Friday March 22, 2019
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Will Democratic Socialism be a Winner in 2020?Ralph E. Stone, Salem-News.com
Socialistic programs provide safety nets when unregulated capitalism goes awry.
(SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.) - In his State of the Union address, President Trump decried socialism stating, “Tonight, we resolve that America will never be a socialist country.” I bet Trump could not explain what socialism is, nor for that matter, could many Americans.
Why does the word "socialism" cause fear and trembling too many Americans? Many probably think socialism equals that old bogeyman communism. However, communism is primarily a political system, a way of organizing a society in which the government owns the things that are used to make and transport products, and there is no privately owned property.
Whereas socialism is primarily an economic system that can exist in various forms under a wide range of political systems. Bernie Sanders is what may be called a democratic socialist, who wants to reduce economic inequality, remove the influence of the rich on our political and economic system.
In practical terms, he favors, among other things, universal healthcare, free public college education, a federal $15 minimum wage, and advocates for addressing climate change.
When Sanders announced his candidacy for the democratic nomination for 2016 presidential race, many discounted him as too far from the mainstream to have any chance. Sanders went on to win 43% of the primary vote in 2016, ultimately losing the nomination to Hillary Clinton.
Sanders recently announced again for the Democratic nomination for the presidency. Now, however, he is no longer outside the mainstream as many of the other announced Democratic candidates are espousing his democratic socialist principles.
Don’t count Sanders out. Just over 24 hours after announcing his presidential bid, Sanders had already collected $6 million from more than 225,000 donors.
Socialism then, is basically means a redistribution of wealth or publicly-funded programs that capitalism wouldn't pay for. We already have many so-called socialistic programs in the U.S. such as our progressive tax system, social security, public housing, unemployment insurance, medicare, schools, libraries, etc.
I like to think that most of these programs provide social safety nets for the have-nots in our society who otherwise would fall through the cracks when unregulated capitalism goes awry. You know, the kind of capitalism that got us into our financial mess under the Bush administration.
Looked at this way, socialism equals compassion for the less fortunate in our society. What's to be afraid of?
The question remains, however, as to whether American voters will support a “socialist” in the next general election. Time will tell.
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