It really is about Republicans calling Bernie a commie, when all he wants is for us to be more like Norway, which is NOT Socialist by their or anybody's definition. This is Republican fear-baiting, nothing more. It's The Big Lie. Tell it enough for years, and some people will start to believe it. They certainly did that to Hillary.
Once they began calling Obama and his policies "socialist", you would think most people would laugh and ridicule them, but they packed many millions of dollars behind their messaging, to make sure that it would stick.
I keep saying that when people or groups spend that kind of money, they expect to get some results. Well, we are now living with the results: Trump, and a level of red-baiting that almost makes the 1950's look tame by comparison.
Bernie's mistake was insisting that he could simultaneously "educate the masses" that democratic socialism was a benign thing, a restoration of the New Deal and cancelling the worst excesses of Reaganomics and Trickle Down...AND float mass appeal and electability all at the same time.
As many have said, the public as it is today, is conditioned to think in blunt sound bites and they arrive at conclusions based on overly simplistic tribal shibboleths.
The conditioning has been so successful that Trump actually said in a Fox News Town Hall that "politicians have to be civil."
Imagine Trump asking for civility. Imagine the kind of psycho-linguistic engineering it takes to make a sizable portion of the electorate "buy" a Donald Trump plea for "civility".
Now you know where all the money went.
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