s)trike down national healthcare, Commie candidates, and other Socialist ideals every chance we get.”

          I’m not registered with any political parties, but my hope is that Democrat voters do just that and a majority of them vote for a nominee that isn’t openly hostile to free-enterprise and individualism. I wouldn’t vote for Buttjudge in the general, but he looks like Hank Rearden standing next to Bernie.

          1. Your citation for public support going up is needed.

            The facts that sanders has not gained the majority delegates shows that even in the Democrat Party, socialism does not have a clear majority.

            Republicans are sure as shit not on board with socialism as Trump is not a socialist and he was voted in with a high GOP majority.

        2. Just for kicks I really want Trump to try enforcing the Communist Control Act.

      2. Interesting comment. Some friends and I are in a state with an open primary and are considering voting for Bernie, if for no other reason to push for a brokered convention. But, like you said it could normalize his policies. One difference I a see with Goldwater is, Goldwater ran against LBJ a year after JFK was assassinated I think that had a lot do to with Goldwater’s loss.

        1. Yeah, it probably would have been nearly impossible for anyone to beat LBJ in that election. And don’t get me wrong, I’m glad for the lasting impact Goldwater had on the political landscape. It was a time though, that ideals of individualism had been largely losing out since the Great Depression. He reintroduced them to the mainstream. I’d prefer coerced collectivism stay derided in the shadows.

          1. Why do so many observers on the “right” conclude that Goldwater’s presidential run normalized his views, paved the way for Reagan, or whatever? The next Republican who got elected president, and it was soon, was Nixon, for gosh sakes! What does that say about Goldwater’s influence? Seems more like his president campaign set the cause back.

            1. Maybe because Reagan first entered politics on the national stage when he became a spokesperson for the Goldwater campaign.

              That speech, “A Time for Choosing”, doesn’t sound a whole lot like the big-government campaigns of Eisenhower, Nixon, or Ford.

              Shortly after his work with Goldwater, Reagan became governor of California. It took some time for a majority of the nationwide general public to come aboard, but Barry definitely planted the seeds.

      3. What normalizes socialist ideology is the education and media apparatus which has been working towards that end for almost a century.

        1. And Bernie gaining more widespread, mainstream support would only advance and facilitate that end further.

        2. As we see, even with that Socialist brainwashing, Bernie never got a clear majority. Based on 2016 democrat primary returns, Bernie wont do well in Southern states.

          Socialism is not a clear winner as of 20202.

          1. *2020

      4. The biggest impact of Bernie being on the ballot would be a lot of Democrats staying home. And that of course is how they learn their lesson about not nominating a socialist. If enough Democrats stay home and they lose the House then that would sink in.

  5. “Even atheists, long a group shunned by voters, did better, with 60 percent of respondents saying godlessness would be a problem ”

    Don’t you mean “would not be a problem”?

    1. Too slow.

  6. Americans may not want a socialist per se, especially one who promises to nationalize health care and create something approaching a single-payer system not only for K-12 education (we already effectively have that) but for higher education, too. But they seem totally ready to re-elect Donald Trump, whose approval rating has soared to as high as 55 percent in some recent polls.

    You can define words however you want. But to define “socialism” as meaning only the desire for a large government is to strip the term of most of its meaning. More importantly, it strips the term of nearly all of its sinister and oppressive components.

    According to Nick, the worst thing about Bernie is that he wants to spend a lot of money. We know Nick thinks this because that is what makes Bernie and Trump equivalent.

    Bernie’s desire to eliminate free speech, the right to keep and bear arms, the entire American petroleum industry, and to rob as many successful Americans of as much of their wealth as possible is according to Nick just small details that really don’t distinguish Bernie from Trump or any other politician who doesn’t want to be declared emperor and shrink government spending Congress or the voters be damned.

    1. Socialism means government domination of industry, prices set by government, and wealth redistributed by government.

      Capitalism means private domination of industry, prices set by markets, and wealth distributed by markets.

      Everybody who says something else is either ignorant or trying to sell us something.

      1. I agree. The only question is which of those is Nick or is he both?

        1. No, you don’t agree, or you would recognize that the US government controls a heck of a lot of industry, and in an age when Bernie’s socialism is more socialist than the Scandinavian countries he falsely admires so much, the US is too damned socialist for me. But maybe not for you, if Trump is pulling those levers. I wouldn’t be surprised if you called Obama a socialist a few times, and yet here w are, with Trump spending more.

