Bernie Sanders is not a democratic socialist — he’s a social democrat. So what is the difference? What is social democracy? What is democratic socialism?
(03-20-2016, updated 07-14-2018) Bernie Sanders is not a socialist and neither are his ideas. They are social democratic — democracy and capitalism, but benefiting everyone, not just the few who can afford anything. That’s social democracy. Bernie Sanders is a social democrat. Democratic socialism is an oxymoron as is a democratic socialist. I don’t understand why he uses the term. It puts people off and it’s incorrect.
This article by a Finn explains perfectly what social democracy entails. It’s not about paying for others, but getting the benefits yourself.
Medicare and social security are examples of social-democratic policies. Bernie Sanders wants more of that.
Universal healthcare is another example of social democracy. Sure, if you’re in your twenties and you’re never sick, it might sound unfair that you would have to pay into a pot that you don’t directly get anything out of. But you do eventually. Everyone gets old and everyone gets sick sooner or later. By the time these twenty-somethings are older, their healthcare is free as well, because other twenty-somethings and everyone else is paying into the pot. And since not everyone is sick at the same time, the amount everyone pays can be a whole lot less than you pay as individuals in an everyone-for-themselves society like America. That’s what a social democrat like Bernie Sanders wants. So just remember, when he calls himself a democratic socialist, when he talks about democratic socialism, what he means is the opposite. He’s a social democrat and he’s talking about social democracy.
(This post was first published on the blog Resident Alien: Being Dutch in America, 03-20-2016)
Header image: Boston Herald, 2016.