In an attempt to bolster his campaign, Joe Biden keeps insisting that Democrats aren’t leftist enough to nominate Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders. Is he really that out of touch with his own party?
Biden recently scolded a reporter from Axios for suggesting that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders – both avowed socialists – are more representative of the Democratic Party today than Biden.
His response: “You guys got it all wrong,” he said. “You all thought that what happened was the party moved extremely to the left after Hillary. AOC was a new party. She’s a bright, wonderful person. But where’s the party? Come on, man.”
In the last Democratic debate, Biden tried to make the same claim when it came to Medicare for All.
“The fact is that right now,” he claimed, “the vast majority of Democrats do not support Medicare for All.”
The truth is, it’s Biden who’s got it all wrong.
His party has been drifting leftward for many years, to the point where it now fully embraces socialist policies that it never would have considered when, say, Biden first ran for president.
Take a look at his claim that most Democrats don’t support Medicare for All. This is demonstrably false.
A November poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 52% of Democrats “strongly favor” Medicare for All, while another 25% “somewhat favors.”
True, a third of Democrats “strongly oppose” Medicare for All. Last time we checked, one-third did not constitute a “vast majority.”
Other polls have come to similar findings. A September NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, for example, showed that 67% of Democrats supported Medicare for All.
Now, it’s true that in previous polls, many Democrats didn’t know what Medicare for All means. Many, for example, thought that they would be able to keep their own private insurance plan under Medicare for All.
But – after months of public debate about the proposed program – what Democrat can claim to be ignorant about the fact that Medicare for All means outlawing private insurance and massive new taxes?
The Democrats’ leftward shift is not new – and it certainly didn’t suddenly occur after Hillary Clinton’s loss to Trump.
Remember, we’re not talking about party leaders here, we are talking about people who self-identify as Democrats.
A 2017 Pew Research Center report showed that, while Republicans had moved slightly to the right from 1994 and 2017, Democrats had moved wildly to the left. (See the nearby chart.)
A Gallup poll from 2018 showed that, while only slightly more than a third of Americans (37%) had a positive view of socialism, 57% of Democrats did.
When Gallup asked the same question this year, the share of Democrats saying they have a positive view of socialism had climbed to 65%.
Let that sink in for a moment. Two-thirds of Democrats like socialism.
Biden might not think that his party isn’t the party of AOC, but to those who call themselves Democrats today, AOC is their standard-bearer.
So why isn’t this bigger news? Why are Republicans routinely depicted as the party of extremists, and not Democrats?
For the simple reason that the press, the entertainment industry, and academia – the forces that shape and direct the national conversation – are far more leftist than they once were. To them, talk of a government takeover of health care, free college, $40 trillion spending plans, is mainstream.
The more Joe Biden tries to pretend that his party isn’t comprised mainly of radical leftists today, the more out of touch he appears. Not to us. But to those who identify as Democrats.
— Written by John Merline
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