          1. Good for you. And I think it is too socialist as well even though it isn’t fully socialist. That doesn’t make it socialist or change the fact that it is thanks to Trump being President less socialist today than it was four years ago.

            1. “less socialist” — ah HA, you admit to Trump being somewhat socialist.

              Go John Go!

              1. See my comment below.

                The idea that Trump needs to be perfect in order to be the desirable alternative is false.

                1. this this this ^^^

                2. Fake idealism is all he has left. Dont make him actually say something intellectual.

              2. If John is being honest about Trump being more socialist than a libertarian purist, why is intellectual honestly a bad thing?

              3. You’re really going out of your way looking stupid just to troll John.

                Did he fuck your mom or something?

          2. Á àß äẞç ãþÇđ âÞ¢Đæ ǎB€Ðëf ảhf,

            Where we disagree may be the question of whether it’s possible for something to be more capitalist than less capitalist or more socialist and less socialist.

            Because the question of whether Donald Trump is more capitalist than the Green New Deal isn’t really a question. I don’t really understand why wanting more capitalism is a question either.

            There’s this thing called a perfect solution fallacy:

            “The Perfect Solution Fallacy (also known as the ‘Nirvana Fallacy‘) is a false dichotomy that occurs when an argument assumes that a perfect solution to a problem exists; and that a proposed solution should be rejected because some part of the problem would still exist after it were implemented. In other words, that a course of action should be rejected because it is not perfect, even though it is the best option available.”


            Arguing that we shouldn’t support Trump’s reelection because even if we elect Trump, we still won’t be 100% capitalist is like saying that because there will still be unjust trial outcomes with the Fifth Amendment in place, we might as well just get rid of it.

            It’s baloney.

            Being an adult means making tough choices even when neither alternative is particularly desirable. As one of the alternatives becomes worse and worse, the other choice becomes better and better.

      2. I suppose that is a useful definition for idiots. But considering another word for a market-based system is a ‘pricing system’ – and all prices are set by the money that is used as the unit of account – then your ‘capitalism’ can be quite as easily centrally-planned while privately-owned as any govt-owned system.

        And like it or not ‘socialism’ fails not because of that government ownership/control but because of the central planning.

        1. Those are the three primary distinctions between capitalism and socialism–regardless of who is or isn’t an idiot. And those remain the three primary distinctions regardless of whether a system would be more capitalist or less capitalist depending on the behavior of the government in a mostly capitalist government, as well.

        2. No socialism fails because it relies upon the assumption that people will work as hard for the collective as they will for themselves. Yes, it also fails because central planning fails. But one of the reason central planning always fails is that it too relies on the assumption people will do what they are told and not game the system in ways that further their own interests.

          Socialism is just a less evil but in some ways even dumber version of communism. The only difference is that Communists were at least smart enough to understand socialism would never work unless you murdered the capitalist classes and transformed man from his fallen state to a new Soviet Man who would work for the collective and never exploit others for his own benefit.

          Socialists are just communists who are not honest enough with themselves or bright enough to understand what is actually necessary to create a socialist state. And every socialist state fails because it eventually runs out of other people’s money and the people it steals the money from are not willing to create more wealth in the name of the collective.

          1. Your entire comment is full of an assumption that central planning simply cannot exist or persist outside a government-owned context. I understand those assumptions are widespread but they simply aren’t true.

          2. And this is why the mainstream Dems are fighting Bernie so hard. They have a good gig going right now. They have a nearly optimal system of institutionalized theft going. If they try to steal more, the private sector will produce less and they will get less (and they know it). They keep pushing a little further every year to compensate for the private sector’s increases in efficiency, but they dare not push too hard at once. Bernie would upend this lucrative system that they have worked so hard to build.

            At least, that’s what Bernie would want to do. In reality Congress would freeze him in 4 years of gridlock, regardless of which party controlled it. Look at how much horse-trading they had to do to get PPACA to Obama’s desk. The only damage Bernie would be able to do is in court appointments, and then he’d be no worse than any other Dem.

          3. And every socialist state fails because it eventually runs out of other people’s money and the people it steals the money from are not willing to create more wealth in the name of the collective.


  7. Again, here are the first two points from the Green New Deal:

    “1) “Guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.”

