Monday, February 18, 2019

Republicans Already Demonizing #Democrats as Socialists and Baby Killers?

It's not like Republicans are making anything up.

The Dems are an out-and-out socialist party and it's going to cost them at the polls in 2020.

Here's the New York Times, at Memeorandum, "Republicans Already Are Demonizing Democrats as Socialists and Baby Killers."


And at the Los Angeles Times, a good piece, "Trump raises a new menace — socialism — and Democrats can’t agree how to respond":

When Democrats unveiled their “Green New Deal” to fight climate change, the Republican response was swift and strikingly uniform.

“A socialist wish list,” said a spokesman for the national party.

“The socialist Democrats are off to a great start!” exclaimed a spokesman for the GOP’s congressional campaign committee.

“Socialism may begin with the best of intentions, but it always ends with the Gestapo,” chimed in Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, invoking Winston Churchill.

The echo was no accident. Rather, it marked a purposeful shift in rhetoric and political strategy as President Trump and his party increasingly focus on his reelection and wield the S-word, socialism, as their preferred weapon.

The president faces an uphill battle — his poll numbers are some of the worst in history and he just faced a drubbing in November’s midterm election. One way to boost Trump’s prospects is to shift the focus from his turbulent tenure to his eventual opponent and his frightful portrayal of that alternative.

The effort began with his State of the Union speech. “We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country,” he said, in what has quickly become a campaign staple.

It is both an old and new tactic.

The president’s political rise has been replete with dark and scary imagery and perceived threats of his own making. Marauding street gangs. Rapists, drug dealers, murderers spilling across the country’s border with Mexico. By invoking a socialist threat, he summons — at least for those of a certain age — the whiff of Red Menace, bread lines and an assault on democracy and the country’s foundational free-enterprise system.

“It’s the sense of something foreign, something un-American,” said Stephanie Mudge, a UC Davis sociologist and author of a book on left-of-center politics in the U.S. and abroad.

It also divides Democrats in a way emotional issues such as immigration, abortion and gun control generally do not.

For many younger Americans — saddled with college debt, struggling to find an affordable place to live — socialism has a more benign connotation, promising a fairer distribution of wealth and greater economic opportunity. A Gallup Poll in August found that 51% of Americans between the ages of 19 and 29 had a positive view of socialism, compared with 45% in that age group who viewed capitalism in a favorable light.

“They don’t have the legacy of the Cold War and that narrative about the West, freedom and capitalism versus the Soviet Union and authoritarian communism,” said Maria Svart, national director of the Democratic Socialists of America and, at age 38, a millennial voter.

She welcomes a debate over socialism as a chance to discuss social justice and economic inequality and ways to achieve both. “It’s absolutely the moment to shine,” Svart said. “The more people that hear our message, the better.”

That is not, however, a view that is widely shared, even among Democrats.

Peter Hart cited a September NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll he conducted that overall found strongly positive sentiments toward capitalism and negative views of socialism — attitudes, he said, that could undermine support for popular Democratic positions like expanding healthcare coverage and fighting climate change if Trump manages to define the terms of the debate...
Keep reading.

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