Sanders Campaign Co-Chair Attempts to Deflect Question on Socialism by Quoting Shakespeare

February 20, 2020

Nina Turner, the national co-chair of Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) presidential campaign, quoted Shakespeare Thursday when asked about socialism's unpopularity with voters.

"You know, Shakespeare once said, 'What's in a name? A rose by any other name smells just as sweet," Turner said, paraphrasing from Romeo and Juliet. "What is democratic socialism? It is government of the people, by the people, and for the people."

"I appreciate Shakespeare just as much as you do," responded CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin. "I want an answer on the fact that the majority of America is not comfortable with a socialist president."

Baldwin cited a poll that found two-thirds of respondents said they were uncomfortable with a president who is a socialist. Turner said Sanders, however, identifies as a "democratic socialist," and she touted some of his signature policies such as Medicare for All. Baldwin pressed her about pivoting away from the question on socialism's unpopularity, but Turner said questions about socialism were an attempt by "elites" to "demonize" the word.

"If you just bandy that word about without an explanation, and try to demonize it, which the elites are doing, then you get that in that poll," Turner said. "People can swing polls any way they decide to swing those, and you and I both know that."

Baldwin asked if Sanders should use a different word besides socialist. Turner said Sanders should not.

"For all of the people trying to make hay over the word, Senator Sanders is not talking about socialism in a traditional sense, in terms of what happens in Europe. He never once said the government should take over the production of all goods and services in the country. The only thing he's saying is that there are millions of people in this country who are suffering," Turner said.