In his January 29 column, “Who’s up if Hillary faceplants?,” M.D. Harmon seems to be — like so many naysayers — uneasy about Bernie Sanders’ candidacy. For reassurance, he relies on a rickety syllogism that goes something like this: Sanders is an unelectable candidate; unelectable candidates are not elected president; therefore, Sanders will not be elected president. The truth is, however, that Sanders is a perfectly viable candidate.

Harmon harks back to Norman Thomas, the erstwhile socialist candidate for president, and claims, “It’s hard to believe Americans will ever vote an avowed socialist into office” because”[if] it didn’t happen in the Great Depression, it’s not going to happen now.”

If he listened carefully to that socialist, Harmon heard him rail against the notion that the New Deal was a socialist program. Americans rejected both socialism and the status quo in favor of the New Deal, which effectively transformed American democracy into a social democracy. Yes, a social democratic system akin to that of many countries in Europe; a system in which government intervenes not only to bolster the capitalist economy but also to promote social and economic goals and adjust for the undesirable effects of capitalism.

Contrary to Harmon´s economic obituary, northern European countries have withstood the American contagion of the Great Recession. We would be well served by heeding their developments in such areas as sustainable energy, infrastructure, health care, education, and income redistribution.

Sanders grounds his politics in the New Deal, and rightly so. He is also an avowed social democrat. He draws inspiration from northern Europe, just as our Founding Fathers’ creative power and genius were fuelled by the ideas of the European Enlightenment. We Americans may now be ready, willing and entirely able to support a new New Deal and elect Bernie Sanders as president.

Galin Elias Franklin

Waterville