Back when Bernie Sanders was still in the race for the Democratic nomination he used to claim that, despite his support for the Sandinistas and his honeymoon in the USSR, he didn’t support revolutionary socialist governments like the one in Venezuela. Instead, he said he supported the more moderate social democracy of the kind popular in Scandinavia. People pointed out that Scandinavian countries today aren’t as socialist as they once were but in any case there’s some news today that suggests Bernie didn’t mean all of that anyway. Yesterday he endorsed Portland’s far left mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone:

“In every corner of the country, strong progressives are running at the state and local level to represent our movement and lead the fight to transform this country. These races are incredibly important — that’s why I am endorsing progressive, down-ballot candidates across the country. If you can, I hope you’ll cast your ballot for them when you vote,” Sen. Sanders wrote in the piece.

In case you don’t remember who Iannarone is, she’s the candidate who has repeatedly refused to criticize Antifa. In fact, some call her the “Antifa Mayor,” a label she has embraced. When pressed on her feelings about political violence back in August, Iannarone refused to denounce it. Asked specifically if she would denounce arson where people were still inside a building, she refused to say that was wrong. In fact she replied, “Their outrage at the police is valid.”

Iannarone dodged the same question (from the same reporter) during a debate with Mayor Wheeler earlier this month. She claimed that she was anti-fascist, implying that anti-police protesters are in fact protesting fascism.

Just how far left is Sarah Iannarone? Well, based on her fashion choices she seems to be a fan of Stalin and Mao. And her campaign manager self-identifies as a communist:

This week an old tweet that Iannarone posted in 2016 made news. The tweet is an photo of a ballot someone had apparently sent to her. All of the statewide offices have write-in candidates filled in, including Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, Angela Davis and Assata Shakur. But on the right side of the ballot the person has also filled in a circle for Sarah Iannarone. At the time, Iannarone thought being lumped in with Marxists and murderous communists was wonderful:

https://twitter.com/sarahforpdx/status/726995735367929856

Here’s what the communist spokesman for Iannarone’s campaign had to say about this:

Iannarone campaign manager Gregory McKelvey told KOIN 6 News by email that’s not her ballot. Iannarone, he said, “posted the ballots of many of her supporters who sent them in after voting for her.”…

In a statement McKelvey added, “In 2016 Sarah shared a picture of someone else’s ballot celebrating Black women like Angela Davis and Assata Shakur.”

Angela Davis is an activist who was acquitted of kidnapping, murder and conspiracy charges in the 1970s, then ran as Vice President on the Communist Party ticket and later became a professor at the University of California Santa Cruz. Assata Shakur is a convicted killer of a New Jersey state trooper who later escaped from prison and was added to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list.

So those are the women Iannarone was celebrating. What about Lenin, Mao and Stalin? She couldn’t offer any explanation for why she didn’t object to them. In fact her camp issued a statement accusing Ted Wheeler’s campaign of engaging in a “red scare.”

I think at some point it just becomes clear Iannarone is genuinely a fan of communist dictators, the very ones that Bernie Sanders claimed he didn’t support. So why is Sanders endorsing this extremist? I think we know the answer to that question already. His views haven’t changed much since the 1980s, regardless of what he claimed during the primaries.

Update: Doing a quick search I found this tweet. It’s from the same night and just 6 minutes later than the one above. Note that Stalin’s name does appear 3 times on that ballot.