In the U.S., socialism is no longer such a dirty word
Ronald Reagan must be turning over in his grave:
Americans are embracing socialism en masse. At least the Democrats, judging by the primaries.
Contrary to the trends in the previous decades, a growing number of Democrats seem to be in favor of some form of socialism, roughly 40% of them looking at it favorably. The trend is actually more pronounced when one takes a look at the demographics, as the young people are spearheading the effort – apart from its poster child being Bernie Sanders who is anything but young. However, the fact he even stands a chance against Hillary Clinton (or almost any other Democrat nominee) is the support he has among the young and dissatisfied voters.
On the other hand, the number of Democrats who look down on socialist ideology is in decline, as it seems anchored at roughly 33%. In other words, more Democrats seem to be openly supportive of socialism in comparison with their dismissive fellows. Unsurprisingly, the core of anti-socialist sentiment comes from baby-boomers, who actually remember the Cold War anti-Soviet propaganda.
Nevertheless, what is driving the socialist agenda in the U.S. is the overall belief that the system seems completely broken, as the new generation is the first in living memory that will live worse than their parents, and they know it. For more than a century, every generation in the U.S. has enjoyed a higher quality of life than the previous one, but that no longer seems to be the case. This is one of the most often-cited catalysts for the recent success of Bernie Sanders.
This “democratic socialist,” as he described himself, is looking to give Hillary Clinton a run for her money. Considering all the recent scandals she was involved with – Benghazi being one of the more memorable ones – the fact her only real competitor at this point is an aging liberal seems a bit underwhelming. Still, underestimating Sanders can only work in his favor, as the people seem fed up with candidates who are in league with corporations and Wall Street, so Bernie actually stands a chance, remarkable as it may seem.
As for the Republicans, however, the number of staunch opponents of socialism is still quite high, while few of them dare voice any support for liberal ideas of any kind. In fact, more than 70% of Republicans are against any such system of governing, while roughly 17% of them might actually give socialism a chance. As for these 17%, most of these also belong to the same demographics: the young people. However, the number of senior citizens among Republican supporters is still very high, as conservative ideas are generally associated with older people.
However, given the sheer numbers, it would seem that socialism might yet see the light of day in the U.S. After all, the majority of opponents of socialism are aging while those who will inevitably follow have a far more liberal view than their senior counterparts. In fact, almost half of the population between 18 and 29 seem to have a positive opinion on socialism, while the number of socialists older than 65 is roughly one in five. In the next few decades, however, we can expect a massive change in the overall political landscape in the U.S. as the percentage of baby-boomers gradually declines.
So, how does this translate into chances for President Bernie? Not quite well, at this point. When asked if they would support a socialist president, less than half of the Americans interviewed gave a positive answer. According to a recent Gallup poll, roughly 47% of the Americans would vote for a socialist president, meaning the time is simply not right. In the next cycle, perhaps, but now – it just does not seem realistic. However, this does not disqualify him from the race, as the majority of Democrats actually would support such a candidate, at least according to the same poll.
Running on the “Jewish’ card might have seemed like a better idea, considering that more than 90% of both Democrats and Republicans said they would support a Jewish president. Catholic and especially Hispanic candidates would certainly be at an advantage, which would explain the number of such candidates in both parties. It is a real shame their race and religion seem to be the deciding factor when running for presidency.
Then again, being an atheist would seriously hurt any politician’s chances of entering the Oval office, so Sanders has wisely declared himself as a “secular Jew“. Apart from atheists, openly gay or lesbian candidates would struggle for support – especially among Republicans. The same goes for Muslim candidates. As previous two election cycles have indicated, women and black people no longer face any real disadvantage when running for president.