By Don Feder
January 2, 2019

       Geriatric presidential candidate Bernie Sanders isn't popular with seniors – even Democrats.

       A just-released Quinnipiac Poll shows that while Sanders has the support of 52% of Democrats under 35, just 2% of those over 65 back him.

       Students for Bernie believes it has the solution. "It's up to us students and young people to make the moral appeal to our older relatives to join us in voting for Bernie, because, let's face it: they won't be around for as long to deal with the consequences of this election, but we will," reads its "Family Persuasion Guide."

       Ah, the moral appeal of socialism – theft, rationing, confiscatory taxation and soaring unemployment.

       "They won't be around for as long" – translation: "Pops and Grams, you're on the way out. Think of our future, and vote for the most-failed ideology of the past century."

       What are the odds that 78-year-old who suffered a heart attack in October will be around on Election Day 2020?

       Seniors are expected to take political advice from millennials based on what: their life experience, their vast knowledge of history and government, or their patriotism?

       In recent polls:

       • 22% of millennials said they'd never heard of the Holocaust, while 66% could not identify Auschwitz.

       • More than 50% attributed the quote "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs," to Thomas Paine, George Washington or Barack Obama." In fact, it came from a guy Bernie roomed with at boarding school – Karl Marx.

       • Among college seniors, only 29% knew what Reconstruction was, 22% knew the phrase "government of the people, by the people and for the people" came from the Gettysburg Address and barely half could identify the term of service of members of the House and Senate.

       • Of Americans under 30, 53% have a favorable view of socialism, compared with less than a third of those over 30. Moreover, most of the former have an understanding of collectivism grounded in clichιs. "I think socialism means doing what is best for everyone in society," said one of Bernie's youthful supporters interviewed at a 2016 rally.

       They don't know much about American history and don't identify much with America.

       In a 2018 YouGov poll, when asked if America has a history we should be proud of, 85% of baby-boomers said yes, compared to 65% of millennials and a bare majority (54%) of Gen Z, who are still in high school.

       Would you take political advice from a bunch of ignorant losers (1/3 of those 25 to 34 live in their parent's home)? Like the Eloi in H.G. Wells' "The Time Machine," this is a generation that doesn't know anything and doesn't do anything.

       The Sanders' campaign has the perfect formula for appealing to these innocents: "Hey, kids, want lots of free stuff? Bernie's got it – free tuition, student loans forgiven, government-run health care, a $15-an-hour minimum wage and subsidized housing, not to mention boots and mountaineers' picks for scaling the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

       Bernie Sanders is a democratic socialist, his campaign keeps reminding us –a democratic socialist who has consistently supported undemocratic socialism everywhere in the world.

       In 1988, Sanders visited Moscow with his new bride. There he met "ordinary people" from every walk of life, he assured us. The then-Mayor of Burlington, Vt. was impressed by housing and rail service in the good old USSR. Russians paid only 5% of their income on housing, compared to 40% in America, he excitedly reported. Those spacious two-room apartments for a family of six were reasonably priced.

       At banquets, Sanders routinely denounced the way America "intervened" in other countries. There was nary a word of criticism for the 50-year Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe, or crushing popular uprisings in East Berlin, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

       The following year, Sanders made an ideological pilgrimage to Cuba, where he praised the revolution that has kept the Castro family in power for over 50 years, without an election anywhere in sight.

       He also found it "interesting" that the outlaw regime provides its people with "free health care, free education (and) free housing." Clearly, the Cubans are creating "a very different values system than the one we are familiar with," Sanders observed.

       True, we choose our government. In Cuba, it's imposed on the people. We have freedom of speech and other basic civil liberties. They do not. Tens of thousands of Americans haven't crossed shark-infested waters on rafts to reach the tropical gulag.

       As for the much-vaunted Cuban health care system, when I was there in 1998, a surgeon told me she earned the equivalent of $30 US a month. Patients bring their own bedding to hospitals. Everything's up to date in Cuban health care. When I went to Havana, I was told to bring aspirin to help alleviate the shortage.

       Bernie was also full of praise for the Sandinista regime, when he visited Nicaragua during the Reagan years. He even had nice things to say about breadlines. That "people are lining up for food" is "a good thing." No kidding. "In other countries, people don't line up for food. The rich get the food and the poor starve to death." Bet you didn't know that.

       Earlier this year, when leftists the world over were calling for communist strongman Nicholas Maduro to resign as president of Venezuela, Sanders' criticisms were muted.

       "There are serious questions" about Venezuela's recent election. "There are many people who feel it was a fraudulent election," Sanders admitted. Many people? How about everyone who isn't an out-and-out communist, including Clinton's HHS Secretary Donna Shalala?

       Still, despite serious misgivings about the Maduro regime, Sanders warned against U.S. intervention. In Venezuela, protestors must be left to work things out with security forces armed with tanks. Sanders never opposed communist interventionism by Russia or Cuba. Between Bernie and Bolshevism there is a mutual admiration society.

       The December 10, 2019 issue of the People's World, a publication of the Communist Party USA, notifies the revolutionary vanguard: "Defeating Donald Trump and the ultra-right in 2020 means moving the electorate to the left. The most effective force doing that is the Sanders campaign, which we should become fully immersed in."

       Did someone forget to tell the People's World that Bernie is a democratic socialist – or do they realize it's a ruse?

       Those over 65 who routinely reject Sanders are perhaps old enough to remember Soviet tanks in the streets of Budapest, Tiananmen Square and the Cuban missile crisis. His student cadre probably thinks the Bay of Pigs had something to do with pork sausages.

       If Bernie is the Democratic nominee, how will he do? That depends on how many electoral votes North Korea has.

Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains a Facebook page.

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