Sanders and social democracy

Bernie Sanders was one of the Democratic Party’s favorite candidates competing for the US presidential nomination. He was at the forefront as a result of many surveys, he received the highest vote in Iowa in the preliminary election, and New Hampshire and Nevada also won.

Sanders showed a different line of politicians with what he did in his political past. He described himself as a democratic socialist and adopted the Scandinavian style, especially the Swedish model. In 1981, when he was elected Mayor in Burlington, he opened youth centers that provided free services and offered the opportunity to socialize for young people. He ensured that the city’s rich people received more taxes and worked on strengthening women’s rights. He prepared various programs for the people to buy houses cheaper and rebuilt the city as a more livable city.

Bernie Sanders successfully won the elections he entered as an independent candidate in 1991 and became a Vermont senator. Sanders has been actively involved in youth movements and has a political line advocating basic social democratic ideas such as free healthcare and free university education since his political life at the university. Unlike the other presidential candidates, the political understanding of the fact that Sanders argued that, the same policy throughout the life stems from a stable way of defense. He has always drawn a consistent line in his will and policies he advocates. For this reason, he created a reliable and sincere image in his voters.

Democratic socialism or social democracy

Sanders himself used the expression “democratic socialism” in 2015, identifying it with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights. Associating the founding values ​​of the country with social democracy, Sanders described the model he presented by saying “social justice for all”. It aims to create a working economy for the richest American citizen in America and for the poorest American citizen. In his own statement, he stated that the existing system is unfair and rotten, and that social reforms and health and education are fundamental rights and that they should be absolutely free. The system working in this direction will destroy the unjust and rotten structure and make it possible to make very strong political reforms. The model he defends as democratic socialism does not foresee a model that eliminates capitalist modes of production or the free market – such as Finland.

By establishing the Sanders Institute, chaired by his wife Jane Sanders, he tries to fill the definition of “democratic socialist”, to raise young politicians by making policies in this direction and to make the Scandinavian social democracy understanding the focus of the US. Jane Sanders, who is the President of the Institute, did her PhD on leadership and policy production. He attended two leadership programs at Harward University and specialized in policy making.

When we look at the model that the Sanders Institute is working on, we can clearly see that it is not the classical socialist model that is known. It can be defined as an effort to create a new American model mostly through the Canadian or European model. It defends a new model that goes beyond European achievements, not the main goal being Europeanization. He worked for this model throughout his life and defended these values.

Sanders and the Progressive International

It may be possible to come up with an idea about the future of the Progressive International, formed by the cooperation of the Sanders Institute and DiEM25. The Sanders Institute, founded by Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane Sanders, is one of the locomotives of this building.

The Swedish model, which it defends, is the social democracy. The fact that this view is effective in the Progressive International, which contains two poles, is an important development for both European social democrats and Turkish social democrats.

The movement, which emerged from global climate protests in 2019, highlights democracy, solidarity and democratic participation in its statement. They are not closed to any legal or natural person who shares the progressive International vision and principles. When we look at the picture that the Progressive International draws on the “Vision of Progress”, we can interpret it as a structure that will offer studies aiming at a “more democratic, free from exploitation, egalitarian, libertarian, solidarity, sustainable, ecological, participatory, pluralistic world”.

I think it is necessary to read Sanders’s withdrawal from the presidential race. Sanders have been described as a contrary political name among democrats to date. “Democratic Socialism” was always at the forefront with its own definition. He always regarded being an independent Vermont Senator more honorable. This stance he displayed was actually a model for the new stance of the Progressive International. During his campaign, he defended the strategy that chose small (individual) donors as the target audience and brought the party closer to the “left” view and his party. This strategy is now implemented in the Progressive International. Individual membership and individual support are the focus of an international organization model.

The elections in America continue between President Trump – his famous businessman – and his former vice president, Joe Biden, who runs international business.

The political winner of the election is social democracy. This progressive union will soon begin to bear fruit. I hope that in the new normalization process, we will understand the value of think tanks and the production of ideas, and we can say “there is hope” before it is late.

Muratcan Isildak
Muratcan Isildak
As a PhD student, he studies in political science and public administration , actively serves as an court expert and is the president of the board of Genç Düşünce Enstitüsü.