It would appear that democratic socialists like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have had quite the substantial impact on Democrat voters across the country. That’s the takeaway from a new Gallup poll which finds that for the first time in the survey’s history, more Democrats favor socialism than they do capitalism.
Attitudes toward socialism among Democrats have not changed materially since 2010, with 57% today having a positive view. The major change among Democrats has been a less upbeat attitude toward capitalism, dropping to 47% positive this year — lower than in any of the three previous measures. Republicans remain much more positive about capitalism than about socialism, with little sustained change in their views of either since 2010.
Democrats’ and Republicans’ sharply contrasting views of the two economic systems are not unexpected, given the history of the two parties. Republicans and Republican-leaning independents have notably positive views of capitalism and negative views of socialism. Democrats, by contrast, are less unified in their views, but by 10 percentage points are more positive about socialism than about capitalism.
Well, there’s a lot here to digest, and you probably can’t credit the decline of capitalism’s favor entirely to people like Sanders. There’s also today’s colleges which are more willing than ever to shovel socialist propaganda down the throats of incoming freshmen. There are youth-oriented social media hotspots where countries like Norway and Denmark are viewed as bastions of economic and cultural idealism. And while none of these countries are purely socialist in their structure, they are certainly much less reliant on a free market than the United States. Finally, there is the simple, age-old concept of rebellion. The youth are always going to be on the hunt for revolution; this seems to be the form it’s taking these days.
The question, both for Republicans and for people who know the dark history of socialism, is how the U.S. should best respond to what can only be described as a brewing threat. To put it plainly, we cannot allow socialism to take root in this country. Bad enough we have programs like Obamacare, which put us on the pathway to increased government control. But now, with politicians like Sanders calling for “guaranteed government jobs,” the threat is looming more intensely than ever before. We can’t simply count on “It’s Going to Cost HOW Much” style headlines to do the work for us. Young Democrats see these headlines, shrug, and say something to the effect of, “Oh, they’ll figure out something.”
It’s worth pondering, and it’s worth pondering seriously. Socialism has left destruction, starvation, and genocide wherever it has landed. Capitalism isn’t perfect by any means, but America’s free market system has done more to raise the overall quality of life than any other economic system in history. To scrap it in favor of socialism due to perceptions of inequality or unfairness would be a mistake of historic proportions.