Democrats' embrace of socialism may win primary elections -- but look out in November

Despite losing election after election, the far-left wing of the Democratic Party appears to be growing in strength and is dragging the rest of the party ever closer to the failed political and economic system of socialism.

This strategy won’t help Democrats win general elections – moderate Democrats and independents don’t want to have anything to do with socialism. But the move to left-wing radicalism is clearly having an impact on many members of the party and the candidates they select in primaries to face off against Republicans in the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

For a growing number of Democratic candidates, being labeled a socialist is no longer considered an attack and an insult. It’s considered a compliment that will help them win primaries. But the problem for these candidates is that winning a primary is meaningless if they go on to lose on Election Day in November.

A Gallup poll released in August found only 47 percent of Democrats have a favorable opinion of capitalism, compared to 57 percent who said they have a positive view of socialism. That’s astounding and a historic departure from the party’s traditional opposition to the spread of socialism and communism around the world – and to its support of the free enterprise system, personal freedoms and civil liberties here at home.

The Democrats’ sharp leftward tilt in just the last few years is disturbing. Socialism is a radical, oppressive, dangerous ideology. It calls for the complete destruction of property rights and the end of many individual rights, especially religious freedom.

In fact, Karl Marx, the most famous socialist in the history of the world, openly called for the “abolition of private property” and a tyrannical revolution. And he was a militant atheist who called religion “the opium of the people.”

Millions of people have died in the past 100 years – some by violence, some by starvation – in Russia, China, Eastern Europe, Cuba and other nations when Marxist revolutionaries seized power and ruthlessly held on to it, ignoring the rule of law and individual rights.

Americans fought and died in the Korean and Vietnam Wars – begun under Democratic presidents – to stop the spread of communism.

Gillum’s socialist ideas are a massive departure from the policies Floridians usually support in their elections. In 2016 Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in Florida and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio defeated his Democratic challenger by 700,000 votes.

Yet now – when much of Eastern Europe has embraced capitalism, the Berlin Wall and East Germany have disappeared, the Soviet Union has broken up into separate nations, and even Russia and China have embraced some elements of capitalism to strengthen their economies – radical Democrats want to go against the tide of history and move toward the socialist system that other nations have abandoned in droves.

Although many Democrats who say they support “socialism” probably have the mixed-market economies of Europe in mind (that’s not really socialism), there are a number of Democrats who are Marxists.

For instance, the highly influential Democratic Socialists of America, a group whose membership includes Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York City, advocates for the end of capitalism and the collective ownership of property.

Other Democrats, while not calling themselves socialists, are taking far-left positions that embrace elements of socialism and are winning primaries.

The latest candidate to do this is Boston City Council member Ayanna Pressley, who won an upset victory over 10-term U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano in the Massachusetts Democratic primary Tuesday.

Pressley was endorsed by Ocasio-Cortez and by Our Revolution, the offshoot of the Democratic presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who calls himself a democratic socialist. Pressley supports Medicare-for-all health insurance and closing nearly every coal and natural gas power plant in the country by 2035.

Another example of a far-left Democratic candidate winning a recent primary is Andrew Gillum, who became the Democratic candidate for governor of Florida Aug. 28. Gillum is the mayor of Tallahassee and a charismatic 39-year-old.

Gillum – who would be Florida’s first black governor if he is elected in November – was considered a longshot to win his party’s nomination. But after receiving key endorsements from left-wing groups and orchestrating a massive grassroots effort, he managed to beat out several better-funded and better-known candidates.

In many ways, Gillum seems like an odd choice for Florida Democrats and even odder choice for the state’s electorate as a whole.

Gillum is a socialist-leaning Democrat who received the endorsement of Bernie Sanders. He supports far-left policies like raising taxes on businesses, imposing a single-payer health-care system in Florida, and transitioning Florida “to clean energy as rapidly as possible” by sending huge amounts of taxpayer funds to solar companies to battle climate change.

Gillum also thinks carbon dioxide is a “pollutant,” and he supports a slew of new regulations and mandates for gun owners.

These policies might be attractive in certain parts of California and Vermont, but they are a far cry from the policies of Gillum’s much more conservative and pro-business Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis.

Gillum’s socialist ideas are also a massive departure from the policies Floridians usually support in their elections. In 2016 Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in Florida and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio defeated his Democratic challenger by 700,000 votes.

Pressley, Gillum, Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders currently appear to be the future of the Democratic Party, and that should shock and horrify anyone who believes in individual liberty and conserving the ideas that have helped to make America the world’s most powerful and prosperous nation.

Justin Haskins is the co-founder of StoppingSocialism.com and the executive editor of The Heartland Institute. You can followhim on Twitter @JustinTHaskins).