    2) “Providing all people of the United States with – (i) high-quality health care; (ii) affordable, safe, and adequate housing; (iii) economic security; and (iv) access to clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and nature.”

    It doesn’t matter whether the Democrat candidate in question calls himself a socialist. It matters whether the Democrat in question will veto the Green New Deal if and when Mitch McConnell’s non-existent capitalist principles prove insufficient to prevent the Green New Deal from making it to the president’s desk.

    If the presidential candidate will sign the Green New Deal, it doesn’t matter whether he or she calls himself a socialist or something else.

    1. The Democrats have gone full left. Positions that were taken for granted even by Democratic office holders ten years ago are now beyond the pale for the Democratic Party. The Democrats make no secret of their desire to end American capitalism as we know it and radically transform the lifestyle of all but the richest and most connected Americans even if doing so means resorting to violence and imprisonment.

      Nick continues to maintain his “pox on both houses” “they are both equivalent” position because Trump says mean things on Twitter and won’t agree to the complete and unilateral abolition of the border.

      This is what to Nick passes for deep thought

      1. They probably lost in 2016 because the social justice warriors chased average Americans out of the Democratic party and into Trump’s arms. It would be nice if they lost this time because of their socialism.

        There is no greater threat to libertarian capitalism than “solutions” like the Green New Deal, and, yeah, that pox on both their houses stuff won’t stop the green new deal.

        I was opposed to the Iraq War at the time–regardless of whether Saddam Hussein had WMD–and the socialist response to climate change should be opposed to Democrats, who are enthusiastically embracing authoritarian socialist solutions, above all else.

        As the Democrats become increasingly authoritarian and socialist, it is only appropriate for libertarian capitalists to become increasingly Republican.

        If we didn’t have single member districts, it might be otherwise, but we have single member districts.

        1. . . . and the socialist response to climate change should be [making us] opposed to Democrats, who are enthusiastically embracing authoritarian socialist solutions, above all else.


          1. I think the left has become socialist and therefore using oppressive socialist practices to make the green new deal a reality is fine with them. So I intend to argue that in order to make the green new deal a reality in the time frame wanted it would literally destroy the planet to accomplish saving the planet. its comparable to putting holes in a sinking boat to let the water drain out

            1. I showed this to a civil engineering friend recently:


              It shows the amount of subsidence that various coastal cities have experienced over the years vs. the amount of sea level rise the models are showing they’re likely to experience over time. They’re basically the same thing–making the ground lower relative to sea level or making the sea level higher relative to the ground.

              Between 1950 and 1975, the average elevation of Tokyo fell about 2 meter or six and a half feet. It’s a harbor city! Over that same time period, Tokyo flourished–it almost tripled in population and became an economic powerhouse. They simply adapted in various ways.

              Between 2000 and 2100, I understand the models project sea level to rise by about one foot.

              Cutting off carbon emissions would be a tremendous cost relative to the benefit of preventing sea level change–regardless of whether AGW is real.

              And that’s just one piece of the puzzle.

              The need for a cost/benefit analysis never goes away–not even if the question is one of survival. It’s just that when the question is one of survival, the cost of one option becomes extreme. We’re nowhere close to worrying about survival. If they want to go socialist over sea level rise, we’re talking about a huge cost for little benefit–and that’s just one piece of the puzzle. I haven’t seen anything–not even in the models–that would justify the kinds of costs we’re talking about in the Green New Deal.

              We should only sacrifice our standard of living and our liberty if the quantitative benefits of doing so are worth it, and I don’t see any indication that is the case–for libertarians who value their freedom and their prosperity or non-libertarians who don’t value those things as much.

              1. In other words, authoritarian socialists shouldn’t even make these trade offs. I think a lot of people are just selling it as a justification for authoritarian socialism. Real environmentalists are probably more reasonable than salesmen for authoritarian socialism.

                1. I often wonder how much alarmism has set back our actual understanding of the environment (primarily the climate). How much of the alarmism-driven funding has gone to useful research vs. bias confirmation? Might the field have advanced quicker, despite much less funding, if the alarmists had picked some other cause? We’ll never know.

              2. thanks for the link. there have been other findings of island nations where the locals destroyed the protective reefs to build their houses form it and now the islands are getting flooded but they are blaming climate change.

