Now, I'm Canadian, but a lot of what I see in politics comes from the US, as they're always throttling each other, while up here things for the most part just kinda keep going, nothing interesting ever really happening.

Thus, my view of politics is somewhat jaded to the mess in the USA, with that being my 'normal' for the most part.

Thus I'm curious, while Bernie Sanders is so much seen as a 'Socialist' in the US, a 'Crazy Radical Leftist!' as you will. What exactly would he look like when put into political systems from places like here in Canada, or in Europe, or someplace like Finland, places that have most of the stuff hes seen as 'Socialist' for pushing for, what would his alignment likely be?


1 Answer 1


Before being able to say where Sanders would stand in other political systems, we have to determine what his position actually is.

Wikipedia has a good - and well sourced - overview:

Academic commentators have pointed out that the identification of Sanders' political platform and ideology with "democratic socialism" is inaccurate. Samuel Goldman, assistant professor of political science at George Washington University, states that Sanders' platform is not socialist and is better described as "welfarism" reminiscent of the 1950s that aims to regulate rather than to replace capitalism. Goldman notes that he does not advocate public ownership of the means of production, nor does he seek to abolish the profit system - both of which are defining characteristics of socialism.[5] Lane Kenworthy, professor of sociology at the University of California at San Diego, has stated that Sanders is a social democrat and not a democratic socialist [...] Mike Konczal, an economic policy expert at the Roosevelt Institute, also characterizes Sanders' positions as "social democracy" rather than "socialist", noting that social democracy means support for a mixed economy combining private enterprise with government spending, social insurance programs, Keynesian macroeconomic policies, and democratic participation in government and the workplace - all of which are a part of Sanders' platform. [...] Bhaskar Sunkara, the founder, editor, and publisher of the socialist journal Jacobin, also considers Sanders to be a social democrat and not a socialist.[2] Noted scholar, social critic, and political activist Professor Noam Chomsky has commented that, while Bernie Sanders might call himself a socialist, he is actually an "honest New Dealer" as opposed to being an actual socialist

So there is a consensus that while Sanders may call himself a socialist or a democratic socialist, social democrat is a more fitting description.

The definition - again, according to Wikipedia which gives a short but fitting description - :

Social democracy is a political, social and economic ideology that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a capitalist economy

I'm mostly familiar with the US and the German political sphere, so I'll answer your question of where Sanders would stand for that country: He would likely be in the left wing of the SPD - a mainstream left-wing, formerly social democratic party which moved to the right at the end of the 90s - or the right wing of Die Linke - which gained popularity as a result of the previously mentioned drift of the SPD -.

Note also that while some of the issues Sanders is fighting for - like universal health care - exist in most other developed countries like Canada or European countries, other issues like income inequality or racial discrimination still exist.


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