Once upon a time, in the not so distant past, politically speaking, a guy like Bernie Sanders would have, I think, enjoyed very little success as a Democrat. For sure, there would have been very little chance of someone like him finding his, or her, way to leading in any presidential polls. Instead, he would have been ridiculed by the party’s mainstream as a lunatic, a lefty, a “pinko,” and as being unelectable. But we see today something very different taking place. It would seem to be that that was then and this is now, with those days likely being gone forever.
You may recall how it was this past summer, when MSNBC’s “Hardball” host Chris Matthews asked Debbie Wasserman Schultz, “What is the difference between a Democrat and a socialist”, that he got no response. Now you would think for the head of the Democrat Party that should be a relatively easy enough question to answer. And when she didn’t, Matthews asked again, and again, all to no avail. Instead, Wasserman Schultz chose to respond in typical fashion by blathering on about how the GOP is now captive to its extreme right.
And then just a few weeks later it was yet another Democrat suck up, Chuck Todd, who tried to get old Debbie to answer the very same question when she appeared on his program, “Meet the Press.” And again she refused. And when asked a third time at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast for reporters, Wasserman Schultz replied: “I’ll give you the same answer that I gave both of them.” And then, once again, old Deb proceeded NOT to answer the question. She wasn’t about to acknowledge the fact that the Democrat Party is now captive to the extreme left.
Now Debbie may choose to disagree, but this isn’t some political game of gotcha. It’s what I, and even some in the leftist media, think is a very legitimate question and one deserving of a straight answer. After all, it is self-described socialist Bernie Sanders who is beating Hitlery Clinton in some state polls for the 2016 Democrat Party presidential nomination. The reason Wasserman Schultz won’t answer the question is because Democrats have now moved so far to the left that there’s hardly a dime’s worth of difference between the two anymore.
That’s right. There is no longer any real difference, and while some would say that that is not a good path to national election for the Democrats, I’m not so sure. It would seem that more and more Americans now seem quite content to just sit back and watch as others are made to pick up their tab as they go through life functioning as nothing more parasites, consuming everything that comes their way while producing nothing more than waste. They have been told by those for whom they vote that there’s really no need to work if they choose not to.
And I suppose one could argue that at least ‘Slick Willie’ Clinton tried to move his party toward the center. After all, he did work with the GOP to pass welfare reform and he did sign free trade agreements like NAFTA. ‘The Slickmeister’ understood that the party had gone too far to the left and was losing the middle class. And many think that it’s ‘Slow Joe’ Biden who would be able to perhaps move the party back toward the middle. But having said that, how would old ‘Slow Joe’ be able to please the Sanders voters in the process?
It wasn’t all that long ago that many on the left mocked the GOP as the party of old guys clinging to their guns and the 10th Amendment. But these days I think one could safely argue that it’s the Democrats who are the party of old guys, and old ladies, clinging to the Great Society and their Woodstock LPs. And as well I think it can also be argued that there is no longer such political animal able to be defined as a either Conservative or a Centrist Democrat. Such a breed of Democrat can be said to have long ago gone the way of the dinosaur.
Since the arrival of Barry “Almighty” onto the political scene the Democrat Party has made a pretty significant lurch to the far left. And among those who identify themselves as being a Democrat, there has been a shift from equal support for socialism and capitalism to a six-point swing in favor of socialism. Meanwhile, there has also been a seven-point dip in Republican support for capitalism. Weird, huh? And while on the GOP side that may be little more than noise, can we also then identify the Democrat swing as being little more than noise as well?
I don’t think so. Because when Democrats are asked whether Sanders calling himself a socialist makes them more or less likely to vote for him, 20 percent say more versus just six percent who say less. And when Democrat voters are asked to describe themselves politically, this is what you get. Out of 356 Democrats that were asked, 14% said they supported capitalism, 21% said they supported socialism, 47% said they supported neither and, get this, 17% actually said they weren’t sure. They weren’t sure? And from 390 Independents the numbers were 25%, 5%, 53% and 17% respectively.
Now that we’re 25 years removed from the dissolution of the USSR, I suppose memories of what revolutionary socialism looked like have pretty much faded and have now been replaced with smiley-face domestic initiatives like “free” college for everyone and happy talk at Democrat debates about Denmark which, actually, is less socialist in some ways than is the United States. One of the more lasting aftershocks of what can, I guess, be defined as Sandersmania this year, is that on the left there has been a rehabilitation, of sorts, regarding the term “socialist” for young liberals.
Apparently old Bernie intends to offer up his definition of what he refers to as ‘Democratic Socialism’ in what’s being billed as a major speech on that very subject. I suppose that making leftists comfortable with the term “socialism” by slapping the label on garden-variety progressive programs might be a clever first step to making them more comfortable over time with socialism’s grander utopian ambitions. Or maybe Sanders himself is just frustrated with the vagueness of the term. Most people today have no idea what true socialism represents.
After having spent the last 8 years watching the many bizarre goings on in the Democrat Party it has become quite obvious that this is not your father’s Democrat Party. Granted the party has always tended to tack more than a little left of center, but these days, regarding of the issue that one might want to discuss, it has come to stray a long way from the center, choosing to hug the far left instead. And most of those who identify as Democrats don’t seem to be all that bothered by their party’s evolution to the far left. They seem to relish it!