              3. “Cutting off carbon emissions would be a tremendous cost relative to the benefit of preventing sea level change–regardless of whether AGW is real.”

                Why do you want to murder plants, Ken?

      2. Nick continues to maintain his “pox on both houses” “they are both equivalent” position because Trump says mean things on Twitter and won’t agree to the complete and unilateral abolition of the border.

        And while this may be a ‘maybe a pox on both houses’ for Nick, there are plenty of other writers at reason who will stand next to a burned down house with an empty can of kerosene and a book of matches while saying, “There are two houses?”

    2. P.S.

      “President Trump went after the Green New Deal in an interview that aired Friday, calling the proposal championed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) “preposterous” while saying it will be “easy to beat.”

      “You look at this Green New Deal — it’s the most preposterous thing,” Trump said during an exclusive interview with Fox Business that aired Friday. “Now I don’t want to knock it too much right now because I really hope they keep going forward with it, frankly, because I think it’s going to be very easy to beat.”

      The president has mocked the resolution before, comparing it to a “high school term paper that got a low mark.”

      “The White House in a statement on the proposal last month said that Trump “has vowed that America would never be socialist, and this administration will fight this central planning disaster,” and called the plan a “roadmap to destroy the American Economy.”

      —-Business Insider, March 11, 2019

      He had me at “preposterous”.

  8. This is nothing more than the relatively unknown against someone always known to be bad. Any candidate polls better than Trump because we are all told every night that Trump is the worst. But when the Democrats actually pick a nominee that person will no longer have to share negative press with other Democrats and the light will shine on them.
    Sanders loves the Bolivarian Revolution, thinks Castro was a great guy, and has plans that make not the slightest sense.

    1. Some of my fellow libertarians like to believe that there are more than two options–and sometimes it really doesn’t matter as much. This isn’t one of those times.

      It’s like opportunity cost–which is the highest valued foregone alternative. The cost of not reelecting Trump may be extremely high. Trump’s value would not be as high as it is otherwise, but so what?

      It is what it is.

      The libertarian path to power will always be persuasion rather than elections, but if the alternative to Trump were Stalin, that wouldn’t mean we should just let Stalin have the White House. No, the alternative to Trump isn’t Stalin in 2020, but the costs of not reelecting Trump are more than sufficient to justify voting for him–while we continue to vocally oppose those policies of his that offend our libertarian and capitalist sensibilities.

      1. I think this is true for people in swing states, but I still feel like a major-party vote in CA is wasted.

        CA will almost certainly go Dem. I’m confident enough that Trump will win that I insert that “almost.” If Trump does, by some far out chance, carry CA it will be because he’s winning in an enormous landslide.

        I still maintain that there is value in Libertarian votes signalling the direction we want things to go in when there is no danger that those votes will contribute to getting someone like Sanders elected, as opposed to the ‘everything you are doing is awesome’ message that votes for a major party sends.

        1. On that theme, does anyone have any opinions on the gaggle of clowns that’s running for the LP nomination? I haven’t yet had time to look into them, and I’m not voting for Vermin Supreme.

          1. Jacob Hornberger seems to be the best of the lot, in my opinion. He’s a purist, so he probably wouldn’t crack half a percent in the general. That could be a good thing for the LP at this point, if only to purge some of the opportunists. It also helps that he seems to be a pretty respectable person in general.

            As for your view above, I agree. I live in a deeply partisan state, and I consider it a fortuitous luxury that I can vote for whoever the hell I want to without any actual ramifications.

          2. The fact that Vermin Supreme has any support is why libertarians are laughed at.

          3. S=C….This one is simple. If the Libertarian Party wants to be taken seriously, they will drop Vermin Supreme. Pathetic.

            Damn it, I have libertarian instincts and ideals, but the Libertarian absolutely sucks ass when picking spokespeople for their POV. Where is the Libertarian Party candidate who inspires?!

        2. I understand strategic voting to show the politicians what they need to do to get our votes, but whether Trump or a Democrat beholden to socialists gets in the White House really does matter.

          1. whether Trump or a Democrat beholden to socialists gets in the White House really does matter.

            Agreed. What isn’t going to influence that is your individual vote in CA.

        3. “everything you are doing is awesome’ message that votes for a major party sends.”

          And how do you feel about sending that message to the Johnson-Weld LP ticket?

