Socialism has gone mainstream

A new Gallup poll this week found that 57 percent of Democrats view socialism favorably, compared to 47 percent who view capitalism positively.

Socialism has gone “mainstream” and is now supported by the majority of Americans, 76- year-old Sen. Bernard Sanders asserted this week, saying Democrats should embrace rather than shun the term as they campaign to win control of Congress.

The Vermont independent, who won the Democratic primary for another term Tuesday has raised concerns among some Democrats about whether it could hurt the party in this year’s midterm elections, and the presidential race of 2020.

“The ideas that we have been talking about, almost without exception, are now ideas that are mainstream ideas that are supported by the vast majority of American people,” Mr. Sanders said. He’s an avowed democratic socialist.

The biggest Democratic star of the summer is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who, like Sanders, is a democratic socialist.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become a darling of cable news after she unseated 20-year incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in a primary earlier this year.

The attention to their agenda of tuition-free college, government-sponsored health care for all, and a tax system that redistributes from the wealthy to the poor has convinced them socialism can win at the ballot box.

Here are some of Sanders’ socialist ideas:

Free college tuition: This is something that students can count on in many European countries and that once was not uncommon in the United States.

Now, American students are graduating with increased amounts of student loan debts while many others cannot afford to pay in the first place.

A $1-trillion program to rebuild the nation’s roads and bridges: This could address the country’s glaring infrastructure crisis that threatens freight mobility and interstate commerce.

Break up giant financial institutions:  “If they are too big to fail, they are too big to exist,” Sanders says.

Publicly funded elections: Instead of seeing the spectacle of candidates for president and Congress taking turns begging for money at gatherings of billionaires and corporate lobbyists, public funding for campaigns might encourage politicians to pay attention to those of us who don’t have the ability to buy influence in our government. This feels very un-American.

Higher taxes on the wealthy:

The vast majority of that wealth is held by the few and a huge share of the new dollars coming into the U.S. economy is derived from the financial sector.

Government-run healthcare: This is socialism. It’s what they have in places like Germany, Denmark, Japan and Canada.

The Sanders force is also seen in the fact that other Democrats are backing his single-payer push, including Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Cory Booker (N.J.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), who are all seen as potential presidential candidates.

“Bernie’s positions used to be fringe ideas. Single-payer was a dirty word in politics,” said Chuck Rojas, a Democratic strategist who served as a consultant to Sanders’s presidential campaign and was recently one of several advisers who gathered to consult Sanders about the possibility of running in 2020. “Now it’s all becoming mainstream. It’s a new day.”

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