That would change on a dime if he became the nominee. I don’t think they’d even have to go into his radical past, although they surely would. Michelle Goldberg of Slate has written good pieces on this. He took some very hard-left and plainly anti-American positions. True, they might not matter to anyone under 45, but more than half of all voters are over 45. And then, big-P politics aside, there’s all that farkakte nonsense he wrote in The Vermont Freeman in the early 70s about how we should let children touch each others’ genitals and such. Fine, it was 40-plus years ago but it’s out there, and it’s out there.
But if I were a conservative making anti-Sanders ads, I’d stick to taxes. An analysis earlier this year from the Tax Policy Center found that his proposals would raise taxes in the so-called middle quintile (40-60 percent) by $4,700 a year. A median household is around $53,000. Most such households pay an effective tax rate of around 11 percent, or $5,800. From $5,800 to $10,500 constitutes a 45 percent increase.
Sanders will respond that your average family will save that much in deductibles and co-payments, since there would be no more private health insurance. And in a way, he’d have a point—the average out-of-pocket expenses for a family health insurance plan in 2015 were around $4,900. But that is an average that combines families with one really sick person needing lots of care with families where they all just go see the doctor once a year, who spend far less. They’d lose out under socialized health, which Republicans would be sure to make clear.