Big Left Turn: Are socialists becoming the new Democratic Party mainstream? After candidates endorsed by the socialist party won nomination battles for state legislative seats in Pennsylvania and far-left progressives triumphed over moderates elsewhere, the answer seems to be yes.
Four — count ’em, four — candidates backed by the Democratic Socialists of America won spots on the ballot during this week’s primary elections in the Keystone State. Two of them won’t even be opposed by a Republican in the general election.
Some are writing it off as a fluke, a local aberration, but it isn’t. Increasingly, the national Democratic Party is being California-ized — pushed to the far left on issues ranging from single-payer health care, an open border and tax hikes to hostility toward Israel, opposition to the Second Amendment, and a loathing of the U.S. military.
As for those who say local elections often have kookier, more extreme candidates, Ed Morrissey of Hot Air has this rejoinder: “One could just as easily ask why Democrats couldn’t find successful candidates that hewed closer to Tim Ryan than Bernie Sanders for those seats.”
Morrisey notes that other states similarly had political upsets of moderate Democrats by far-left candidates, including Idaho, Nebraska and Oregon. So it’s not just a narrow regional phenomenon.
Speaking of socialist Bernie Sanders, his campaign in 2016 seems to have opened the way for the mainstreaming of socialism in the Democratic Party.
That’s quite a change, given that just 10 years ago Democrats insisted on their moderate bona fides and recoiled from being called “liberal.”
But this has been happening for some time. As has been well chronicled, America’s public schools and universities have been turned far-left in their curriculum and teaching, with extreme political correctness and the enraged shaming of conservatives as the only real behavioral guidelines remaining.
Sadly, a mere 28 years after the collapse of communism, a new generation of youth not then born or too young to understand it see that epochal event as ancient history, irrelevant to their new understanding of the world.
They do not understand that the topping of communism wasn’t merely a repudiation of the gerontocratic rulers of communism, but of the very idea of socialism.
Socialism Goes Mainstream
Unfortunately, the acceptance of socialism now permeates all strata of society, according to a 2017 survey of adults by The American Culture and Faith Institute (ACFI).
The basic findings weren’t too surprising: 48% described themselves as politically moderate, while 25% said they conservative and 17% liberal. Those who called themselves both socially and fiscally conservative made up just 6% of the population.
But here’s the bombshell: Of those queried, four out of 10 adults said they preferred socialism to capitalism. That’s 40%. This is what irrational hatred of Donald Trump has wrought.
“It ought to set off alarm bells among more traditionally-oriented leaders across the nation,” said ACFI Executive Director George Barna.
It seems even among adults, the lessons of the Cold War and of more than 100 years of tragic socialist history have been entirely lost.
Let’s start with these two stark facts:
First, there has never been a successful socialist government in history. None. Everywhere socialist precepts are put in place, poverty, loss of freedom and rights, and societal decline inevitably follow. Collapse is a frequent result.
Second, socialist governments are murderous. According to the “Black Book of Communism,” written by French former Marxist Stephane Courtois, socialist regimes killed over 100 million people during the 20th century. No other ideology or “ism” came close to that blood-soaked record.
Whether it’s the USSR, China, Cuba, Vietnam, the former East Germany, North Korea, Laos, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, Venezuela or any of the other failed experiments in socialism, it’s never worked anywhere. It’s led only to misery, deprivation, government control and a loss of basic human rights.
Socialist regimes always start off with high ideals, promising “free” this, and “free” that — education, health care, whatever. But as their ideas fail, they inevitably resort to compulsion, and eventually torture, political “re-education,” imprisonment, exile and murder for those who disagree.
What’s perhaps most surprising is that we have today yet another very clear example of the failure of socialism taking place in our own hemisphere: Venezuela.
The Washington Post, to its credit, toted up what has happened in Venezuela since socialism was imposed on the country with the world’s largest oil reserves and a once-thriving middle class.
Venezuela’s Bitter Lesson
“Since Maduro took over from Hugo Chávez — his mentor, who died in 2013 — Venezuela’s crisis has steadily intensified as a result of lower oil prices, corruption and a socialist system plagued with mismanagement. But as Maduro has sought to further consolidate power in the past 12 months, the economy, public services, security and health care have all but collapsed.
“Armed gangs and Colombian guerrilla groups are operating unchecked on Venezuela’s borders. Pro-government militias are terrorizing urban areas, while police stand accused of extrajudicial killings. Four of the 10 most dangerous cities in the world are now in Venezuela, according to a 2017 study by the Igarapé Institute, a Brazilian think tank that studies violence.
“Hundreds if not thousands of members of the armed forces are deserting, in part because of meager rations, according to military analysts. Power and water grids and the transportation systems are breaking down. In just the first three months of the year, Venezuela suffered 7,778 blackouts.”
You might want to read the whole thing. It’s just the latest try at socialism that ended in misery, soaring crime rates, unnecessary deaths from routine illnesses, the dissolution of civil society, and the collapse of national institutions. We call that Socialist Realism.
We wonder why those celebrities and politicians who in the past gave fawning and obsequious love to Venezuela’s hated socialist leaders — including Sean Penn, Michael Moore and, yes, the clueless socialist Bernie Sanders — have suddenly gone mute?
Today, more than anything, the ideals of socialism are splitting this country apart. They’re also splitting the Democratic Party apart, and damaging civil, reasoned discourse in our society. It’s a shame, on a par with the hateful and bitter debate the presaged our Civil War.
It is a great, self-evident truth that socialism doesn’t stack up against free-market capitalism when it comes to guaranteeing the universal and in-born rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
As for those in America who think socialism is the answer, they are correct. But only if the question is: What one thing would end our precious experiment in democracy and republican government, leading to mass misery, impoverishment and even death?