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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: If Bernie Sanders is a socialist, then so are most Americans

Bernie Sanders rally
Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a rally attended by more than 15,000 people at the Los Angeles Convention Center on March 1.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I agree with columnist Robin Abcarian that the kind of socialism espoused by presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders will not threaten the future of the Democratic Party if he’s the nominee; instead, it will strengthen it.

Over the years, both Republicans and Democrats have accepted about two-thirds of the 1928 Socialist Party platform on economic reforms, advancing capitalism into a more workable system today. Now, nearly all Americans have accepted the Federal Reserve bank, the eight-hour work day, universal healthcare and so many other social and economic benefits.

Many businesses are in fact subsidized, benefiting wealthy elites, corporations and agriculture. So, why all the fuss over Sanders’ “radical” ideas?

Jose A. Hernandez, San Fernando

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To the editor: Trump may be less popular than Richard Nixon in 1972, but Sanders’ nomination still promises to be an electoral disaster, likely costing Democrats their House majority.

Abcarian needs to see past her ideological animosity toward President Clinton, a centrist Democrat, and ask what will happen when the Trump campaign highlights Sanders’ self-identification as a democratic socialist or points out the economic effects of his tax and expenditure proposals.

Democrats made gains in the 2018 midterm election thanks to the suburban and moderate voters who were appalled by what they saw in the White House. Many of these voters will simply not support Sanders.

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David Perel, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Finally, someone had the wisdom and courage to honestly define the Democratic Party’s reaction to Sen. George McGovern’s landslide loss to Nixon in 1972 and, more importantly, what it means right now.

My first vote was in 1972, and I was thrilled to vote for someone I believed in. The party indeed moved to the right in response, electing Clinton in 1992 and giving us his disastrous policies that followed.

I hope Sen. Elizabeth Warren comes down the stretch winning, but if Sanders is the nominee, I will proudly vote for someone I actually believe in.

Terry House, Palm Springs

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To the editor: Like Abcarian, I believe a race between Sanders and Trump will be closer than many people think. However, she needs to brush up on her American history badly when she intimates that Nixon practically had a free ride to re-election in 1972.

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Nixon was is serious trouble when 1972 rolled around. A recession in 1969, his expansion of the unpopular Vietnam War in 1970, high inflation in early 1971 and the implementation of wage and price controls put Nixon’s reelection is jeopardy.

In fact, by the start of 1972 Democratic Sen. Edmund Muskie of Maine was considered to be a favorite to unseat Nixon until he self-destructed in the early primaries. It was Nixon’s historic trip to China in February 1972 and the missile treaty with the Soviet Union that May that gave Nixon some breathing room.

Yes, peace was at hand in Vietnam by November, but it was only in the three months leading up to the election that Nixon took credit for what he was able to accomplish; that along with Democratic bungling turned 1972 into a landslide win.

I taught high school U.S. history for 35 years, and I know a canard when I see one.

Fred Peritore, Arcadia


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