For the entirety of his 49-year career in politics, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) has chosen to identify as a socialist. Now that Sanders is the frontrunner to win the Democratic nomination for president, smug New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wants to deny him the right to his own identity.
Krugman's recent column for the Times—"Bernie Sanders Isn't a Socialist"—is a typically condescending and incoherent diatribe that relies on factual inaccuracies to support an underwhelming argument, which Krugman confines to a single paragraph:
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The thing is, Bernie Sanders isn't actually a socialist in any normal sense of the term. He doesn't want to nationalize our major industries and replace markets with central planning; he has expressed admiration, not for Venezuela, but for Denmark. He's basically what Europeans would call a social democrat—and social democracies like Denmark are, in fact, quite nice places to live, with societies that are, if anything, freer than our own.
The s-word, Krugman proceeds to argue, would be "a gift to the Trump campaign" should Sanders win the nomination, as would socialist proposals like Medicare for All, which Krugman concedes is not an especially popular proposition. Krugman still thinks Democrats should support Sanders if he's the nominee—he just wishes the socialist candidate wasn't "so determined to make himself a target for right-wing smears."
The Times columnist also takes a shot at former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg for having the audacity to suggest budget deficits are bad, a "remarkably stale" idea. That's a bit rich coming from Krugman, who spent the entire Obama administration arguing in favor of deficit spending, only to conclude that "deficits matter again" after Trump was elected, only to change his mind again when a Democratic candidate says it.
In any event, Paul Krugman is a self-righteous moron who shouldn't lecture socialists on how to identify.