You could argue that socialism is just a cosmetic term and that what really matters are Sanders’ policy ideas on specific issues. But on the biggest issue, health care, Sanders is proposing exactly what voters don’t like about socialism. Unlike Biden and other candidates who favor a “public option”—a government-run health insurance plan that would compete with private insurers, offering consumers an extra choice—the Sanders “Medicare for All” bill would explicitly make it “unlawful for a private health insurer to sell health insurance coverage” or for “an employer to provide benefits” that “duplicate the benefits” offered by the government. It would establish a state monopoly.

Every poll shows that the public option is a winner and Medicare for All is a loser. In a September NBC/Wall Street Journal survey, 67 percent of voters endorsed “allowing people under the age of 65 the option to buy their health coverage through the Medicare program.” Only 20 percent opposed that idea. But in the same survey, 56 percent of voters opposed—and only 41 percent favored—Medicare for All. That’s a 26-point loss of support for public health insurance, and a 36-point increase in opposition to it, when you shift from progressive capitalism to Sanders-style socialism…

Socialism and banning private health insurance are just the beginning of the case against Sanders. He’s promising massive benefits, with no idea how much they’ll cost, in a country where voters broadly oppose tax increases. He says all felons should be allowed to vote “even if they’re in jail.” And he has a history of statements and activism that would help Trump frame him as a crazy radical: promoting revolutionary Marxism, praising communist countries, opposing private charities, demanding the abolition of the CIA, and blaming female hormonal cancers on sexual repression and other “psychosomatic” factors. Democratic candidates haven’t used these old quotes against Sanders. Trump certainly would.