Michael Eric Dyson: Bernie Sanders is surging because there's 'a little bit of socialist' in everybody
Michael Eric Dyson speaks to ABC News (screen grab)

Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson asserted over the weekend that Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had an unexpected amount of support because socialist policies are secretly very popular with voters.

During a Sunday panel discussion on ABC's This Week, host George Stephanopoulos wondered if the "huge crowds" that Sanders was seeing at events would be a problem for former Gov. Martin O'Malley's campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"It's a huge challenge to O'Malley," author John Heilemann observed. "Six months ago, if you had said, would Bernie Sanders become the primary alternative to [Hillary] Clinton, no one would have thought that was possible. He has an incredible degree of authenticity, and he has incredibly strong, distinctive economic proposals, which are very appealing to the populist, far-left wing of the party."

"If you're a mainstream liberal, you're going to like Hillary Clinton," he continued. "If you're further to the left, Bernie Sanders is your guy."

Dyson argued that O'Malley would have trouble trying to position himself between Clinton and Sanders.

"If you're the acceptable face of the left because Bernie Sanders is too much to the left for you, and Hillary Clinton is further to the right, especially on foreign policy as her hawkishness, you're in a tough position then you've got to figure out... how to make that sell," Dyson explained.

"Look, Bernie Sanders is proving there is a little bit of socialist in a lot of people on the left," he added.

"They just might not admit it," Stephanopoulos laughed.

"They just won't admit it, they won't come out of the closet," Dyson replied. "So, he's the out candidate for so many people who are still in the closet with their kind of progressive views."

"I don't think that Martin O'Malley strikes that kind of furious response."

Watch the video below from ABC's This Week, broadcast May 31, 2015.