          1. And how do you feel about sending that message to the Johnson-Weld LP ticket?

            Compared with my other options, I felt pretty good about it.

            1. But to answer more seriously, there is no “everything you are doing” with the LP candidates because they aren’t if office. They’re expressing an idealized alternative, even if they backed off of the purity of the messaging.

              A vote for either major party will never be taken as “I held my nose and voted for you despite how much you suck.” It will always be taken as “I support every single thing you’ve ever done or said, with religious passion.”

              1. “But to answer more seriously, there is no “everything you are doing” with the LP candidates because they aren’t if office. They’re expressing an idealized alternative, even if they backed off of the purity of the messaging.
                A vote for either major party will never be taken as “I held my nose and voted for you despite how much you suck.” It will always be taken as “I support every single thing you’ve ever done or said, with religious passion.””

                There absolutely is an ‘everything they’re doing’ with the LP, and they take their votes the same way the Ds and Rs do.
                That’s the heart of the question.
                If you helped the LP over perform by voting for the Johnson-Weld ticket, what do you think they’re learning from that?
                And since there is no chance that ticket could win, a vote for it could reasonably be interpreted as an even stronger endorsement of the LP than any vote for the R or D tickets

                1. I realize I failed to expand on the ‘everything they’re doing’ point.
                  The LP isn’t governing, you’re right about that. They’re also not running a presidential ticket to govern, since I’d imagine they know going in that it can’t win.
                  So why run a ticket?
                  Marketing (if not, it should be). You run candidates in races they can’t win to raise awareness of your party and your ideology.
                  And a vote for the LP ticket is going to be taken by them the same way as you say the Rs and Ds.
                  From my perspective, I don’t think the L party is doing a good job. You may feel differently, which is why I ask how you feel endorsing “everything they’re doing” the LP through a Johnson-Weld vote.

        4. The problem with the LP in recent years is that it needs that same protest vote.

          The Republicans have been giving the libertarians a bit of what they want, just a bit.

          And the LP has been giving the Democrats and progressives what THEY want, just a bit.

          And THAT’S not the LP I’m willing to support. In any way.

          1. The problem with the LP in recent years is that it needs that same protest vote.

            See, I think that just gets too far into the weeds. Most people aren’t going to make fine distinctions among different brands of libertarianism, and if one day after 1% of the voters finally are done looking for the One True Scotsman, no one will care, because the only thing it ever meant for most people was “we should move more generally in the direction of somewhere Northish in the British Isles.”

            When that’s where we are, I’m fine as long it’s someone from north of Hadrian’s Wall.

            1. Sure, as far as the general public goes.
              The LP leadership still gets to brag about the 3.5% they received, and take whatever message they will from it.
              If they see that as good, they’ll likely double down on exactly what they’ve been doing

  9. Even a socialist like Sanders would be better for the Koch / Reason agenda than Drumpf has been. I guarantee President Sanders wouldn’t lock up Charles Koch’s preferred labor force in concentration camps like Drumpf has done.


    1. Not the labor force, but I think the Sanders people have shiny new camps for billionaires like Charles Koch.


      1. And Bloomberg?

    2. I was waiting for that OpenBordersLiberaltarian to come here and start telling us libertarians have no conviction and that we’re just bought off by Charles Koch. As if Reason didn’t exist long before the Koch brothers started doling out contributions, and never strayed from its socially liberal / economically conservative / foreign isolationist ideology. And as if anti-abortion or anti-racist organizations didn’t have their own sugar daddies.

      You socialist, minimum-wage-hiking, labor-unionizing piece of shit! Stick to your Seattle bullshit! And if you wanna stick your neck out, at least have the courtesy of discussing people’s actual ideas instead of just going around comment sections like a little cunt impugning motives to your ideological opponents.

      Yeah, Seattle! I know who you are! Don’t fuck with me; you little homo cocksucking faggot! Quit your bullshit!

      1. And as if anti-abortion or anti-racist organizations didn’t have their own sugar daddies.

        Just being clear, are you saying Reason is pro-abortion and pro-racism?

        1. No, my point is that every major movement under the sun has rich people giving it contributions. So it means nothing that some rich guy supports you. I don’t know if Charles Koch supports Reason, and I don’t care.

