Don't 'feel the Bern' — fear it

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On Tuesday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said of Republican presidential candidate Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBill would require nominees release tax returns Trump slams 'thugs' who protested rally Ryan decries 'bitterness' in politics MORE that "he has now become dangerous." A couple weeks before that, Democratic candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonBill would require nominees release tax returns Watchdog: Clinton, top aides did not comply on records policy Sanders aide questions Boxer's story about fearing for her safety MORE implied the same thing, arguing that what Trump is "saying now is not only shameful and wrong — it's dangerous." I've seen the media compare him to Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini et al. Choose your evil dictator, and some talking head thinks Trump is just like him.

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Maybe Trump is dangerous; maybe he's not. What's lost on the political class and the mainstream media is that Trump is light years away from being the most dangerous presidential candidate. If Donald Trump is Busch League dangerous, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders aide questions Boxer's story about fearing for her safety Aide: Sanders has faced little pressure from Dems to end campaign Clinton rules out Sanders while playing 'who'd you rather' to chose running mate MORE (I-Vt.) is NASCAR-Sprint-Cup-series-champion dangerous.

Sanders is unlikely to win the Democratic nomination, given that he's currently trailing Clinton by 24 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics average and he's being absolutely walloped by Clinton among the party's superdelegates: that count stands at about 359 to 11 right now, according to The Washington Post.

What should be feared is not a Sanders presidency; that isn't going to happen. The fear should be that a candidate so far on the fringes of American political thought has developed such a large following for his "political revolution."

This fall, a video surfaced of Sanders, then-mayor of Burlington, Vt., praising Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

The video is from 1985, so not many in the mainstream media thought it was of great significance. That is to say, it wasn't timely, substantive vetting material like a 17-year-old video of Republican candidate Ben Carson saying his personal belief is that Joseph built the pyramids. Sanders's view of Castro and the Cuban people espoused in the video shows a monumentally dangerous misunderstanding of Cuba.

In the video, Sanders says:

[I]n 1961, they invaded Cuba, and everybody was totally convinced that Castro was the worst guy in the world. All the Cuban people were going to rise up in rebellion against Fidel Castro. They forgot that he educated their kids, gave them healthcare, totally transformed society. You know, not to say Fidel Castro and Cuba are perfect — they are certainly not — but just because Ronald Reagan dislikes these people does not mean to say the people in their own nations feel the same way.

If Sanders were a Republican, he'd have been immediately ambushed by a dozen reporters asking, "Do you still believe the Cuban people did not rise up against Fidel Castro because they loved their free healthcare and public educations so much?"

Not only does Sanders's fantasyland vision of Cuba ignore the Escambray Rebellion, Brigade 2506 and several groups of dissidents over the years, it also ignores the vast number of Cubans who have risked everything to escape Castro's tyranny.

In 1985, when Sanders made the comments, over 600,000 Cubans had already fled to America. That was, at the time, 5 percent of the entire Cuban population! Today, about 10 percent of the world's Cubans live in the United States. Sanders should speak to some of them. He should ask them why they willingly chose to forfeit their free healthcare to come here.

Every year, thousands of Cubans flee oppression to come to America. Sometimes they set sail through shark-infested waters on makeshift rafts. Guess who they never pass along the way? Americans escaping to the land of free healthcare.

The truth is, Castro repressed dissent with arrests and executions. In Tamiami Park in Miami, there's a monument displaying the names of 10,000 Cuban heroes who were killed opposing Cuban communism.

Another tactic Castro used to quash rebellion was a good old-fashioned gun grab. One of Castro's first orders of business after the Movimiento 26 de July overthrew Fulgencio Batista was to round up whatever arms the Cuban citizens possessed.

According to an AP report:

Cubans were encouraged to register any weapons they owned in the years after Fidel Castro and his band of rebels toppled dictator Fulgencio Batista on Jan. 1, 1959. But later authorities used a list of those who had sought licenses to go door-to-door and encourage them to turn over their firearms — even antiques considered family heirlooms.

Socialism (even oxymoronic democratic socialism) places an almost religious-level of faith in the government's ability to provide security while simultaneously placing zero faith in the governed to make their own choices. That is why socialism always begins with cheering crowds and ends in economic ruin.

Sanders is a big believer in government-provided security, but shows a complete lack of understanding when it comes to freedom. To Sanders, dependency is freedom, politicians are the arbiters of fairness and justice, and expanding the power of government is the answer to every problem. He believes a country is better when the government controls the wealth created by the governed. Meanwhile, freedom dies a slow and painful death.

Sorry, Hillary Clinton and Bill de Blasio, but Bernie Sanders has cornered the market on dangerous.

Zipperer is assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College.

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