Professor Jean Yarbrough is Professor of Government and Gary M. Pendy, Sr. Professor of Social Sciences at Bowdoin College. She wrote the indispensable book on the political thought of Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt and the American Political Tradition. She writes to comment on Bernie Sanders’s attribution of his “democratic socialism” to Franklin Roosevelt:
Just remember that FDR got it from TR, who called for a new social contract in the progressive party platform of 1912 and campaigned wearing a RED bandana. In his last days in the White House, he published two essays outlining where he could and could not work with the “socialists.” What he meant was he couldn’t work with communists, but could indeed work with socialists. Some of them, he thought, were nothing more than advanced liberals. How right he was.
What enables socialists and their sympathizers to get away with this is that most people are pretty hazy about the difference between liberal democracy and social democracy, the first showing far more respect for the rights of property.