Bernie Sanders is a U.S. senator from Vermont, a 2016 and 2020 presidential candidate, and a self-described “democratic socialist.” For this, Sanders (1941–) has taken a good deal of criticism from those who regard socialism as, at best, an exotic European import, or at worst as an ideological offshoot of the old Soviet Union or China—but, in either case, as deeply un-American. In this speech, Sanders clarifies his beliefs, and attempts to show how many of the fundamental government programs and policies that most Americans view as essential today were once derided as “socialist.” These include President Roosevelt’s New Deal, initiatives such as Social Security, and the creation of minimum wage laws, unemployment benefits, the forty-hour work week, and many others. Similarly, President Johnson’s later Great Society programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, which guarantee minimum basic levels of health care to the elderly and poor, were likewise vilified as “socialist” at their inception. Unlike some socialists, Sanders says that he is not in favor of the government owning the means of production. Likewise, many of the historical policies he favors are actually much more closely akin to welfare liberalism. Nevertheless, Sanders insists that in an era of great and growing economic inequality, a shrinking middle class, increasing poverty, rampant unemployment and underemployment, and a still-broken health care system, today’s federal government must take new proactive steps to address the ills associated with unfettered capitalism. Sanders argues that such state action is firmly in line with Roosevelt’s earlier insistence on the centrality of economic rights for achieving real freedom. Some of the measures Sanders advocates—such as a single-payer universal health care system, tuition-free education at public colleges, and a guaranteed “living wage”—will no doubt strike some Americans as “socialist.” Sanders might respond that in the future these policies will be as much taken for granted as earlier initiatives that were once condemned as “socialist.”