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lunes, 18 de marzo de 2019
Something called “socialism” is in the air. Should we worry? The answer is yes, if you can stop laughing.
When the old socialist gent Bernie Sanders appeared in 2016, he was amusing. But intriguingly back then, in most head-to-head polls against the Republican field, Bernie came in first. In May that year he led Donald Trump by a poll average of more than 10 points. Somewhere, he had a following.
Now comes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is Bernie’s socialism cubed.
There are moments when the Queens congresswoman calls to mind the “Saturday Night Live” feature “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey.” AOC posted an Instagram video of herself making chili while wondering out loud about the social implications of climate change-“It does lead, I think, young people to have a legitimate question: Is it OK to still have children?”
This got me to thinking my own deep thought: Is there a point at which self-absorption should be considered a threat to humanity?
At last week’s South by Southwest festival, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was the event’s biggest draw and received wide coverage for her thoughts on capitalism. She told the Austin, Texas, audience, “We live in a society where if you don’t have a job, you are left to die.” Finally, the AOC bottom line arrived: “To me, capitalism is irredeemable.”
Social-media stardom is a hard habit to kick, so there is going to be more of this, running alongside the presidential campaign. The question for the Democratic Party is whether Rep. Ocasio-Cortez can baptize enough neosocialists into the party to offset the number of traditional Democrats she drives into the arms of Donald Trump. Media stardom aside, eventually it all comes down to who has the most votes.
A recent New York Times article noted that the House Democrats’ new Washington act isn’t playing well in some districts the party won from Republicans in the midterms, such as in Michigan, Utah and Virginia. A Utah constituent summed up the issue in a question to Rep. Ben McAdams: “How long do you intend to ride that train with those people?”
That’s the good news for President Trump. The bad news is there are valid reasons why every Democrat and her mother is lining up to run against him in 2020.
Mr. Trump’s approval rating looks as if it will never hit 50%, no matter what. His insistent personal abrasiveness will be a significant X-factor for suburbanites, independents and some traditional Republicans in tossup states, such as Michigan. The strong economy, Mr. Trump’s ace, could soften. And again, at the critically important margin for victory, some GOP-leaning voters are simply tired of Mr. Trump being in their face all the time (as inevitably will happen to Ms. Ocasio-Cortez).
In short, one of these Democrats could win the presidency. If they win, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wins.
What AOC knows, in part because Donald Trump taught her, is that social media’s strength lies in the fact that so many people vastly overstate its powers. Traditional politicians have convinced themselves that massive armies of millennials, on order from people like AOC, are out there waiting to roll over them. Virtually all other reality fades into irrelevance.
How else to explain a nominally intelligent person such as Sen. Kamala Harris instantly signing off on the zillion-dollar costs (and that’s barely an exaggeration) of nationalized health care and the Green New Deal and now her own family tax credit of up to $6,000 a year?
In fact, there is an explanation, offered this week by Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware: “It’s not possible to run for president and be a serious legislator at the same time.”
How else to explain the party’s leading “moderate” candidate, former businessman and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, answering whether he considers himself a capitalist: “Like, it’s maybe not the first label I’d choose.” They’re all anticapitalist zombies now.
If, as expected, former Vice President Joe Biden announces he’s in, nothing-nothing-will be more entertaining than listening to Mr. Biden talk his way out of this paper bag.
The reality is that Bernie Sanders of Vermont and now a first-term House Member from New York City have pushed the Democratic Party through an already open door into an infatuation with democratic socialism.
This means the next Democratic administration, and that would include a Biden administration, will sit to the left of the Obama presidency, which itself was a distinct ideological break from all the party’s left-of-center presidencies since World War II.
The Obama administration was managed capitalism. Its successor will push past that to administered capitalism, a private-sector co-controlled by the party’s representatives.
The blueprint isn’t AOC’s cooking videos. It’s the proposal Sen. Elizabeth Warrenintroduced on these pages last August-the Accountable Capitalism Act, requiring that large firms obtain a federally approved charter and let employees elect 40% of company directors.
Every Trump stump speech now includes this line: “America will never be a socialist country.” True. But they, and she, will settle for something just this side of socialism.