Running against socialism

President Trump: Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country. (Applause.)
Congress: USA! USA! USA!

“It’s increasingly obvious in the public debate it’s a choice between freedom and socialism.”
- Vice President Mike Pence

"Now that Nancy Pelosi is Speaker, voters are seeing the dangerous policies set forth by the socialist Democrats on a daily basis."
- Congressman Tom Emmer

"It's time to stop worrying about what the Republicans will say. It's true that we embrace a far left agenda, they're going to say we're a bunch of crazy socialists. If we embrace a conservative agenda, you know what they're going to do? They're going to say we're a bunch of crazy socialist. Let's stand up for the right policy, go up there and defend it."
- Mayor Pete Buttigieg

The GOP has a brand new, can't lose, sure fire strategy for winning in 2020.
The big plan is to ― wait for it ― attack Democrats as socialists.

Wow! Didn't see that one coming, didja?
Or maybe you did.

Every single political actor since the late 19th century advocating for some form progressive social change ― whether it be economic reform, challenging America’s racial caste system or advocating for women’s rights or LGBT rights ― has been tarred as a socialist or a communist bent on destroying the American Free Enterprise System.
...
In the U.S., this dates back at least as far as the first presidential candidacy of “Prairie Populist” William Jennings Bryan in 1896...
The Obama years were a golden time for over-the-top accusations of socialism. Obama was “a hardcore socialist,” according to billionaire David Koch. His stimulus plan was “one big down payment on a new American socialist experiment,” then-Republican House leader John Boehner said. The U.S. will “have effectively ceased to be a free-enterprise society” after the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said during his 2012 presidential campaign. Fox News host Glenn Beck said that Obama was enacting a 100-year old socialist plot originally hatched by Presidents Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican, and Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat. Then-Reps. Allen West (R-Fla.) and Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) both intimated that they had lists of Democrats in Congress who were secret socialists or “members of the Communist Party.”

Even Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, was labeled as “dangerously close” to socialism by former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, during the 2016 election.

With so much demonisation of socialism, you would think that socialism would be more unpopular than ever.
Yet 43% of Americans now say that some form of socialism is good for the country, compared to just 25% in 1942. So obviously the problem is that Republicans haven't yelled "Socialism!" enough, right?
Thus this new campaign by the GOP, with it's laser focus on socialism in the Democratic Party, should turn those numbers around.
Or not.

Twenty-eight percent of voters nationwide said their feelings about “socialism” will impact how they vote “a lot” next year, according to the latest Morning Consult/Politico survey, down 6 percentage points since March. What’s more, the share of Republican voters who said they were thinking a lot about socialism when it comes to their 2020 vote dropped 12 points, from 49 percent to 37 percent.

So the more than Republicans try to smear Democrats as socialists, the less people care? What's going on here?
According to economists at the Cato Institute, much of America’s youth has been "led into a state of confusion by Sen. Bernie Sanders."
So the problem is those sneaky socialists and their massive anti-capitalist propaganda infrastructure. Wall Street is powerless against it.

Or maybe, just maybe, Republicans should look in the mirror if they wanted to know who to blame for the rise in popularity of socialism in America.

The trouble is that as an insult, "Socialism!" doesn't have the zing it once did. And that's Republicans' own fault...

But more importantly, in the time since, Republicans have attacked almost anything Democrats wanted to do as socialism. Modest tax increases on the wealthy? Socialism! Regulations to lower carbon emissions and reduce the risk of climate catastrophe? Socialism! Health-care reform built on maintaining private insurance but with stronger protections for consumers? Socialism!

After hearing that for so long, a lot of young people in particular seem to have concluded that "socialism" means little more than "policies that are more liberal than the Republican Party would prefer." In other words, they've accepted the Republican view of what socialism is.

It's actually real easy to understand.
The Republicans are the Boy Who Cried Socialism.
Some people believe them. Some people don't. But it doesn't matter either way because what they are calling "socialism" is just the basic human decency of a social safety net and the protection of what society usually considers important.

No longer merely a shorthand for far-left ideology, it’s become a complete farce, invoked in much the same way as the chupacabra or a Wendigo, a generic placeholder for an unknown, eldritch evil lurking in the shadows.

