Edward Chang argues in a Federalist column that Sen. Bernie Sanders‘ presidential campaign “collapsed under its own contradictions,” much like socialism itself.

It’ll be many months, if not years, before astute political analysts can effectively break down the how and why of Sanders’s seemingly doomed campaign. But perhaps the answer really is that simple and it lies within Sanders’s ideology.

Despite decades of documented history proving Sanders to be an avowed socialist, there’s been a concerted effort from his avid followership and segments of the media to prove he isn’t what he says and does. It’s an effort that goes back at least to his 2016 campaign. …

… In a single interview, Sanders may’ve forever demolished the effort to convince the American electorate the 78-year-old career politician is a perfectly benign “democratic socialist” and not the hard-left socialist he’s always been. This was a level of collective cognitive dissonance impossible for Sanders to overcome, and this weakness would’ve eventually been exposed the longer his campaign went on. His Democratic Party opponents, most notably Biden and Michael Bloomberg, tore open that wound and poured salt on it, with plenty of help from their allies in the media.

There’s always been an uncomfortable irony regarding the entire Sanders brand—if socialism’s negative connotation is undeserved, then why would it be necessary to effectively re-define it? Why bother re-casting Sanders as a “democratic socialist” when there’s nothing wrong with socialism to begin with? The fact is, Sanders has always been stuck between embracing what he believes at heart and winning over voters who don’t share his views.

That brings us to Sanders’ fatal flaw: most Americans don’t support socialism. Even Democrats, who hold favorable views towards socialism, embrace an incorrectly defined version of it, as opposed to the real thing.