The Corner

The Sanders Ad Is Brilliant Because It Normalizes Socialism

In response to Rudy Cuts to The Chase

Jim — Agree the ad is brilliant, but I’d flesh out the reason why it’s brilliant. For more than a century, socialism has had a problem convincing people it’s American. This isn’t simply a function of 1950s anti-Communism. At least since Werner Sombart famously asked, “Why is there no socialism in the United States?” even progressive intellectuals have debated — often with great frustration — why the flower of socialism (I’d say the “weed of socialism,” but whatever) cannot find purchase in American soil. Norman Thomas and Eugene V. Debs struggled with the problem of how to sell socialism as an authentic domestic movement and not a foreign import.

I don’t think one Simon & Garfunkel song will solve the problem for Sanders should he make it to the general election. But it is a very effective ad for addressing the problem. One might argue that the smartest thing about it is that he makes no attempt to address the issue head-on, since it’s always been more of an emotional association than a fully fleshed-out argument.

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