Opinion: Democratic Socialism is not quite as intimidating as Americans think


Photo courtesy of Flicker

Daniel Rottlaender | Reporter
From Print [September 8, 2015] | Legacy

Infographic by Kelby Lorenz
Infographic by Kelby Lorenz

At the moment Bernie Sanders is in leading the 2016 democratic nomination for president, according to CNN. Since he entered the democratic primary race on April 29, he has been closing the gap between himself and democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton. According to a recent poll conducted by NBC News, Sanders has passed the former First Lady and Secretary of State by nine points in New Hampshire.

Sanders was the longest serving independent member of the House of Representatives and became the first self-proclaimed socialist member of the U.S. senate in 2007, hence why many people are skeptical about the 74-year-old Vermont senator.

Socialism is a word that many Americans still associate with the Red Scare of the 1950s. However, what many Americans who are anti-Bernie Sanders don’t see, is that he has rarely identified with these communist ideas. Sanders has always amplified that his biggest influence is the democratic socialism in Scandinavia, Germany and France.

Photo courtesy of Flicker
Photo courtesy of Flicker

As someone who was born and raised in Germany, I feel the need to tell you that democratic socialism has always been an important part of German politics. Consider these facts:
• It was the only party that voted against Adolf Hitler’s package of legislation that started him as the dictator of the Third Reich.
• In the aftermath of World War II, the socialist chancellor Willy Brandt was responsible for integrating Germany back into the global community.
• Helmut Schmidt, who was the socialist chancellor of West Germany from 1974 to 1982, made Germany’s currency the most stable in the world.
•Socialist, Gerhard Schröder kept German troops out of Iraq during the 2003 invasion. He also passed a package of legislation that was the basis for German survival during the global financial crisis in 2010.

Bernie Sanders seems to be an honest man who is clearly outspoken about the problems the United States is facing right now.