Videos of Bernie Sanders from the 1980s Reveal His ‘American Dream’

Allen Zhong
By Allen Zhong
February 23, 2019USshare
Videos of Bernie Sanders from the 1980s Reveal His ‘American Dream’
Sen. Bernie Sanders (Ind.-Vt.) at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 30, 2019. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Shortly after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced his second presidential bid on Tuesday, Feb. 19, a string of videos from the 1980s recirculated online, showing him praising the Soviet Union, defending communist regimes in Latin America, and bashing America’s “150 years” of imperialism.

According to Sanders’s comments in the videos, his “dream” for America at that time may appear similar to Venezuela today: breadlines, communist youth programs, and open socialism.

The Reagan Battalion, a conservative group who claims to be a “source for news, information, and commentary from a conservative perspective,” posted a 1985 video clip on Twitter on Feb. 20 of Sanders’s speech at the 7th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution in which he blamed American imperialism for the chaos in Nicaragua and Latin American.

“The nature for the conflict that now exists is based on the fact that, for the last 150 years or so, United State government has decided that Latin American should be a colony of the United State government,” he said.

The Sandinista, who toppled the Somoza regime which had ruled Nicaragua for 43 years during the revolution, turned out to be a disaster for the Nicaraguans.

“Ironically—and tragically for the close to three million Nicaraguans—the Sandinistas have proved that they surpass their predecessors in abusing the basic rights for their own people,” the Heritage Foundation Policy Analyst Richard Araujo wrote in a July 19, 1983, report.

In another interview on Aug. 8, 1995, after his trip to Nicaragua, Sanders praised then Cuban socialist dictator Fidel Castro, who he said “educated their kids, gave their kids healthcare, totally transformed the society.”

The video got more than one million views in less than forty-eight hours after Reagan Battalion posted it on Twitter.

Sanders also said he was “extremely impressed” by the Soviet Union’s public transportation system and “Palace of Culture” in another video.

“The stations themselves were absolutely beautiful, including many works of art, chandeliers that were very beautiful, it was a very effective system,” Sanders said during a press conference after his trip to the then socialist country.

“I was also impressed by the youth programs that they have, their Palaces of Culture for the young people, a whole variety of programs for young people, and cultural programs which go far beyond what we do in this country,” he added.

In the 1985 video when he praised Castro, Sanders embraced the socialism ideology and claimed himself as socialist.

“As a socialist, the word socialism does not frighten me,” he said.

However, his agenda does not appear to be limited to praising socialism and lecturing his followers on it anymore, but attempting to bring it into the White House.

After failing to win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination as an openly socialist in 2016, he launched his second presidential campaign with the same policy agenda, while President Trump has denounced socialism vehemently and repeatedly.

“Bernie Sanders has already won the debate in the Democrat primary, because every candidate is embracing his brand of socialism. But the American people will reject an agenda of sky-high tax rates, government-run health care and coddling dictators like those in Venezuela. Only President Trump will keep America free, prosperous and safe,” said Kayleigh McEnany, national press secretary of Trump’s reelection campaign, in response to Sanders’s presidential bid announcement.

President Donald Trump during the State of the Union address
President Donald Trump delivered the State of the Union address, with Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, at the Capitol in Washington, on Feb. 5, 2019. (Doug Mills/The New York Times POOL PHOTO, NYTSOTU)

During his annual State of the Union address on Feb. 5, President Trump vowed that America will never be a socialist country.

“America was founded on liberty and independence–not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free,” he said.

“Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country,” Trump pledged, winning a standing ovation from Republican and some Democratic lawmakers.

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