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On Socialism. And Wendy Davis.
Socialism, as defined (above) by Google. Note the synonyms.
It's a loaded word in political discourse, evoking emotional reactions in many, but socialism seems to have lately (and quite suddenly) lost all meaning to post-Cold War kids.
Indeed, in a recent CBS/New York Times poll, only 16% of millennials could even say what socialism is, while only a still-embarrassing 30% of those aged 30 and up could define it (57% of Tea Partiers knew about socialism, by contrast).
Meanwhile, socialism itself has been mainstreamed as perfectly acceptable within the Democratic Party, while those who warn about the encroachment of the state into ever more of the economy and our lives are pitied by today's cultural-media establishment as kooky cranks with fringe ideas, the Crazy Uncle types who forward easily debunked political emails to their entire email lists.
Indeed, rather than stigmatizing politicians for hanging out with socialists and embracing socialism, today it is fashionable to stigmatize people on the right (as neo-McCarthyites, perhaps) for pointing it out.
This is unfortunate. There should be a stigma about being associated with socialism. It should be difficult to win elections after being cozy with socialists and their ruinous ideas. Democrats should disassociate themselves from socialists and socialism or face rapid extinction as a viable national political party.
The whole concept of socialism, seemingly tossed on the ash heap of history nearly a quarter of a century ago as the Berlin Wall and Soviet Union both came ignominiously crashing down, should be radioactive in a nation founded on notions of freedom, personal liberty, limited government, and low taxation. Socialism should simply be political poison.
It's not, though.
Somehow, it's become okay for Democrats and socialist activists, even big-S Socialists, to intermingle in the open.
Which makes sense, one supposes, as, again, only tiny fractions of Americans can even identify what socialism is. Even fewer probably could explain or acknowledge the failures of socialist nation-states in practice throughout the 20th century. Few Americans probably realize that we've had socialist versus non-socialist cultural and political experiments play out right before our eyes. East and West Germany. North and South Korea. Maoist China versus Free Hong Kong. And on a slightly less extreme level, California and Texas. The results speak for themselves.
Which brings us back to the catalyst that necessitated this post in the first place.
Earlier this year, Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, a Democrat, actively raised money for a Chicago member of the Democratic Socialists of America.
On cue, the most dishonest and inaccurate "fact"-checking "news" organization in America provided cultural cover for Wendy Davis, despite Wendy Davis' fundraising support for an out-of-state socialist being an absolute matter of public record and fact.
Again, that's just how this works. Those who point out that Democrats are cavorting with socialists and adopting socialist/Marxist ideas are the ones who deserve derision and scorn.
Which is where this post comes in, headlong.
The Socialist Party USA's 2012 Vice Presidential candidate, and State Chair of the Socialist Party of Texas, Alex Mendoza, is now running for State Representative as a Democrat against Republican Ron Simmons. Here's some background on Mendoza (yeah, I know... wikipedia):
He's one of the mere quarter of new Texans from California who identify as liberal (57% of former Californians now living in Texas consider themselves conservative), and he recently scored prime, backstage, one-on-one access to Wendy Davis at her recent event at the University of North Texas in Denton:
Here's another angle:
And this one:
See how seamless that was? Socialist Party VP nominee last year. "Progressive Democrat" with exclusive access to top-of-the-ballot candidates this year. Easy peasy and completely painless. From the Alex Mendoza campaign Facebook account:
Alex Mendoza, from national socialist figure to local Democrat activist and candidate, in the blink of an eye.
That's a problem. The ease with-- and degree to-- which Democrats and Socialists find themselves essentially perfectly compatible and interchangeable is an existential problem for our Republic. It's a problem for those who value prosperity and liberty. It should be a deal-breaker electoral problem for Democrats. And perhaps it still is in places like Texas.
This easy breezy Democrat-Socialist relationship also underscores a problem for conservatives in general and Republicans in particular. How damaged is our party's brand right now that Democrats feel they can get away with going full-on socialist without any serious negative consequences?
Again, though, this is Texas, and Texas is exceptional.
So the question now becomes: do Wendy Davis, Leticia Van de Putte, and the Texas Democrats disown and repudiate Alex Mendoza? Double down and embrace him? Or are they so irrelevant, and the media so uninterested in these races and/or in the tank for the Democrats, that it doesn't even matter?
Posted by Will Franklin · 8 September 2014 02:55 PM