Flashback: Bernie Sanders wanted to start an exchange program with the Soviets during the Cold War

· May 6, 2019  
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Bernie Sanders speaks at a 2020 forum in Houston
Sergio Flores | Getty Images

Back in the 1980s, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., wanted to send children to the Soviet Union and other communist regimes to learn about communism and socialism.

His statement was made on “Bernie Speaks with the Community” — a local television show show that Sanders starred in back when he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont. A recent story at Politico magazine points out some other highlights of Bernie’s time as a local TV star.

Sanders served as the mayor of Burlington for eight years, from 1981-1989. And at that time, while President Ronald Reagan and other leaders of the free world were working to bring down the Iron Curtain, Bernie wanted to send regular Americans families and children behind it.

“You know what I would love to see?” he asked a group of school children. “I would like to see families — your mothers and dads and yourselves maybe — go to the Soviet Union and learn about that country, and people from there come to here.”

He continued: “If you actually had kids here who were from Nicaragua or from the Soviet Union, and they could tell you what’s going on in their own country, boy, you could learn a whole lot. And then if kids from Vermont or Burlington were in those countries, they could tell those people what was going on in their hometown.”

Perhaps those people could have told the kiddos about the hunger during food shortages in a centrally planned economy. Maybe they would have talked to children whose uncle or father had disappeared into the gulag system. Perhaps they would even have met some lucky survivors of Stalin’s mass killings or the relatives of the Jewish intellectuals he murdered. They might have traveled south and visited some Holodomor survivors.

Perhaps some of them could have gone to the People’s Republic of China instead and learned firsthand about the horrors of Chairman Mao’s “Great Leap Forward.” And, hey, since it didn’t happen until Bernie’s last year in office, they could have even witnessed the Tiananmen Square massacre firsthand!

On second thought, in all seriousness, there actually may have been a lot for those kids to learn in an exchange program, but only as long as the necessary post-traumatic therapy was included with the total cost of the program.

In case that sounds a little too out there, even for a man who honeymooned in the U.S.S.R., here’s the video to prove it. His idea for an exchange program starts at the 4:30 mark:


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Author: Nate Madden

Nate Madden is BlazeTV’s congressional correspondent. Follow him @NateOnTheHill or send tips to nmadden@blazemedia.com.