          This guy just goes around comment sections and links any support for capitalism, fiscal conservatism, or pro-immigration to some obscure billionaire forces. He basically engages in character assassination of any one or organization that is supportive of these causes, in his stupid “satirical” way. That’s all he does, and not just on the Reason comment section.

        2. He does it on Prager. He does it on The Daily Wire. He also hangs around a lot in white nationalist websites. He’s basically a socialist who’d like a whiter America and who views AOC’s economic policies fondly. And a gay one at that.

          But here’s the thing. I’d respect him a little more if he ever actually engaged with the ideas, with capitalism, or immigration, or whatever. But he never does that. He just goes around calling people sellouts while impersonating billionaire characters. Little shit.

          1. Okay, “gay” is irrelevant. I don’t have a problem with that. But since we’re spilling the beans…

            1. How meta!

              Is this a new character?

          2. Libertarians mostly ignore or mock OBL.

            Unreason uses sock trolls to boost web traffic for financial gain, so who has time for any commenter who doesnt engage people with good faith discussions?

      2. “Don’t fuck with me; you little homo cocksucking faggot!”

        Cry more lib

  10. the whole fucking lot of them grows government spending every time. both parties.

    1. Only Croats want to add many trillions of dollars to annual spending for nationalized healthcare, higher education. Open borders. ‘green’ bullshit, etc.. republicans aren’t even in the same quantum reality when it comes to spending.

      If we could actually remove de o rats from government then big spending republicans could be forced out. As there would be no voting for them to prevent a communist from taking office in the alternative.

  11. Eh, so much for communism.

    1. The practice of Marxism should be criminalized.

      1. Peaceful assembly is protected by the 1st amendment. Any other kind of assembly is not protected.

  12. V

  13. Here’s the thing. Massive spending cuts of the kind that would put us towards a fiscally responsible and sustainable path are unpopular. They just are. That’s why Trump’s attempt at them have been timid, and that’s why he wasn’t going to do it in the first term.

    But his heart is obviously there. Trump is NOT a big government guy. Just look at how he dealt with the administrative state, or at his first budgets proposals. That’s why I’m almost certain that, should he get the House and Senate, he’s more than likely to engage in massive cuts after 2021.

    1. We’ll see. The Fourth Estate has a lot of bearing on ultimate success.

  14. If Sanders’ socialism is conflated with the mere double-entry bookkeeping of govt spending/debt increasing during monetary deflation (absent actual monetary reform to solve the ‘deflation’ problem); then Thomas Jefferson, Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and every other classical liberal are also all ‘socialists’ and the term is completely fucking meaningless.

    Which I suppose is why modern ‘libertarians’ – who seem to pride themselves on their economic knowledge – are viewed as little more than autistics defending/promoting a trickle-down economics that is more neo-feudal ‘privilege-based’ (in the true ‘private law’ etymology of that word) than ‘market-based’. And why you are gobsmacked that you’ve lost the generation that is screwed by all that despite all your virtue signaling on irrelevant culture-war shit like sex/drugs etc.

    1. Good points.

      Socialism is about social ownership (state socialists, nationalization) of the means of production, not about unrestrained government spending or wealth redistribution per se.

      Too often “economically conservative” libertarian rhetoric parrots the Republican doctrine that the U.S. already has a venerable free enterprise system, implying all markets are free markets and the current wealth distribution, minus “socialist” welfare programs, is essentially just. That’s a great way to turn off the generation that came to political self-awareness during the Great Recession.

      1. From each according to his ability, to each according to his need is all about the redistribution of wealth, and that’s why capitalists really should be about opposing income, capital gains, property, and taxes on corporate taxes and opposing Medicaid, rent subsidies, food stamps, etc.

        Capitalism distributes wealth through markets.

        1. P.S Markets are people making choices. One of the problems with democratic socialism is that it’s insufficiently democratic. We don’t need to elect Bernie Sanders to make our choices for us because we can make choices with our own money for ourselves.

        2. It isn’t a good look for libertarians to push hard for the removal of food stamps–hardly a major major expenditure–without highlighting the plight of the poor and disadvantaged and the ways government has actively contributed to poverty and social immobility. Government shoots you in the leg, then hands you an ibuprofen, and the primary complaint of some right-libertarians is that government shouldn’t be in the business of dispensing painkillers.

          Agreed about Sanders, certainly, but we can share the conviction of the Bernie Bros that the underclasses are being systemically screwed, identify with their concerns, and present alternative remedies.

