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Freelance journalist based in Istanbul. Keeping an eye on Turkish politics and development.
American politicians are terrified of what the future might bring. While Republicans and Democrats alike received President Trump's promise that "America will never be a socialist country" with a standing ovation, recent polls show that socialism is getting increasingly popular in the U.S.
After decades of being demonized by Cold Warriors and associated with the Soviets and the Cubans, 53% of young Americans say they are favorable to socialism. The 13 million votes won by Bernie Sanders in 2016 are just an example. In 2018, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, members of the Democratic Socialists of America, got elected to Congress.
In this episode of Deconstructed, Mehdi Hassan talks to Washington Post columnist Elizabeth Bruenig about the baseless fear of socialism in the U.S. and its current rise in popularity. A very interesting discussion on how a series of misconceptions about what social democracy really is led to the (until now) long-held resistance against socialism. Although 'socialism' is a contested term, it can be argued that one of its core principles is equality. And that is precisely why a lot of Americans are turning towards more socialist policies.
Politicians keep comparing non-capitalist systems with Venezuela (as Michael Bloomberg recently did), but that's dishonest. In the Venezuela crisis, there are many more actors in place than socialism: it is a massive humanitarian crisis due to corruption, authoritarianism and U.S. sanctions among other things. But Venezuela serves their purpose, not the Nordic countries (and many others in Europe) where socialist economic policies have brought universal healthcare, childcare, high rates of tax and massive economic growth.
Of course, it is also convenient to have "great respect" and "good relationships" with leaders of actual communist party dictatorships, like in the case of China. So the problem with socialism is not about democracy, but about the mindset that suits them better.