Bernie Sanders Shines on Fox News

No, really, you read that right.

“Democratic socialism, to me, is creating a government, and an economy, and a society which works for all, rather than just the top one percent. It means ending the absurd inequalities that exist today. And I want to lay this out, because you’re not going to hear this much on Fox. And you’re not going to hear this much in the media in general.

The American people have got to conclude whether we think it is appropriate, and what America is about… to have three families owning more wealth than the bottom half of American society—160 million people. Whether it’s appropriate for the top one percent to own more wealth than the bottom 92 percent.”

~ Bernie Sanders

by Michael Dougherty National Review edited by O Society April 16, 2019

Again, Bernie Sanders distinguishes himself from the Democratic party on matters of character, confidence, and imagination. The Democratic party rejected offers from Fox News to host its primary debates. But on Monday night, Sanders did a town hall from Bethlehem, Pa, which sits in one of the now-famous counties who suffered de-industrialization, voted for Barack Obama in 2012, and then went for Donald Trump in 2016.

It was a very savvy move. It demonstrated Sanders’ verve, a strong dash of political courage, and a presidential willingness to speak to audiences beyond his party’s base.

Republicans would be foolish to think he’s a pushover.

WATCH: Bernie Sanders on Fox News Town Hall Part 1

We should dwell on Sanders’ decision to appear on Fox in this format. “Your network doesn’t have a lot of respect in my world, but I thought it was important,” he told hosts Brett Baier and Martha MacCallum of the event.  And of course he’s right.

The media environment is entirely transformed from 20 or 30 years ago. Even the most dedicated news consumers often watch one cable network that matches their political disposition, and then read news and opinion through social-media feeds biased by their actual social milieu and by algorithms that feed consumers more of what they already like to hear. Sanders is smart to cross the media aisle.

He also found ways to speak to his base and a Fox News audience at the same time. When asked by a centrist Democrat about whether the party was drifting too far to the left, Sanders gave an answer that would sound good to leftists who want to talk about policy, centrists who want to think of themselves as high-minded and civic, and conservatives as well. “If we spend all our time attacking Trump, Democrats are going to lose,” he averred. Not profound, but a very politic answer nonetheless.

Sanders effectively and charmingly exposed the gap between Donald Trump’s political rhetoric and the reality of his administration. The tax cuts won’t go to the wealthy, Trump promised. In fact, Sanders pointed out, most of them did go to the wealthiest payers. National Review readers know this was inevitable because the tax burden falls heaviest on those who earn the most. But Sanders still made an effective rhetorical weapon of it. He brought up Trump’s campaign promise not to cut Medicare or Medicaid, and the fact Trump’s budgets do just that.

Sanders was canny when answering questions on immigration. He emphasized the need for more judges to handle the incredible burst of asylum claims at the border. “We need border security, of course. Who argues with that?” Sanders said.

He was also rather effective on health care. Baier pointed out that 180 million Americans have private insurance that would be canceled by Sanders’ plan. Sanders retorted that many Americans see their insurance plans change annually when their employers shop for new plans, or whenever their jobs change. That Republicans have offered nothing to remove the kludgeocracy of administering health insurance through New Deal-era tax loopholes makes the proposed simplicity of Sanders’ plan appealing by comparison.

WATCH: Bernie Sanders on Fox News Town Hall Part 2

Sanders also was able to show off his blessedly ornery and old-school personality, which is a winner, I think. Challenged on his status as a 1 percenter with a net worth in the seven figures, Sanders replied, “If anyone thinks I should apologize for writing a bestselling book, I’m sorry, I’m not going to do it.” A non-apology that contains an apology.

Bernie supporters have a lot to be excited about. Their candidate not only moved his party on ideas, he’s transformed himself from a prophetical voice to presidential material. He has a message aimed perfectly at the states Trump won narrowly in 2016 a Democrat needs to win back in 2020. His message discipline springs from the fundamental integrity of his convictions. He’s formidable.

Sanders believes in his message so much, he wants to pitch it to you just before you settle in for Tucker Carlson Tonight. That’s to his credit.

And, once again, his appearance on Fox distinguishes him from other Democrats and particularly from Hillary Clinton. Many Republicans who watch Fox News and populist media get the distinct impression Democrats are just waiting for them to die. What was so damaging about Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” comment was her implication Trump supporters have no place in defining American life going forward.


One thought on “Bernie Sanders Shines on Fox News

  1. Polls have shown that most Americans, left and right, think the US has inequality that is far too high and that something should be done about it, including progressive taxation (i.e., taxing the rich) . But those same polls also show that most Americans don’t have a clue how bad inequality has become because the corporate media is constantly lying to them about it.

    The stark reality is rarely portrayed or only shown in muted forms. If Americans fully understood how bad it has gotten, we would have riots in the streets. Instead, so many Americans suffer from the inequality while feeling isolated, not realizing so many other Americans are also suffering. That is the purpose of propaganda, to disempower the public.

    As a side note, despite the reactionary elements among the American founders, there was a strong progressive elements found not only in the Anti-Federalists but also the Federalists. There was much talk and action to decrease inequality, what many of them considered one of the greatest threats to a free society (Adam Smith agreed). This included advocacy of progressive taxation.

    This video, a bit lopsided in making its argument, is accurate in the history told — not something taught in most public schools (or for that matter private schools):

    Below are quotes from the founders. I could add pages more of similar quotes. And I didn’t even bother to share any quotes here from the more radical revolutionaries like Thomas Paine.

    “Those seeking profits, were they given total freedom, would not be the ones to trust to keep government pure and our rights secure. Indeed, it has always been those seeking wealth who were the source of corruption in government.” – Founding Father Thomas Jefferson

    “All the Property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it.” – Founding Father Benjamin Franklin

    “The power of all corporations ought to be limited…The growing wealth acquired by them never fails to be a source of abuses.” – Founding Father James Madison


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