Is Socialism On the Rise?

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Over at The Corner, Ericka Andersen writes: “More and more liberal Americans are embracing socialism. Unfortunately, it seems many of them aren’t aware of the realities that citizens in countries like Venezuela face.”

That got me curious. Is it true that more and more liberal Americans are embracing socialism? I couldn’t find a whole lot on the subject, but Gallup has asked a few times recently whether people have a positive image of socialism. And in 2015 they asked whether people would vote for a socialist. Here are the results:

This isn’t much. Maybe ANES has some longer-term trends on this? Still, the Gallup polls don’t suggest any overall recent warming toward socialism. If liberals really are getting seduced by the red menace, some other group must be making up for it.

So what’s going on? A few recent polls have gotten a lot of attention for reporting that millennials prefer socialism to capitalism, but I doubt they really mean much. For one thing, we have no idea if this is anything new. For another, millennials polled in 2016 probably figured that socialist meant “Bernie Sanders.” But Bernie’s no socialist, no matter what he calls himself.1 He’s a European-style social democrat, just like me.

If I hear millennials starting to talk about nationalizing the banks and having the feds take over the steel mills, then it might be time to wonder what’s going on. Until then, I think the answer is: nothing.

1I don’t know what he believes in his heart of hearts, of course. In practice, however, he’s a pretty standard issue social democrat. So are lots of American liberals. Bernie is just more vocal about getting there right now than most of them. That’s one of the benefits of having a safe seat in Vermont.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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