Bernie Sanders is the American running for the presidency of his country as a Social Democrat. This has gotten the attention of the whole world and begs the question: What do we understand by Social Democrat? Are you able to win the presidency with this ideology?
This politician has a long history in the U.S. government. He was the only congressman from Vermont for 16 years in the House of Representatives, and has been senator since 2006, and is currently serving his second term after being re-elected in 2012.
What started as a meow is now a loud roar. He has reduced the gap in the polls with the main Democratic Party candidate, the former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This is due to Sanders’s unstoppable growth — he has surpassed the crowd, poll and donation records we saw during the campaigns of the current president, Obama. Nevertheless, not one analyst predicts Sanders’s victory as the Democratic nominee.
His self-proclamation as a "Social Democrat" implies a firm challenge to the increasing disparity between the wealthy classes and the rest of society — the United States has one of the most uneven distributions of income and welfare in the whole world, and that is now the central issue in the economic and political debate in the country.
Among his noteworthy and intriguing ideas are: raising taxes on the rich, increasing the minimum wage, reducing national defense spending, generating investment in infrastructure, providing free access to education, and guaranteeing health as a right for all.
Undoubtedly Sanders’s proposals and reasoning (as well as the public attention and response by the electorate) are similar to those of the promoters of the "Socialism of the 21st century,” a system that had been present in Latin America and was beaten by late 2015.
How would the socialism we have experienced in Latin America differ from what could be in the United States? Should Americans be afraid of a socialist entering the White House?
History and political culture show that the biggest difference is, and will be, weak governance and the nonexistent separation of the powers.
In Latin America, we had been witnesses of how under the banner of “socialism," the executive power outright interfered with the other functions of government. We are victims of the abuse of power and constant changes in legal frameworks. We live in a place where it is easy to change the whole country based on each new ideology that comes to power or simple political whim. The constitution is nothing more than sand in the hands of the president.
This is in total contrast to the United States. Its Constitution is 200 years old, clear, indestructible and permanent, and is not intimidated by any ideology that is looking to alter the pillars of the state. Consequently, socialism could hardly result in a catastrophe for the U.S. If Sanders is elected, he will not be able to do what he wants, neither through intimidation nor by meddling in the roles of others. True democracy, whether capitalist or socialist, dwells in the separation of powers and in a government with strong powers and structures.
Unfortunately, our history is the total opposite.