Bernie Sanders just hired David Sirota as his new speechwriter in his effort to secure the Democrat nomination for 2020.
For those who don’t remember, Sirota was one of the biggest apologists for Venezuela’s socialist government when unprecedented amount of petrodollars were flowing into the country.
When the Chavez’s model of central planning seemed to defy the laws of economics thanks to massive oil revenues, Sirota was one of Chavez government’s biggest cheerleaders. Sirota believed that Chavez’s “brand of socialism achieved real economic gains.”
While writing for Salon magazine in 2013, Sirota wrote an essay commemorating the legacy of Chavez, who had just died then. Sirota described Chavez’s legacy as an “economic miracle.”
Sirota wrote, “Chavez racked up an economic record that a legacy-obsessed American president could only dream of achieving.” The journalist then added that Venezuelan socialism “suddenly looks like a threat to the corporate capitalism, especially when said country has valuable oil resources that global powerhouses like the United States rely on.”
This “economic miracle” that Sirota gushed over was only an illusion. The high oil prices only masked the flawed institutional underpinnings of the Venezuelan economy. We must remember that the Venezuelan economy has been in decline for multiple decades thanks to flawed policies in the 1970s that were never fully tackled head on.
The high oil prices of the mid-2000s gave the country a short-term lifeline at best. Once oil prices plummeted, Venezuela’s already rickety economic foundation came crumbling down. Ever since Venezuela imploded, the Left has pulled its best Houdini impression by ignoring this obvious failure of economic interventionism. Many detractors have declared Venezuela to be “not real socialism”, despite the country having many socialist features.
It is worrisome that presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders openly talk about socialism as if it were some harmless economic system. The legacy of socialism and its tyrannical variants is one of genocide and oppression. Despite these harsh facts, people continue to extol the virtues of socialism.
In all likelihood, Sanders won’t win the Democratic nomination. However, his campaign will serve as another vehicle for the normalization of socialist discourse in the United States. Once a culture accepts socialism, it’s only a matter of time before the political system adapts to this cultural reality.
Progressives are playing the long game and are willing to make gradual steps in achieving these goals. The Sanders campaign is a stepping stone in their multi-decade scheme to turn the U.S. into a Banana Republic. All free-marketers should firmly stand against Sanders and the ideas his campaign stands for.