Democrat presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is an openly-proclaimed socialist, and it was already well-known that he has touted the virtues of socialist and communist regimes in the past, from those in Central America to the former Soviet Union.
A major media outlet just revealed a much more vivid picture of Sanders’ 1988 “honeymoon” in the Soviet Union that could end up hurting his chances of winning the White House.
Hours of footage unearthed
A reporter from Politico received the opportunity to view hours of old video footage from that trip to Russia, as the then-mayor of Burlington, Vermont led a delegation with the intention of forming a “sister city” relationship with a Russian city known as Yaroslavl.
Brief snippets of the more than three-and-a-half hours of footage from Russia had already been released publicly by someone at Chittenden County’s Channel 17 local access channel, on which Sanders at one point hosted a program.
That footage showed a shirtless Sanders and members of his delegation relaxing in a sauna with their Russian hosts while joking and talking and singing “This Land is Your Land.”
Singing socialism’s praises
But the rest of the footage shows so much more than that, including multiple scenes of Sanders and his entourage seated or standing near the ubiquitous shrines to the Soviet Union’s first communist dictator, Vladimir Lenin.
Sanders, his wife Jane, and members of delegation also sung the praises of the Soviet system and the Russian way of life, and while the Americans did acknowledge a few of the major drawbacks and problems in Soviet society, the overall view was a positive one.
It is worth noting that in terms of creating a “sister city” relationship with Yaroslavl and Burlington, the trip was a success, as the two cities remain in contact and have conducted all sorts of business and cultural exchanges over the years.
Coming back to haunt him?
It is further worth noting that this trip occurred during the era in which the spirit of “glastnost” and “perestroika” was a thing, when the United States and the Soviet Union were tentatively reaching out in order to establish a friendlier relationship between the nuclear-armed superpowers.
That said, some prospective 2020 voters may view Sanders’ overtures toward the communists and his willingness to overlook their grievous shortcomings as rather over the top, or “outlandish,” as Politico phrased it.
While there are currently no plans to publicly release all of the raw footage that the Politico reporter was allowed to view, there is always the possibility that it could happen in the future.
Should that eventually occur, the footage would undoubtedly provide ample fodder for both Republicans and Sanders’ Democrat rivals to use in attack ads, as even many on the left realize that America is simply not ready for a communist-loving socialist to occupy the Oval Office.