Reason Roundup

Bernie Sanders Defends Pro-Castro Comments

Plus: Congress set to reauthorize PATRIOT Act provisions, Steyer surges in South Carolina, and more...


Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) was the big winner in Nevada this weekend. "Sanders hasn't locked up the race yet, but he's now in a position to do so," as Peter Suderman writes. "Democrats look very much like they're about to nominate a self-described democratic socialist for president."

Fresh off the Nevada win, Sanders went on 60 Minutes Sunday and defended his 1980s comments about Fidel Castro providing education and health care to the Cuban people. Sanders told the show that he is "very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba," but added that "it's unfair to simply say everything is bad. When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing?"

Cooper pointed out that that this didn't apply for the political dissidents Castro imprisoned. On Twitter, Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas) put it a bit more vividly:

Sanders also stirred up some drama over the weekend with comments about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Sanders tweeted that he would not attend AIPAC's annual conference because of the organization's connection to "leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights." 

"As president, I will support the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians and do everything possible to bring peace and security to the region," Sanders said.

AIPAC responded:

The next Democratic primary takes place in South Carolina on Saturday, February 29. A recent poll of South Carolina voters found former Vice President Joe Biden with just a slight lead over Sanders among likely Democratic voters (28 percent versus 23 percent).

"Support for the former vice president has fallen by double-digits as Sanders and businessman Tom Steyer have made gains," notes CBS. Steyer was the top choice of 18 percent of South Carolina Democrats polled.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson has endorsed Sanders.



Sanders pushes child-care-for-all. On 60 Minutes, the senator said that as president, he would push for free child care from infancy to age four.

"I get a little bit tired of hearing my opponents saying—'Gee, how you going to pay for a program that impacts and helps children or working-class families or middle-class families? How you going to pay for that?'" Sanders said. "And yet, where are people saying, 'How are you going to pay for over $750 billion on military spending?'"

Sanders is right about the military spending, and he is admirably committed to condemning America's endless imperial adventurism abroad. Yet during the same interview, Sanders was still willing to play world police with America's military if he becomes president.

Asked what he would do "if China took military action against Taiwan," Sanders said: "That's something—yeah. I mean I think we have got to make it clear to countries around the world that we will not sit by and allow invasions to take place…"


  • The Supreme Court will consider whether oil pipelines can be built on "lands in the National Park System."
  • Americans are generally satisfied with their personal lives:

  • Coronavirus is ripping through Chinese jails now.
  • Is the window of opportunity over for stopping the coronavirus from becoming a worldwide pandemic?

  • Against tech alarmism.
  • "We owe our current good fortune…to the collapse of one of the world's greatest empires and the failure of every attempt since to revive it," writes Stephen Davies in a review of Escape From Rome.
  • Michael Bloomberg's bad debate showing last week appears to be coming back to bite him in the polls: