Ask The Politics Guys: What’s a democratic socialist?

Here’s this week’s Ask The Politics Guys question: Dear Politics Guys, Bernie Sanders says he’s a democratic socialist. What does that mean? (Even if you’re not particularly interested in what a democratic socialist is, you might find this episode entertaining, if you want to hear Mike channel his inner Bernie Sanders.)

2 thoughts on “Ask The Politics Guys: What’s a democratic socialist?”

  1. Please forgive me in advance if I have misrepresented any of your on-air comments. I listen in the car.
    As part of your response to “Bernie Sanders says he’s a democratic socialist…”, you mentioned that his presidency would be the first socialistic. I would say that TR broke that barrier in the early 20th century, followed by multiple successful terms of his niece, Eleanor, and her husband FDR. E traveled extensively to listen to voices of every marginalized group of people and make sure the government heard them. FDR had great political wisdom in getting popular support before facing down the legislative branch in passing laws such as capping income. It would be a class project to compare the socialistic policies and goals of TR/FDR to Bernie.
    I am an independent, but lived in VT from 19984 to 2007 before moving to AZ. During that time I figured that I voted for Bernie about 18 times. I perceive VT differently than presented on your podcast. They experienced a significant influx of immigrants from the “big city” referred to at that time as Yuppies (the movie Beatle Juice – filmed in VT – referred to the area as rural Connecticut), but before then was a poor, rural state.
    VT as a state that has identified its assets and protects them. The landscape being #1, but also a very strong Main Street economy. But, as Jesus promised, retained all the socioeconomic strata all states have, including the poor. One of the assets that VT has carefully nurtured since the 1980s is collaboration skills. This is not a result of a homogeneous population as you perceive, but concerted hard work. If there are no typical marginalized groups (race, county of origin, etc) available as scapegoats, the “whitest state” shows that people still find ways to alienate each other. However, they teach people how to share ideas and listen to them. It starts in kindergarten (responsive classroom training for teachers) and continues into the work place. It takes all kinds of minds to solve complex problems. VT has nurtured a horizontal management structure.
    This was the greatest culture shock in moving to AZ; a top down management structure. One is expected to become agentic. I find it amoral and breeds general discontent. Decisions are made and mandated by a small group of minds that need to prioritize their power to survive. Not a great approach to solving complex problems, especially when many of the stakeholders are excluded from policy development.
    I feel discouraged by discussions of capitalism OR socialism. The US culture is defined by the intersection of conservative and liberal power. Currently, the power is unbalanced and the middle class is being crushed. Capitalism is the fuel of our economy, but uncontained, this fuel can be a dangerous explosive. Too much socialism also crushes the middleclass. We support the rich (they ain’t making the money in their basements – they take it from our pockets) and the poor. The rich and poor have become a single crushing force, a rock and a hard place, to the middleclass (google “delegated welfare”).

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