It shouldn’t have to be repeated so often, but Bernie Sanders is not anti-capitalist, a socialist, nor even much of a solid leftist. Sure, he’s much further to the left than your average Democrat. Social democrats are in general slightly more to the left than traditional Democrats. However just because he’s more to the left than the competition doesn’t mean he’s anything radical. Social democrats don’t aim to overthrow capitalism, they merely aim to expand the welfare state under capitalism which is like putting a bandaid on a gaping wound and expecting the bleeding to stop.
While many of Bernie’s proposals like Medicare for All can definitely aid many poor and working class people in the short term and could be justified in that respect, other positions he takes actually produce way more harm in the short term with no justifiable long term effects.
Sanders’ views on immigration are in conflict with those of the majority of the left. While the left has spawned movements such as Occupy ICE, calling for the abolition of immigration enforcement and for the adoption of an open border policy, Bernie is still in the old school liberal mindset that more immigrant workers means fewer American jobs. This type of economic nationalism comes at the expense of the working class as a whole and is used to justify further immigration restrictions. Granted, he’s all for letting the folks who already live here stay, but he’s very much for restricting future immigration. The fact that he talks about how immigrants are exploited for cheap off-the-books labor as a reason to restrict future immigration is despicable. It is one thing to recognize that such exploitation is wrong and should be combated, but responding by punishing immigrants via limiting their right to travel is a form of victim blaming that should not be tolerated whatsoever.
Then there’s his overt support for the Israeli state. Whereas a majority of the left sees the destruction Israel has brought down upon the Palestinians and has called for the dissolution of the Israeli state, Bernie takes the more traditional Democratic view that Israel is an ally that should be protected. Sad to see that Sanders doesn’t seem to have the same concern for oppressed Palestinians as he does for American workers.
Most concerning however is Bernie’s support for FOSTA/SESTA. While claiming to fight for the working class, Sanders voted to pass these pieces of legislation which greatly impacted the lives and safety of sex workers across the nation. Claiming to fight for the working class while making it harder and more dangerous for some of the most marginalized workers to merely exist and survive is absurd. Granted, the legislation was proposed as a means to combat “sex trafficking,” but even after the mainstream conversation exposed the legislation for what it was, he offered no retraction or regret. In fact, he seems to have chosen to stay silent on the issue altogether. So much for championing the working class.
All this is on top of the fact that Sanders has yet to propose a single actually socialist policy or offer any real challenge to the current system. Instead of attempting to curtail excesses of the state, he consistently proposes to add more layers of bureaucracy and regulation on top of an already corrupt and failing system. Instead of calling to end subsidies or abolish oppressive state agencies, he chooses to propose more restrictions on how such subsidies get used and how such agencies operate. Again, Bernie can’t seem to find any other solution than to place a bandaid on an open wound when the reality is that we need an amputation.