After Sanders Wins New Hampshire, Democratic Lawmaker Says 'South Carolinians Don't Want Socialism'

South Carolina Representative Joe Cunningham said Wednesday that he disagrees with the proposals set forth by Democratic presidential candidate Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, equating them with "socialism."

Cunningham, one of two Democratic representatives from South Carolina, declined to give his endorsement to a candidate in a statement to The Post and Courier but did say, "Bernie Sanders will not be the nominee."

"South Carolinians don't want socialism," Cunningham said. "We want to know how you are going to get things done and how you are going to pay for them. Bernie's proposals to raise taxes on almost everyone is not something the Lowcountry wants and not something I'd ever support."

South Carolina is expected to hold its presidential primary at the end of February.

Newsweek reached out to Cunningham and Sanders for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Sanders, who has described himself as a "democratic socialist," said in a June 2019 speech that his socialist proclivities would open him up to "massive attacks."

bernie sanders
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders' views have come under fire from South Carolina Democratic Representative Joe Cunningham, who said Wednesday that people in his state "do not want socialism." Joe Raedle/Getty

"Let me be clear," Sanders said. "I do understand that I and other progressives will face massive attacks from those who attempt to use the word 'socialism' as a slur, but I should also tell you that I have faced and overcome these attacks for decades, and I am not the only one."

In the same address, Sanders defined democratic socialism as "the moral conviction to choose a different path, a higher path, a path of compassion, justice and love."

Sanders is currently the frontrunner in the Democratic race after a victory in the New Hampshire primaries Tuesday. He defeated first runner-up former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg by almost 4,000 votes and gained nine state delegates.

According to the tax plan posted on Sanders' website, any American couple who has a net worth of less than $32 million would not see a tax increase. Sanders is a proponent of a wealth tax, which would begin with a 1 percent tax on a married couple with a net worth above $32 million. That tax would go up incrementally according to the amount of wealth, with an 8 percent tax levied against wealth over $10 billion.

However, Sanders has not fully stated how he intends to pay for his "Medicare for All" plan, the universal health care program that has formed the centerpiece of his campaign. Under that legislation, Sanders claims there would be no networks, premiums or deductibles. Medicare would also be expanded under the plan to include dental, vision and mental health treatment.

Other Democrats have come out against Sanders' version of the proposed legislation claiming it is not realistic.

At the February Democratic debate in New Hampshire, former Vice President Joe Biden said, "Bernie says you have to bring people together and we have to have Medicare for All. And he says he wrote the damn thing, but he's unwilling to say what the damn thing is going to cost."