U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders greets supporters at a campaign rally outside the New Hampshire State House in Concord

White House hopeful embraces a dirty word in US politics – 'socialist'

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders greets supporters at a campaign rally outside the New Hampshire State House in ConcordThe question though is whether the independent Vermont senator can persuade a broader swath of Democrats to accept his version of socialism, a term he acknowledges makes many people “very, very nervous.” In the next few weeks, Sanders, who is trailing Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton in polls, will try to take the sting out of the label with a speech aimed at explaining his democratic socialist views. Selling the “socialist” tag remains a steep hurdle for a presidential candidate in the United States, where polls indicate it is still a negative for many voters and would be a major hindrance in a general election campaign. “It won’t be a problem in the Democratic primary,” he said, although if Sanders pulls off a political miracle and wins the nomination “it would be a tougher sell in a general election.” Sanders-style democratic socialism is a far cry from the classic Soviet-style system featuring government ownership of private industry.

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