It's easy enough to find theoreticians who will point out that Vermont's Senator Sanders is no socialist.
Socialism distinguishes itself from capitalism, fascism and other political/economic systems by this fundamental requirement: the state or the community shall own the means of production. That means public ownership and control of corporations, especially major ones like power companies and auto makers. In November Bernie Sanders delivered a speech at Georgetown University to define his brand of socialism. “I don’t believe government should take over the grocery store down the street or own the means of production,” he said. So Sanders, by definition, is not a socialist.Thus the senator, who caucuses with the Democrats, and who renounces a third- (or fourth?) party candidacy for fear of stealing votes from the Democrat nominee and putting a Republican in the White House, might as well be just another self-styled-progressive Democrat.
Sanders is a Democrat in every way but the name. Running in Vermont, Sanders had to distinguish himself from Democrats to establish his own brand. But once he got to Congress in 1990, he voted with the Dems, nearly 100 percent of the time. The Democratic establishment funded his 2006 senate campaign, including $10,000 from HillPAC, Hillary Clinton’s funding arm. He caucused with the Democrats in the Senate. And by the way, he’s running as a Democrat.But none of that deters Mr Matthews from attempting to distinguish Democrats from socialists.
On his January 6 Hardball program, he got the political class to tell the truth.
First among the talking heads is Joy Reid, who characterized the Dowager Empress as "Just as 'progressive' as Bernie Sanders."
Then came former Vermont governor and national committee chairman Howard "I Scream You Scream" Dean who said the neighborly thing. "Let me stand up for Senator Sanders." He went on during the show to confirm that the Democrats and the social democrats are pushing for the same thing. That's not available in the excerpt, which ends after six minutes with Mr Matthews and the governor saying a lot of nothing about some poll. But for Mr Dean, nationalizing the commanding heights of the economy is not required.
Put another way, no difference. But economist Irving Fisher could have told you that, nearly a hundred years ago.