by Oana Godeanu-Kenworthy
Bernie Sanders has emerged as the Democratic front-runner in the race for the presidential nomination.
Yet even some left-leaning pundits and publications are concerned about what they see as Sanders’ potential lack of electability.
Sanders is a Democratic Socialist. And the label “socialist” is a political liability in American culture. According to a Gallup poll released on Feb. 11, 2020, only 45% of Americans would vote for a socialist.
I am a scholar of American culture with an interest in the relationship between political ideologies and popular culture.
In my research, I have found that this antipathy toward socialism may not be an accident: American identity today is strongly tied to an image of capitalism crafted and advertised by the Ad Council and American corporate interests over decades, often with the support of the U.S. government.