Chad Wilcox, chief operating officer at the IEA, says Yes.
You’d be forgiven for mistaking the US presidential race for a reality TV contest to find the most absurd candidate able to dupe the masses into electing them. But absurd does not equal dangerous. On the latter metric, look no further than senator Bernie Sanders, uniquely dangerous for two reasons: he genuinely believes what he says, and millions of people genuinely believe what he says. Single-payer healthcare, free university and trillions in spending are all dead on arrival given a Republican Congress. However, a Sanders presidency would be built on persuading a generation of young people that socialism makes for sensible economics, that the 1 per cent are responsible for the world’s crimes, and that taxing them into oblivion is the solution to all our troubles. He has stiff competition for “most dangerous” in Donald Trump, of course. But even establishment Republicans believe the latter’s misguided proposals are media bait and he could be contained once in office. Besides, Trump is merely capturing supporters who are already economically illiterate. Sanders is inspiring a whole new generation of economic illiteracy.
Kate Andrews, a research fellow at the Adam Smith Institute, says No.
Many of Bernie Sanders’s policy proposals are terrifying and threaten to decrease the quality of vital services and increase taxes for the average American. But he is a mile away from being the country’s most dangerous person. The US has a strong system of checks and balances. If elected President, Sanders’s policy ideas would have to be adopted by a more moderate Congress, including a likely Republican-controlled House of Representatives. His radical domestic agenda would never pass in anything close to its pure form. That leaves foreign policy; and while his non-interventionist stance could make the US vulnerable in other ways, Sanders would show great restraint in putting boots on the ground – and he wouldn’t touch the red button. Sanders is dishing out unrealistic spending promises and selling Americans a socialist utopia. He’s a dreamer, and electing a dreamer can be dangerous. But to suggest he’s the “most dangerous” American out there grants him a title he doesn’t deserve.