- - Tuesday, July 31, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Democrats have some problems. OK, they have a lot of problems, but let’s throw this new one into the mix — ‘cuz it’s a doozy.

“An overwhelming majority of respondents, 76 percent, said they would not vote for a ‘socialist’ political candidate, while only 24 percent of those polled said they would,” finds a July 24 poll conducted by The Hill and HarrisX.

Why, you ask, is that a problem for the Democrats? Because they have all but embraced socialism, what with their free health care and free college and free money for everyone (this last dubbed “universal basic income,” so as to sound less socialist).

Sen. Bernard Sanders, the Vermont “independent” who got aced out of the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 by some shenanigans perpetrated by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, started the whole thing off. He’s a socialist, plain and simple. During his upstart campaign, Mr. Sanders excoriated the “1 percent,” railed against those heartless corporations (you know, the ones that give Americans jobs), as he called for a $15-per-hour minimum wage and free college tuition for everyone.

He also demanded “Medicare for all,” touting the universal government handout as the solution to all health care woes. (Incidentally, a new study last week found that the cost for such a program would be nearly $33 trillion over 10 years — that’s trillion with a “T”).

The latest media darling, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — the 28-year-old former bartender who is running for a House seat from New York — has picked up the cry. She’s a self-described socialist who is pushing the Democratic Party even farther left.

In fact, the Democratic Socialists of America told The Associated Press that they have 42 candidates at the federal, state and local levels. Some are running at the upper echelon, like Maine Democratic Senate candidate Zak Ringelstein, who announced last week he’ll run as a Democratic Socialist.

Here’s where the news gets very bad for Democrats. Nearly two out of three (64 percent) of Democratic respondents in the poll said they wouldn’t vote for a socialist. “Among respondents who said they voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election, 59 percent said they would not support a self-described socialist,” the survey found.

Some top party members see the writing on the wall and are trying to squelch the rise of socialism in the party. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, for instance, said last month that she doesn’t believe socialism is spreading the ranks.

“It’s ascendant in that district perhaps,” Mrs. Pelosi said about Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s district. “But I don’t accept any characterization of our party presented by the Republicans. So let me reject that right now.”

Too late. The view that the Democratic Party is moving toward socialism is already grabbing hold — and conservative leaders are all too happy to keep touting the party’s leftward move.

Like Rush Limbaugh. On Monday, he played a video of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez explaining her views during an interview on “The Daily Show,” a video that has since gone viral. Asked how the government would pay for all the “free” things Democrats are now promising, she said:

“This is an excellent, excellent question — and, in fact, there’s a lot of back-of-the-envelope stuff based on our values. So, for example, I sat down, ummm, with a Nobel Prize economist last week. I can’t believe I can say that! It’s really weird. But one of the things that we saw is, if people pay their fair share — share. If corporations and the ultrawealthy — for example, as Warren Buffett likes to say, if he paid as much as his secretary paid, 15 percent If he paid a 15 percent tax rate, if, uh, corporations paid — If, uh, we reverse the tax bill but raise our — our corporate tax rate to 28 percent which is not even as high as it was before. Um, if we — If we do those two things and also close some of those loopholes, that’s $2 trillion right there.”

Uh, ummm, OK.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, meanwhile, has called Ms. Ocasio-Cortez the “future of our party.” This week, she held an event in Southern California intended to “mobilize communities across Los Angeles in pursuit of a better, socialist future.”

So it’s true, it’s all true: The Democrats are counting on socialism to save them.

Good luck with that.

Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @josephcurl.

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