          1. You want to convince people who think the answer to bad government, is more government, that they are wrong? You think that’s a stupid you can fix?

            Bless your heart and good luck

            1. If you want to win over the people who are dependent on governnent, especially those who rely on the state to supply their basic needs, then you have to make the transition painless. No-particular-orderism is a guaranteed losing proposition. It also doesn’t hurt for libertarians to be a little more aware of the demographics most adversely affected by government meddling and privilege-granting.

  15. Only Warren’s voters are second choice Bernie voters so that means Bernie maxes out at 30% in primaries. He will be able to cheat and a pick off a few more caucuses but he will never amass a majority of delegates. Democrats need to make clear the delegate leader is entitled to nothing.

  16. Is there a more evil word in modern discourse than “problematic”?

    It is never used except by the most vile of people, for the most vile of reasons.

    1. I’ve said that here multiple times. It’s used by betas like Suderman who want to sound smart while they dismiss things they don’t like.

  17. Sad Beard?


  18. Bernie Sanders does not want to nationalize the means of production and the same survey found 76% of Democrats *would* vote for a ‘socialist’. This authors, and the rest of the right, are having a tough time with their mission to equate Venezuela/USSR with European-type social democracy.

    When Sanders wins the screams from the Republicans, especially the ones in this comment section, will definitely exceed the entertainment value of Trump’s victory on Clinton voters.

    1. Bernie’s plans would put US government spending as a percentage of GDP way above even the biggest spenders in the EU.

    2. What do you call single payer?

    3. The screams will come from most everyone because hunger will once again be common

  19. This article is absurd. Every time I comment on left-leaning websites I am harshly informed that there are no socialists in America and there is no socialism in America, nor anything close to it.

    Except when they’re telling me how wonderful socialism is.

    1. Funny, I get moderated on Lefty websites so my posts are never approved or disappear immediately. I usually lead with “as a libertarian….”

      Look through the comments at Lefty websites and you wont see any substantial non-
      Lefty comments. No real criticisms of the Lefty narrative because they are not allowed. Any non-lefty posts are short little barely insults that make it past the moderators and look like all non-lefties are impotent assholes. As designed.

  20. There’s a difference between someone who has a certain ideology as an end in itself and someone who would favor some of the same policies merely as means to other ends. Socialists want socialism because it’s worthy in and of itself, and would sacrifice other ends to it as a goal; you don’t get that from non-socialists whom some here might call socialist merely because their policies require some redistribution, dirigism, or other means that socialists adopt as a matter of course.

  21. Nick should remember that Frank Zeidler was an American socialist and mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin from 1948 to 1960. The fact that Mayor Zeidler was elected to three terms suggest that people can be more comfortable with socialism. I am not a fan of Senator Sanders but merely calling him a socialist will not be enough to win the election. Nick is correct that many politicians including President Trump have sought to enlarge the government and Senator Sanders can point to that expansion and say they are no different than he is.

    1. Um….you’re wrong. What will do in The Bern is his stated intention to do away with the private insurance of 160MM+ people, in exchange for M4A and higher taxes. Go ahead….make that argument. Tell me that Joe Sixpack won’t get pissed with higher taxes and losing his private healthcare plan. Really – tell me how your argument works in the real world.

      1. Mexico will pay for the wall. M4A is a similar fantasy. It will never pass, even if Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress. What people see is that Senator Sanders cares about people’s health care. We know that health care is an important issue. I don’t like M4A but like the wall it will sell. Remember that Joe Sixpack may not want his taxes raised but he might not care if other people’s taxes go up.

        1. It’s not even close

      2. Moderation4ever is another liar who doesnt support anything he claims.

        Why you folks carry on discussions with people like that I will never understand.

        1. The sock trolls hate being ignored which is why they resurface as new sock trolls to try to catch you slipping.

  22. Trump is a big spender. Bernie will be a big spender. But only one of them (by his own admission) is a socialist.

    Most typical democrats buy into the romantic egalitarianism promised by a socialist ideology, but they’re pragmatic enough not to endorse complete government takeover of any industry. ACA was a rushed, convoluted compromise between the private sector and government mandate and the courts are now only starting to strike down parts of it down.