While Real Red Blooded Americans™ are playing baseball with apple pie on grandma’s farm, or whatever it is the GOP thinks Americans should actually be doing with their lives, socialists plot to destroy everything the nation stands for by trying to provide people with healthcare, clean air, renewable energy, and education for jobs of the future. Should they succeed, America will have to give up its post-1980s “I-got-mine-screw-you” ethos and actually care about what happens to its population instead of merely exploiting their frustrations for cheap political points.
Wait a minute, why doesn’t that sound horrifying? Because it’s not.

One thing is for certain is that we'll be hearing a lot about socialism in the coming year. Republicans are going to be stoking that fear like if they were talking about terrorists, or immigrants, or immigrant terrorists.
This goes double if Sanders wins the nomination.
It appears that Republicans think that this is their Ace, and that Trump should be the one pushing it. They want to demonize public health care and government services for the poor in the face of a recession that people are ready to blame Trump for.
Could they be wrong?

Instead of destroying the Democratic nominee by pinning on her a label that everyone agrees is horrific, he's much more likely to make socialism more popular than ever.

Which is why actual socialists — or democratic socialists, who are almost certainly far greater in number in the United States right now than the pure variety — should be more than happy to see Trump wage a war on socialism. It's the best advertisement they can get.

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msdnc.PNG

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Wally's picture

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@gjohnsit It might take a lead that big to win the EC given the fact that the Democrats seem to have lost 84.3% of the counties in the country last time around. Of these candidates only Bernie has much of a chance of changing that.

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mimi's picture

run after them.

BTW, occupy the DNC.

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mimi

Cassiodorus's picture

(small voice) well I do.

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"The future is inside us/ It's not somewhere else." -- Radiohead

Daenerys's picture

Should they succeed, America will have to give up its post-1980s “I-got-mine-screw-you” ethos and actually care about what happens to its population

So many people bitching about "socialism bad!!1one!" seem to not want to live in a (civilized) society. And yet it's us born after 1980 who are constantly being told to grow up when we try to discuss such things. Sigh.

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This shit is bananas.

but David Koch will not be missed.

First D. Rockefeller a few years back, and now 1/2 of the Koch duo. Maybe the oligarchs will figure out they are mortal after all.

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Nastarana

Lily O Lady's picture

@Nastarana

on cancer research, Alzheimer’s and ALS cures. They don’t fear global warming because they feel insulated from that by their great wealth. They do, however, fear death which comes for rich and poor alike.

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

@Nastarana "Wishing the Koch brothers a speedy reunion."

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Centaurea's picture

"Now that Nancy Pelosi is Speaker, voters are seeing the dangerous policies set forth by the socialist Democrats on a daily basis."
- Congressman Tom Emmer

ROFL

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"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

Daenerys's picture

@Centaurea He ran for governor of MN a while back (in like 2010 I think?); he wanted to get rid of minimum wage.

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This shit is bananas.

Lookout's picture

Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, China...and even capitalist Russia.

Fear of socialism maybe why the US sees itself as a Christian nation. After all socialism is more Christian like than capitalism.

"The 2016 annual meeting for the Organization of American Historians (OAH) will feature a session focusing upon the provocative book One Nation Under God by Princeton history professor Keven M. Kruse. In One Nation Under God, Kruse argues that the idea of the United States as a Christian nation does not find its origins with the founding of the United States or the writing of the Constitution. Rather, the notion of America as specifically consecrated by God to be a beacon for liberty was the work of corporate and religious figures opposed to New Deal statism and interference with free enterprise."

https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/162368

There are a number of interviews with Kruse bout his hypothesis. I found it interesting you might too.
http://kevinmkruse.com/interviews/

Many others chime in with their view in several other books

https://newrepublic.com/article/121564/gods-and-profits-how-capitalism-a...

https://www.dukeupress.edu/Capitalism-and-Christianity-American-Style/

I like Bernie's line...socialism for the corporations, rugged individualism for the working people.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Wally's picture

I think it would be wise for the left to jettison using the term progressive and just use socialist.

Neo-liberals have usurped the term and I even think progressivism at least insofar as it's an offshoot of the 19th c political philosopy is a problematic concept. It advances the idea that it's always the experts, the managerial class that have to lead the way to move history forward. There's that element of that class having to reeducate and redirect the working class. There's a looking down on the working class with a superior attitude. Gee, I wonder why working class voters didn't flock to Hillary?

Somebody has probably written about all this and expressed it far more elaborately than me.

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@Wally Excellent comment Wally. I got pissed when HRC insisted she was a progressive. It's time to just be socialist.

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