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How to Answer Your Nutty Uncle's Questions About Bernie Sanders 

click to enlarge MARC NADEL
  • Marc Nadel

This week, as Vermonters gather with family and friends for Thanksgiving dinner, they're likely to get some questions about their independent senator who's running for president. We've known and followed Bernie Sanders for years and are familiar with his populist message and irate delivery. But those who are just starting to "feel the Bern" might be outraged, if not terrified, at the idea of electing a self-described democratic socialist.

So Seven Days staffers came up with possible questions you might hear from Bernie skeptics — and how you can answer them. Let us know how your dinnertime talk turns out.

Don't socialists want to confiscate all of our guns, melt them down and turn them into free electric cars for welfare recipients?

No, only assault weapons will be turned into electric cars — made by unionized workers.

Doesn't Bernie want to make colleges tuition-free so kids can take classes in collectivized farming?

Yes, provided they're organic, non-GMO farms that pay a livable wage.

If Bernie turns my post office into a bank, where will I buy stamps and see which radicalized Muslim tops this week's FBI most-wanted list?

I'm sure Fox News will still keep you frightened. As for buying stamps, Bernie's post office-banks will be open on Saturdays.

Won't Bernie's plan for single-payer health insurance require taxing us all back to the Stone Age?

No, just back to the days of President Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican, when the richest Americans paid a 91 percent tax rate.

If Bernie gets elected, he'll be 75 when sworn in. Can his ticker weather four years of ISIS and Vladimir Putin?

Of course! He's been shouting at this decibel for 30 years.

As Bernie is Jewish, would he outlaw saying "Merry Christmas"?

No, but Starbucks may put a hammer and sickle on its red coffee cups.

What's with Bernie's wild hair?

If you'd been pulling your hair out about the decline of the middle class for as long as Bernie has, you'd look frazzled, too.

Bernie's always railing about how the richest one-tenth of 1 percent own more than the bottom 90 percent but pay less than two-fifths of ... whatever. Why's he such an egghead?

It's called basic math. He learned it at a "socialized" public school.

Bernie says climate change is a bigger national security threat than ISIS. Is he actually a fundamentalist extremist whose sleeper cell has infiltrated the U.S. Senate?

No, you're confusing him with Ted Cruz.

If a Scandinavian-style democratic socialist took the White House, wouldn't we lose all daylight in winter?

Yes, and we'd be force-fed pickled herring and a higher quality of life.

If Bernie's not owned by a super PAC, who's going to give him his marching orders once he's elected?

Rachel Maddow.

Ben Carson is a neurosurgeon. Carly Fiorina ran a Fortune 500 company. Donald Trump has made billions of dollars. What qualifies Bernie to lead the free world?

Well, he was a Jewish carpenter.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Talking Turkey About Bernie"

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About The Authors

Paul Heintz

Paul Heintz

Paul Heintz is Seven Days' political editor. He writes the weekly column, "Fair Game."
Ken Picard

Ken Picard

Ken Picard has been a Seven Days staff writer since 2002. He has won numerous awards for his work, including the Vermont Press Association's 2005 Mavis Doyle award, a general excellence prize for reporters.

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