One of the strangest sights in Las Vegas ahead of the Democratic debate this week has been Sen. Bernie Sanders’s enormous image flashing over the Strip outside the Wynn casino.
The electronic billboard ad, featuring Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and other Democratic Party contenders is reminiscent of those used for heavyweight fights. The irony is sharpened by the fact that Sanders, a self-described socialist, delights in attacking “casino capitalism.”
The phrase has become a signature Sanders slogan on the campaign trail, aimed at Wall Street and the rich who sometimes benefit from big bets on the stock market while passing the risks along to taxpayers through bailouts.
“I think casino capitalism, runaway capitalism, which is what we are experiencing right now is a disaster. There is no way to defend internationally the top 1 percent owning more wealth than the bottom 90 percent of the world’s population. I think it’s impossible to defend that. It is impossible to defend the incredible inequities that we see in American society today,” Sanders said in remarks delivered to the Brookings Institution this past February.
Sanders has also led protests against casino management, targeting billionaire mogul Sheldon Adelson, who owns the nearby Venetian resort and casino. for his role in funding Republican candidates and conservative causes.
Still, Sanders needs the support of powerful local unions, many of whose members work in the casino industry, to win Nevada. When he takes the stage at the Wynn on Tuesday night, Bernie Sanders will be betting it all on red.