I would like to think that the election results from Super Tuesday signify a rejection of the evil and destructive ideology of socialism. After all, despite promising the most handouts, Bernie Sanders was defeated in most states and quickly went from being the front-runner to a long-shot candidate.
This chart shows how political betting markets have dramatically changed in the past couple of days. Crazy Bernie (in green) has collapsed with Biden (in blue) has skyrocketed.
Moreover, the other explicitly hard-left major candidate, Elizabeth Warren, saw her support collapse even earlier.
Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal opined today on the implications of this week’s political earthquake.
Before the voting began Tuesday it was conventional wisdom…that something called progressivism was on the march in the U.S., sweeping aside decades if not centuries of belief, history and tradition with a new agenda of wokeness, identity politics and socialism. …Guess what? The voters still get the last word. …Progressives, however much they dominate the culture, keep losing big, competitive elections. …Joe Biden, hardly a commanding presence, is a proxy for Democratic voters’ pragmatism and their doubts about Mr. Sanders, socialism and the American left.By the way, it’s not just that Crazy Bernie got trounced.
As reported by the New York Times, many hard-left congressional candidates also are being rejected.
All of this is very encouraging, but I’m still worried.Ms. Ocasio-Cortez previously suggested that Democrats who were not sufficiently loyal to an emergent brand of progressive politics should have others like her run against them in a primary. She is now suggesting that, exit polling be damned, Mr. Biden’s latest string of successes is because of the strong-arming of corporate lobbyists, something Mr. Sanders has underscored by repeatedly calling Mr. Biden the establishment candidate. But the results speak for themselves. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez threw her weight behind Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez in her Senate primary campaign in Texas to defeat the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s chosen candidate, M.J. Hegar. Ms. Hegar ended up easily outpacing a crowded Democratic field.
There are three reasons why I’m not brimming with optimism.
First, as explained by Annie Lowrey for the Atlantic, a non-trivial number of young people are enamored with the evil ideology of socialism.
A striking generational divide has emerged. Older people still see socialism and communism as dangerous, authoritarian political systems, whereas younger people are more likely to see them as economic systems, and to care far less one way or another. For millions of potential voters, the Red Scare is no longer so scary. …The simple passage of time explains a lot. Millions of Millennials and Gen Zers were never exposed to the threats of the Soviet Union; they did not live through the fall of the Berlin Wall… A recent poll conducted by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation showed that 36 percent of Millennials have a favorable opinion of communism, as do a quarter of Gen Zers. Roughly half of the members of those two generations have a favorable view of socialism and thinks the government should act as an employer of last resort. One in five Millennials thinks the Communist Manifesto better “guarantees freedom and equality” than the Declaration of Independence and thinks society would be better off if the government abolished private property.I’ve shared plenty of additional data to confirm this worrisome trend.
Second, older Democrats may not embrace the socialist label, but they have shifted in that direction. I previously wrote about how even prominent folks on the left agree that Joe Biden is far to the left of both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
This graphic from the New York Times illustrates how the rest of the Democratic establishment (as measured by party platforms) has also veered toward statism.
For what it’s worth, the “Median party” line shows the average position of the world’s other political parties, so the takeaway is that America’s Democrats (and the U.K.’s Labour Party) are now further to the left than some of the world’s socialist parties.
Third, while the Republican Party hasn’t moved to the left based on its platforms, I fear that the GOP isn’t motivated today by a Reagan-style belief in limited government and individual liberty.
It’s not just that Trump is a big spender (and a protectionist). Every major Republican in the post-Reagan era has expanded the burden of government and rejected the principles of classical liberalism.