The Atlantic

The Democratic Party Is Radicalizing

Extremism isn’t just affecting the GOP.
Source: Carlos Barria / Reuters

The transformation of the GOP into the party of Patrick J. Buchanan and Donald J. Trump—defined by cultural resentments, crude populism, and ethnic nationalism—is among the most important political stories of this century. But the GOP is hardly the only party that is undergoing some alarming tectonic shifts. Liberals wondering why conservatives who worry about Trump don’t join the Democrats should consider what is happening on their own side of the aisle.

If you want to understand just how radicalized the Democratic Party has become in recent years, look at the ascent of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. A self-proclaimed socialist, Sanders served as mayor of Burlington, Vermont, and was then elected to the House in 1990 and the Senate in 2006. It’s hard to overstate just how left-wing Sanders’s views have been, at least by the standards of American politics.

Sanders has been a consistent of regimes led by anti-American dictators like Daniel Ortega and Fidel Castro. He took pains to his brand of socialism from the “totalitarianism” of the Soviet Union, but on a 1988 trip, repeatedly between the Soviet system and the United States that cast his own the nationalization of entire industries and 100 percent taxation on those making more than $1 million. Since then, Sanders has moved away from calling for government to own the means of production, but he has hardly experienced a Damascus-road conversion. He is still a proud leftist.

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