In one tweet, Bernie Sanders just summed up how distorted America's economic debate has become

Sanders jokes that critics of his economic platform "should hear what the Pope is saying"

Published July 28, 2015 2:59PM (EDT)

  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Bernie Sanders has a sense of humor. At least that is what the Democratic presidential candidate's latest tweet appears to be attempting to demonstrate.

But Sanders also offers a compelling point about the distorted nature of America's economic policy debate.

This morning, the self-described democratic socialist and advocate of wealth redistribution joked about critics who vilify his economic platform as too extreme, pointing to the teachings of Pope Francis, who regularly decries economic inequality and the mindless pursuit of economic growth at the expense of human ends. In a tweet, Sanders wrote, "Some people say my economic ideas are radical. You should hear what the Pope is saying":

[embedtweet id=626025825159086080]

Sanders' joke is particularly timely considering a new poll shows Pope Francis' popularity in the U.S. has taken a considerable nosedive, driven almost wholly by conservatives. After the Pope made a name for himself early on as a "progressive" with tweets denouncing economic inequality and most recently his encyclical on climate change, the pontiff has stirred the ire of right-wing conservatives. A new Gallup poll shows the Pope's favorability dropping to 59 percent from a 76 percent peak early last year, with only 45 percent of conservatives holding a favorably view of Pope Francis favorably, as opposed to 72 percent a year ago. Francis' favorable rating have also dropped among liberals, but by a much smaller 14 percentage points.

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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2016 Elections Democratic Socialist Income Inequality Pope Francis Religion Sen. Bernie Sanders Twitter