For a moment it seemed like Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were running for president of Denmark, not the United States.
In the first Democratic debate of the 2016 primary, CNN moderator Anderson Cooper asked Sanders how a socialist could win a general election in the United States. Sanders then reached for his favorite region in the world: Scandinavia.
When you look around the world, you see every other major country providing health care to all people as a right, except the United States. You see every other major country saying to moms that, when you have a baby, we’re not gonna separate you from your newborn baby, because we are going to have — we are gonna have medical and family paid leave, like every other country on Earth.
Those are some of the principles that I believe in, and I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people.
Hillary Clinton, in turn, pointed out the obvious: “We are not Denmark. I love Denmark. We are the United States of America, and it is our job to rein in the excesses of capitalism.”
The love for Denmark from left-wing or liberal candidates may be a little outdated. The country’s latest election was won by a center-right coalition, with the right-wing, anti-immigration Danish People’s Party becoming the second-largest party in parliament. The country has cut benefits for asylum seekers, even deterring refugees from coming to the country through newspaper ads.