Issues & Insights
Joe Biden 2020 campaign

Democrats Bear Hug Socialism While Biden Tries to Win As a ‘Centrist’

Joe Biden is trying to capture his party’s nomination by running as a centrist, and early polls seem to suggest that it’s working. But,
in his run for the presidency, he will face one formidable opponent — his own party.

A new Gallup Poll  finds that a shockingly high 70% of Democrats say that socialism is “a good thing.” When Gallup asked about socialism just one year ago, 57% said they have a positive view of socialism. And last year’s poll was the first to find majority support for socialism among Democrats, according to Gallup’s Frank Newport. 

Half of Democrats now say that government should be “primarily responsible” for the overall economy. Seventy percent say it should be primarily responsible for health care. Nearly twothirds want higher education to be primarily the responsibility of the government.

In all of these views, Democrats are far outside the mainstream. 

Support for socialism collapses outside the Democratic party bubble. Among independents, 45% think it’s a good idea, and for Republicans, it’s 13%. The only age group that embraces socialism is young people (58% of those in the 18-34 age bracket) who are too uneducated or naïve to know what socialism actually means. 

When it comes to the government being responsible for the overall economy, health care, and higher education, Democrats are similarly in far left field. Just 35% of independents think government should be primarily responsible for the economy, 47% for health care, and 40% for higher education.

Only 48% of Democrats think the free market should be primarily responsible for the distribution of wealth, compared with 66% of independents and 91% of Republicans. 

The Gallup poll is far from the first to show this dramatic shift to the left among Democrats. 

Pew Research Center report from 2017 showed that it’s Democrats, not Republicans, who had shifted to the extreme from 1994 to 2017. Republican’s barely shifted to the right over those years. 

2015 study  by scholars at three universities found the same thing. Democrats had become more liberal, while Republicans didn’t move much at all on the ideological spectrum.

Another Gallup poll that same year  also found a dramatic leftward shift among Democrats.

Is it any wonder then, that all the leading Democratic contenders for president have embraced Bernie Sanders’ radical plan for a complete government takeover of the nation’s health insurance industry? Or their eager embrace of socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal? Or other equally socialistic ideas like “guaranteed government jobs.”?

Yet it’s Republicans who are endlessly cast as radicals. 

The real mystery here is why Biden, who is trying to portray himself as a reasonable centrist, is getting so much traction in his own party.

National Review’s Rich Lowry asked the question this way: “What if Donald Trump hasn’t driven Democrats insane, sending them into a spiral of self-defeating radicalism, but instead made them shockingly pragmatic?”

That’s certainly a possibility. Then again, it’s the party’s hard-core left wingers who will be mostly casting ballots in the primaries. And, as Paul Mirengoff points out at Powerline, Biden has been quietly abandoning at least some of his “middle of the road” policies.

Even if Biden can get the party’s activist base to grit their teeth and vote for the “most electable” Democrat running in the primaries, that won’t mean they’ve abandoned their embrace of far-left policies. Or that Biden, if elected, won’t help them get those policies enacted.  

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John Merline

Veteran journalist John Merline was Deputy Editor of Commentary and Opinion at Investor's Business Daily. Before IBD, he launched and edited the Opinion section of AOL News, and was a member of the editorial board of USA Today, where he continues to be a regular contributor. He’s been published in the Washington Post, National Review, Detroit News, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Forbes, and numerous other publications. He is regular commentator on the One America News Network and on local talk radio. He got his start in journalism under the tutelage of M. Stanton Evans.

1 comment

  • You left out the 28 Billion dollars that Trump is giving the farmers for his trade policy dotardness.. We are gonna turn into Venezuela!!!! 😉

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