Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton got stumped on Tuesday by the very same question her party’s chairman would not answer this past summer: “What is the difference between a socialist and a Democrat?”
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was the questioner in both instances. On Hardball Tuesday night, the host said we wanted to help Clinton “locate herself politically” for his audience. “Now Bernie [Sanders] calls himself a Socialist,” Matthews said. “Nobody uses a derogatory term any more. It’s his — he loves to have that label. He’s never run as a Democrat, he runs against Democrats up there in Vermont. You’re a Democrat … What’s the difference between a Socialist and a Democrat?” the host asked.
The candidate cautiously answered, “Well, you know, I — you’d have to ask…”
Matthews interjected, “I wouldn’t like someone calling me a socialist.”
“But I’m not one,” Clinton responded.
The host followed up wanting to know what the difference is, if that is the case.
“How’s that different than a Socialist?” Matthews wondered.
The former secretary of state continued by answering that she’s a “progressive Democrat who likes to get things done and who believes that we are better off in this country when we’re trying to solve problems together.”
Matthews did not let her off the hook, noting that DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz would not answer the question either when he asked her in July.
Schultz sought to change the query to explaining the difference between Democrats and Republicans, demagoguing the latter as “strangled by their right-wing extremists.”
Matthews conceded in his interview with Clinton that he understands that she is trying to keep the left and center left together.
Both Clinton and Schultz likely do not want to alienate Sanders’ supporters by saying anything to which they could take offense. The Vermont socialist senator currently leads in polling in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary, and last month reported having over 2 million individual donations, more than any other candidate on the Democrat or GOP side.
h/t: Independent Journal