According to a recent Fox News poll, a solid majority of registered Democratic voters believe socialism is superior to capitalism.
Specifically, 59 percent of registered Democratic voters have a “favorable opinion” of socialism, compared to only 8 percent of Republicans.
On the other hand, 67 percent of registered Republicans have a “favorable opinion” of capitalism, compared to only 49 percent of Democrats.
But, perhaps more thought-provoking is the monumental swing that has taken place among Democratic voters in regards to the capitalism/socialism question over the past year.
In early 2020, when asked the same question, only 40 percent of Democratic voters said they had a “favorable opinion” of socialism.
So, in the span of one year, there has been a titanic shift in Democrats’ affinity for socialism.
What could possibly explain this?
Well, for starters, the COVID-19 pandemic certainly played a role.
Before the pandemic, the U.S. economy was firing on all cylinders due to the free-market policies enacted by the Trump administration.
Lower tax rates, fewer regulations, and robust domestic energy production were proving that pro-capitalist policies worked.
The unemployment rate was minuscule. Wages had increased substantially. More Americans were starting businesses.
In short, the economy was booming and Americans were reaping the rewards.
Then, COVID-19 turned much of that into dust.
In the blink of an eye, the U.S. economy was basically put in park to “slow the spread.”
This was especially true in Democratic-run cities and states, where so-called leaders went above and beyond to ensure that businesses, schools, and all gatherings were verboten.
In states like California, Illinois, Michigan, and New York (along with many others), governors told their constituents to refrain from working, while offering them exorbitant unemployment benefits, instead.
On top of that, the federal government began handing out stimulus payments like candy, no doubt getting more Americans addicted to government goodies.
Unfortunately, as the pandemic persisted (and leftists went well out of their way to make sure of this), more government handouts and socialist policies became the “new normal.”
A federal eviction moratorium so renters wouldn’t be burdened with paying their pesky rent was put in place. The federal government’s enhanced unemployment benefits made it possible for millions of Americans to abstain from working, while receiving more money from the government than they would on the job. Student loan repayments were put on pause.
In general, far too many politicians (at the local, state, and federal levels) seemingly did all they could to incentivize government dependence, while undermining personal responsibility and the pillars of capitalism, at every turn.
Should we really be so surprised so many Americans who happen to be Democratic voters have suddenly become susceptible to socialism in so short a span?
Yet, that is only a part of the story.
For close to a century, the far-left wing of the Democratic Party has embraced socialism.
Beginning in the progressive era of the early twentieth century, a dedicated arm of the Democratic Party has supported socialistic policies in the United States.
For example, John Dewey, a self-avowed socialist and ardent Democrat, worked tirelessly to “socialize” America’s public education system. All these years later, Dewey’s hard work is paying dividends.
However, the socialist creep into America’s education system is just the tip of the iceberg. In the past few decades, we have also seen socialism become mainstream in Hollywood, pop culture, and so many other societal and cultural institutions.
And, over the same period, we have seen capitalism take quite a beating in those same spheres.
Recently, perhaps most emblematic of the positive shift in Americans’ attitudes towards socialism occurred during the 2020 summer protests, backed by Black Lives Matter (BLM).
BLM is a Marxist organization through and through. Its co-founders are self-identified “trained Marxists.” BLM supports socialism, calls for the end of capitalism, and is hyper-focused on the Marxian philosophy of oppressors vs. oppressed.
Yet, despite its roots in Marxism, BLM was embraced wholeheartedly by most on the left, and continues to be.
And although BLM did not spawn critical race theory, another Marxian off-shoot, it certainly paved the way for its inclusion in schools throughout America.
Which leads to my last point. The march towards Marxism in America began in academia. Since then, it has seeped into many other areas of Americans’ everyday lives, from sports to movies.
The only way to reverse course is for Americans to demand an end to the Marxian indoctrination that passes for education in today’s decrepit public schools.
A surefire way to ensure this course correction takes place is school choice, which is kryptonite to teacher unions and those spewing Marxist ideology to today’s youth.
Unless and until school choice becomes the norm rather than the exception, Marxism will become more mainstream by the day.
Chris Talgo ([email protected]) is a former public school teacher and senior editor at The Heartland Institute.