March 11, 2019
It’s an interesting time in American politics when our candidates have to clarify that they aren’t socialists. But unfortunately, in the wild Sanders-Ocasio-Cortez times in which we live, that’s the new state of Democratic play. And while Americans continue to joke about Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) real identity, the senator says she isn’t a fraction Marxist.
Desperate to distinguish herself in a 2020 Democratic field, Senator Warren told a Texas crowd “I am not” when asked if she was a Democratic socialist. “All I can tell you is what I believe -- there’s an enormous amount to be gained from markets. Markets create opportunities… but markets have to have rules. They have to have a cop on the beat,” she argued. Maybe Warren is one of the few Democrats tapping into Middle America’s unease about socialism. Or maybe she just wants to carve out her own space in a field of unapologetic radicals. Either way, she’s on the record.
So, apparently, is the next generation. According to a new Harris poll, Generation Z seems hypnotized by the glamorous version of socialism that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is making popular with kids. Wide majorities think the government should offer universal health care (73 percent) and free college tuition (67 percent). Another 49 percent said they wished they lived in a socialist country – proving just how little they know about an ideology that’s destroyed national economies and led to evil empires that persecute, starve, impoverish, and endanger people.
Maybe a few months in Venezuela, where families are literally dying of hunger, would cure today’s young people of their romantic ideas about an ideology that helped build the Berlin war. But then, their ideas about socialism were formed by Bernie Sanders – not the Cold War. It’s easy to cheer Ocasio-Cortez’s version of socialism, Philip DeVoe writes, because it “isn’t about the redistribution of wealth through workers’ seizing the means of production, but about accelerating the timeline for radical liberal change. For young liberals disillusioned by capitalism and by both parties’ failure to achieve the political ends they desire, it is all gain and no pain.”
For liberals in general, the Huffington Post’s Zach Carter points out, it isn’t so much about liking socialism as it is despising the president. “The Democrats have become radicalized in no small part because of their hatred of Donald Trump. And because that is the defining mindset of the Left these days, it creates breathing room for other forms of radicalism. To them, capitalism has come to mean ‘unaccountable rich people ripping off the world,’ while ‘socialism’ simply means ‘not that’… When one is unpopular the other becomes popular by default. It doesn’t seem to matter that very, very, very few people can define socialism.”
It’s no coincidence that these same kids who like socialism haven’t heard of Mao Zedong, Vladimir Lenin, and Che Guevara. Until we start teaching real civics, our public schools will continue to put future generations on an ideological path that ends in the most unjust government known to man.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.