'Democratic' Socialism: Be Careful What You Wish For
As capitalism recharges our economy, socialists want to destroy the very engine of prosperity.
Once it became apparent that the 2016 election results were real and people came out of their safe spaces to ponder their cruel fate, the attention of the left-wing quickly turned to a certain date: Nov. 6, 2018. They truly believed that would be the day America reacted to the horrible mistake of electing Donald Trump, restoring the Democrat Party to its rightful place as our governing agent. Surely Americans would be chomping at the bit to vote in a “blue wave” to wipe out GOP majorities in the House and Senate and (perhaps literally) handcuff Trump for the last few months of his term.
But a strange thing happened on our way to this meeting with destiny: Trump and congressional Republicans have succeeded in kick-starting an economy that was running in low gear over the previous eight years thanks to a “jobless recovery.” While it’s still possible Democrats will make significant inroads into the GOP advantage, there’s no guarantee that either the House or Senate will flip back to Democrat control.
Meanwhile, a battle begun in 2016 and barely tempered during Hillary Clinton’s campaign now rages for the very soul of the Democrat Party. As evidence, look no further than your local college campus. Chances are you will find this is the age of the democratic socialist.
In their desperation — perhaps brought on by Trump Derangement Syndrome — Democrat voters, in particular the Millennial set, have been showing up at primaries ready to elect the person who promises the most free stuff regardless of relevant experience. Two cases in point happened on the same June 26 primary day: First, Democrat voters in Maryland eschewed several more traditional candidates, such as the county executive of the state’s second-largest county as well as a veteran state senator, in favor of the Bernie Sanders-backed former head of the NAACP, Ben Jealous. (Was there ever a better name for a candidate of the Party of Envy?) More shockingly on a national level, though, 20-year veteran Democrat House leader Joe Crowley of New York was upset by a 28-year-old novice candidate. This stunning result made a sudden household name out of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and she’s now in demand nationwide as a leader in the socialist movement.
The enthusiasm behind the leftward turn in the political wheel, though, is papering over some serious concerns about these candidates. In her media appearances, Ocasio-Cortez has been less than forthright about her intentions and ideas, conceding even that capitalism was the “most efficient and best” system — but only temporarily. While Alexandria and her ilk are trying to sell their brand of politics as similar to that of nations like Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, in reality they would lead us to Venezuela.
When it’s learned that Bernie Sanders’s “Medicare for All” system is estimated to cost $32.6 trillion over 10 years, it seems to curb the public’s enthusiasm a tad.
Even Barack Obama is trying his best to keep cards close to his vest, passing up a chance to endorse the bid of Ocasio-Cortez in an otherwise long list of endorsements.
While Ocasio-Cortez is popular among a set of Millennials who have no problem creating what they consider the evolution of society beyond capitalism, Democrat brass are a little nervous as they see their best chance at regaining congressional control and grabbing the levers of power in states where redistricting will be at stake slipping away because independents aren’t buying into the far-left message — and Republicans are being motivated to go to the polls.
Some crafty Democratic Socialists attempt an end around by contending cradle-to-grave government is a natural extension of the teachings of Jesus. Kelley Rose, co-founder of the West Virginia chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (Ocasio-Cortez is a card-carrying member of the DSA), insists, “Possibly my mother would want to debate me on this, but if anyone was ever a socialist it was Jesus.” (Your mother isn’t the only one to debate that.)
Certainly those who follow Christ are exhorted over and over in Scripture to assist our fellow men, but that instruction is not given to government. And as Mark Alexander pointed out, the one instance of poverty socialism doesn’t address is a poverty of spirit. This can only be addressed through a ministry of compassion and caring, not taxpayer cash and material goods. In fact, living in a socialist and secular society makes one poorer still in that spiritual regard.
The story of the Left since November 2016 has been one of fits and starts: surprise electoral successes in Virginia, Alabama, and local races nationwide tempered by a lack of agreement on an agenda moving forward. This is because the success of Ocasio-Cortez isn’t based on the same set of voters (or values) that propelled Conor Lamb to a Pennsylvania win last spring, and the overall electorate more closely mirrors Lamb’s PA-18 example than the overwhelmingly Democrat stronghold from which Ocasio-Cortez hails. Yet Millennials, peering out from the shelter of their “safe spaces,” can’t always separate rhetoric from reality.
It’s almost a parallel to the early days of the Tea Party, but that movement quickly figured out how to live within the so-called “Buckley Rule” of backing the most viable conservative candidate for the race. However, we don’t mind if the radical Left takes a lot longer to learn that viability lesson.