The modern Democratic Party has been drifting steadily left for many years, starting in 1913 with President Woodrow Wilson, the father of modern Progressivism. But since 2016, Democrats have been in a full sprint to the radical left, openly embracing socialism as their guiding political philosophy for America.
New polling data from Gallup demonstrates just how far left the left has marched. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, fully 57 percent say they have a positive view of socialism, while just 47 percent have a positive view of capitalism — the first time more Democrats were favorable to socialism over capitalism. To show how far out of the mainstream they are, Americans overall support capitalism over socialism by nearly 20 points.
The masquerade is over. Democrats are finally coming out as the socialists they’ve always pretended not to be. For example, several leading Democrats are now publicly advocating outlawing private health insurance, calling for a universal, government-run system. Leftist candidates all over the map are calling for free health care and college, and guaranteed jobs and income.
Well, who wouldn’t want all that? But with demands that Americans have a right to all this free stuff, there’s no mention of how to pay for these entitlements beyond vague soak-the-rich tax schemes. Former Social Security and Medicare trustee Charles Blahous forecast the spending required for universal health care for every American and arrived at $32.6 trillion of federal spending over the first decade. That’s on top of our current $20 trillion national debt and annual budget deficits in the hundreds of billions.
But big spending on lavish benefits is just the means to an end — a way to buy votes. No, the real objective is power. The left wants power to finally end America’s 229-year experiment in ordered liberty, limited government and free-market capitalism.
Not surprisingly, the strongest supporters of socialism are younger voters. The percentage of young Americans with a positive view of capitalism has declined 23 points since 2010, when 68 percent viewed capitalism positively — a byproduct of absolute liberal control over our cultural institutions, our universities, the entertainment industry and the media. These institutions have indoctrinated a generation of young people into endorsing a failed system.
And fail it has. Whether it’s the Soviet Union, East Germany, Cuba or North Korea, socialism has led only to misery, deprivation and a loss of basic human rights. The worldwide socialist movement has been responsible for the murder, imprisonment and torture of perhaps hundreds of millions of innocent people during its heyday in the 20th century.
Take Venezuela’s current experiment with socialism, which has spawned a humanitarian crisis. Once a vibrant, oil-rich nation, food, medicine, electricity and even running water are now in short supply. More than 2 million Venezuelans have fled to neighboring countries or to the U.S. Even Nordic countries like Sweden, Norway and Denmark have been moving back toward free enterprise and capitalism after watching their democratic socialist experiments flounder.
American students are seemingly ignorant when it comes to understanding the human cost of socialism. The threat lies in the fact that today’s college students are tomorrow’s teachers, professors, judges, attorneys, legislators and policymakers. These future leaders have little understanding of history, having only been taught that America is the root of all evil in the world.
No one has explained to millennials that free-market capitalism has been the most successful anti-poverty program in history. It has raised living standards to once unimaginable levels everywhere it’s been allowed to flourish. The uniquely American entrepreneurial culture has generated unprecedented affluence.
Point to one nation where prosperity was achieved through more regulations, higher taxes, the redistribution of wealth and a massive transfer of power from citizens to some unelected pedantic bureaucracy. That some advocate for replacing vivacious free-market capitalism with sclerotic, dream-crushing socialism demonstrates the profound failure of our educational system.
For socialists, whatever the problem, the solution is more government control, more regulation, higher taxes and less freedom. In other words, a government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have, starting with your liberty. As Margaret Thatcher said, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”
Frank Dowd IV is chairman of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company, a 117 year-old U.S. manufacturer.