The Vermont senator’s ideologically aware defenders will retort that he is not the scary kind of socialist who wants government to take over the means of production. Rather, they cast him as a warm and fuzzy social democrat who wants to use government to reduce insecurity and bolster opportunity for all. But Mr. Sanders has proposed not only the complete nationalization of the U.S. health-care system but also a $2 trillion federal takeover of electrical power production. Public support for Medicare for All plummets when people are told that it would eliminate private health insurance, a core feature of Mr. Sanders’s plan.
Because there are more conservatives than liberals in the electorate, Democratic presidential nominees cannot triumph unless they win a strong majority of moderate voters. But only 11% of these voters have a positive view of socialism, compared with 53% who oppose it.