This article was updated on 03/04/20.
Recently there has been a surge in Democratic Socialism in America. Bernie Sanders may have run against Hillary Clinton as a Democrat but in reality he is a self-described Democratic Socialist. He campaigned hard and gained an impressive following but was sabotaged by Clinton and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
The election is over. Bernie faded back somewhat but he is a loyal trooper and has done his job for the movement. Not a whimper of complaint about how the DNC through chicanery gave his campaign the boot.
Enter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic primary on June 26, 2018 in New York’s 14th congressional district. In doing so she defeated the incumbent, Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley. This victory has been described by some as the biggest upset victory in the 2018 midterm-election season. She is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and has been endorsed by a number politically progressive organizations.
As of this writing she is the darling of the Democrat party in general. Coming up on mid-terms though, the old hands are realizing that she is a liability. They are torn though because she is energizing the base which to a large extent consists of low-information millennials who are suckers for the mantra, “free health care, free university, high pay for flipping burgers, more safe spaces.” Many of these individuals, although not all, are more likely to be members of Antifa rather than productive society which is supposed to pay for their freebies.
How Can They Make the Give-Away Nanny State Work?
In an interview on “The Daily Show,” with host Trevor Noah, Ocasio-Cortez basically trotted out the tired, boring, unrealistic party lines. “If they pay their fair share; if corporations and the ultra-wealthy, for example as Warren Buffet likes to say, if he pays as much as his secretary paid, a 15% tax rate…”
She then goes on to say, “raise the corporate tax rate to 28%.” I suppose to hell with all the job creation and repatriated corporate cash that the Trump tax cuts have created.
Next she goes after the military budget. She drones on, “Just last year we gave the military a $700 billion budget increase which they didn’t even ask for. They’re like ‘We don’t want another fighter jet; they’re, like, don’t give us another nuclear bomb’. They didn’t even ask for it. And we gave it to them.”
Tell that to the USAF jet mechanic on the flight line patching up jets with “gently used” replacement parts.
This is the very same Ocasio-Cortez that tweeted that the GOP is weak on national security. So come on Alexandria, which is it? We all feel better knowing that under your Socialist party you can achieve strong national security without funding the military. How will that policy ensure our national sovereignty? Sounds a bit like unicorns and rainbows.
History of Socialism in America
In the United States Socialism found its beginning with utopian communities in the early 19th century. A good example is the Shakers. Labor activists who were usually British, German, or Jewish immigrants founded the Socialist Labor Party in 1877.
The Socialist Party of America was established in 1901. It is interesting to note that anarchism also established itself around the nation. At this time socialists of different stripes were involved in early American labor organizations and struggles. One thing led to another resulting in the Haymarket affair in Chicago which started International Worker’s Day.
This evolved into the main worker’s holiday around the world except in the US, which observes Labor Day on the first Monday of September.
The Socialist Party of America presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs was opposed to World War I and his influence led to the governmental repression we know as the First Red Scare. The Socialist Party declined in the 1920s, but nonetheless often ran Norman Thomas for President. Fast forward to the 1950s; socialism was affected by McCarthyism and in the 1960s it was revived by the general radicalization brought by the New Left and other social struggles and revolts.
The socialist movement has always had its adherents on our soil but has never been able to sway the majority of the population. For one thing, many hard-working Americans are well informed enough to know that socialism does not work.
Democratic Socialism in America is also hampered by the freedom of citizens to participate in a capitalist system where hard work pays off.
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About the Author:
Kelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.