    So they’re either socialists, or they want to be socialists but they know they can’t. So would you vote for Trump to keep Bernie out of office? Sure I would. He’ll be gone in 4 more years and Rand Paul is starting to score some points among the traditional GOP base. Bide your time.

    Do people realize that Gavin Newsom killed the gig economy in his state in just his second year? Does anyone think Sanders is more moderate than that guy? Bernie will be an epic disaster in ways Obama or Trump can only dream of.

    1. “ACA was a rushed, convoluted compromise between the private sector and government mandate and the courts are now only starting to strike down parts of it down.”

      Note the court did not take up the case in a election year. If SCOTUS strikes down the ACA something unpleasant will hit the fan.

  23. Americans’ selection of their leaders is a humiliating part of being a US citizen. But for me, Bernie Sanders would be a new low.

    1. Dont worry. Bernie wont be elected.

      The USA is not there yet.

      1. So happy to pay your family farm subsidy.

  24. Reason, why not do an in depth wonk review of The Green New Deal, since Buttigeig has a foot in this race and supports the GND. Do a specific analysis of Modern Monetary Theory afterwards. The equivalency narrative, Republican=Democrat=Socialist is getting old.

    1. They actually did when it first became a thing. At which point I assumed anything any democrat said moving forward would be dismissed and scoffed at, as it should. Alas, that did not happen, because the Orange Man is bad.

  25. Presidents don’t have the power to nationalize anything. American workers fared better when the Soviet Union was strong because the masses had to have their loyalty bought so they wouldn’t go Bolshevik. A socialist paper tiger in the White House could inspire the repurchasing of citizen loyalties which have been taken for granted since the 70s. How many dead canaries does the ruling class need to see before they get the hint that the bread is stale and the circuses are boring? When socialists have an audience, it’s due to poor herd management.

  26. Nick: Good article; but, as I suggested to Matt last year at the donor’s dinner, the word you may be grasping for, but fearfully rejecting, is Fascism. The Mussolini version, at least economically: Ostensible private ownership, actual public control. It is where Deng went with China. It is where most of the DMs (including the EU) are now. The degrees vary. But all I see is it getting worse and worse. Any thoughts?

    To talk of Socialism, is generally misleading. Bernie? Bitter, hysterical, and certifiable. I’m not sure he has a better grasp of the word than Trump does.

    1. Fascism is not well defined because every fascist is actually a socialist.

      Mussolini was a socialist…always. Even when he tried to not nationalize Italian industry, Mussolini and the italian state still controlled the means of production.

      Mussolini new state in northern Italy in 1943 was literally called the Italian Social Republic. They werent called that because they were social to each other.

      Socialists have tried to distance themselves from Socialists Mussolini and Hitler.

    2. But does Trump have a better grasp of in general less government intervention in our lives especially regarding the economy?

      Hell yes that is why things are going good.

      Reduce impediments to business , like taxes and useless regulations, and then just get out of the way of teh private sector.

      What do the Ds propose? Not that.

  27. Talk about preaching to the choir.

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  30. Socialism started with Woodrow Wilson and FDR. Government control over money and business. It’s grown from those 2 bad seeds.

  31. Dumb article as usual and entertaining comment section as usual which is the only reason to read Reason.

    God Nick, Trump is nowhere near a socialist. Does he want to nationalize healthcare and make everyone’s healthcare as shitty as Medicare? no.

    Does he want to use the false premise of an apocalypse, to take over the energy sector of the economy so it can be just as good as government “fill in the blank” pretty much anything. climate change? No.

    I get it you don’t like tariffs and you want no immigration laws or drug laws, which by the way would have to start with congress to repeal. But is that all you care about?

    Maybe like a rational person you should go through each policy of Trump and the D candidates like taxes, regulatory, defense, foreign policy, immigration etc. and rate them.

    Trump is the least socialist running and that is a good thing

  32. The truth is, like it or not, most people aren’t purist libertarians. Hell, I’m not even a purist libertarian, but I’m closer than 99% of the population.

    So we’ll always have some stupid parts of government.

    The big question is TO WHAT DEGREE. And in degree, there are very large differences between a Sanders, a Trump, and a Ron Paul.

    Hell, there are even legit differences on the far left side of things. USSR back in the day vs China today vs Sweden today are legit differences too. They’re all on the wrong side of things, but I’d sure as hell rather have Swedish levels of stupid than Soviet ones!

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