Even as a socialist, Bernie Sanders has been wise enough to tone down just how far-left he truly is on the campaign trail. To distance himself from noteable socialist failures around the globe (i.e. all of them), Sanders assures us that he’s not talking about “Cuba and Venezuela” – he’s talking about countries like Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.  Of course, Sanders has previously heaped praise on Cuba and the USSR, and once republished an article on his website arguing that the American dream is more alive in Venezuela than it is here.

The “socialist” label is enough to make Sanders toxic to most voters, and Trump is already going a step further in branding him a communist. During his Super Bowl interview,  Trump said, “I think he is a communist. I think of communism when I think of Bernie. You can say socialist. Didn’t he get married in Moscow?”

During an appearance on Fox News with Chris Wallace, Sanders replied “It gives me no pleasure to say this, we have a president who is a pathological liar. He lies. No, I did not get married in Moscow. I participated in creating a sister city program.” He continued, “Obviously, I am not a communist. I presume the president knows the difference. Maybe he doesn’t.” He then went on to argue that “In many respects, we are a socialist society today. We have a huge budget. It puts money into all areas.”

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Anyone so inclined can watch his full interview by clicking *here*  (relevant part begins at 3:37).

Sanders is well aware of how the “communist” label damages his brand as an American presidential candidate – but unsurprisingly, he was singing a different tune before he was one.

As the Washington Examiner reported: In 1972, Sanders, then a gubernatorial protest candidate for the socialist Liberty Union Party, visited an alternative high school in Rutland, Vermont, to give his campaign pitch. During a question-and-answer session, Sanders, then 31, brushed off accusations of being a left-wing radical. “I don’t mind people coming up and calling me a communist,” Sanders said. “At least, they’re still alive.”

Although Sanders has refrained from self-identifying as a communist, his ties with far-left Marxist groups go back decades. The Washington Examiner reported last May on his ties with far-left political parties such as the Socialist Workers Party. During his time as mayor of Burlington, Vermont, he littered his office with newspapers and pamphlets from revolutionary organizations.

On Monday, the Washington Post reported that in 1983, Soviet Embassy First Secretary Vadim Kuznetsov congratulated Sanders in a letter for his reelection as mayor of Burlington. Kuznetsov, a leader of the Soviet’s spy outfit, had just attended a conference in Sanders’s city a few days earlier.

And speaking of socialism and communism, the man presented as the Democrats’ relative “moderate” facing off against him once praised that exact brand of socialism. According to the Daily Callera 20-year-old essay written by Pete Buttigieg had nothing but praise for the self-described socialist. Buttigieg won the John F. Kennedy “Profiles in Courage” essay contest with a piece lauding Sanders — both for his willingness to take unpopular stands and his ability to work across the aisle. 

In the essay, Buttigieg wrote: Sanders’ courage is evident in the first word he uses to describe himself: ‘Socialist’. In a country where Communism is still the dirtiest of ideological dirty words, in a climate where even liberalism is considered radical, and Socialism is immediately and perhaps willfully confused with Communism, a politician dares to call himself a socialist? He does indeed. Here is someone who has ‘looked into his own soul/ and expressed an ideology, the endorsement of which, in today’s political atmosphere, is analogous to a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Even though he has lived through a time in which an admitted socialist could not act in a film, let alone hold a Congressional seat.

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Mayor Pete concluded that paragraph: Sanders is not afraid to be candid about his political persuasion.

Unless you call him a communist.