harvard centrists

Jannis Tobias Werner/Shutterstock @HarvardCentrist/Twitter (Licensed) Remix by Jason Reed

Harvard centrists get relentlessly clowned for asking Bernie about socialism

This did not go well.


David Covucci


Published Apr 23, 2019   Updated May 20, 2021, 2:10 pm CDT

CNN held a marathon town hall event on Monday night with some of the leading Democratic contenders in 2020, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Mayor Pete Buttigieg. On Tuesday, everyone made fun of the Harvard Centrists Society for its confusing question.

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During the event, Sanders was asked one of the typical inquiries about democratic socialism that he often gets, given he is the most vocal proponent in the field of radical redistribution of wealth.

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Havard student Samantha Frenkel-Popell wanted to know how Sanders could support “socialism,” given that is failed in communist Russia.


Sanders answered, saying that he’s never supported authoritarianism like the question was insinuating.

Sanders said he believed America’s unequal wealth was “wrong” and that we should “have a government that should represent working families and not the 1% and powerful corporations” before pivoting to his support for free college tuition and Medicare for all.

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That was that until the clip was shared by the organization Frenkel-Popell helped start, the Harvard Undergraduate Centrists Society. Founded in March, the Centrists Society doesn’t actually claim to be centrist but says it just wants to avoid the standard dichotomy in American politics.

“We want Communists, we want anarchists, we want them all. It’s just about coming with a willingness to listen. That’s all we want people to do,” the organization said in a profile.

On Twitter, they called Frenkel-Popell’s inquiry, “thought-provoking.”


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But that’s not thought-provoking. It’s just a standard attack, one that cherry picks troubled socialist countries like Venezuela to prove socialist policies don’t work while ignoring numerous democratic socialist countries throughout the West. People pointed this out.

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But while the question was no doubt aggravating, the whole concept of a “Harvard Undergraduate Centrists Society” was, for many, much much worse. They were swiftly made fun of, with one user calling for them to get “wedgies.”

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When people continued to clown on them, the organization deleted the clip, blaming the nature of Twitter (and not, maybe, the absurdity of students rallying around jaded and middle-of-the-road politics) on the backlash.

Even that didn’t go over well.

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Here’s hoping they throw their weight behind Howard Schultz.

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*First Published: Apr 23, 2019, 10:38 am CDT