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Trump Warnings On Socialism’s Rise Are Not Fear Mongering, Research Says

Trump Warnings On Socialism’s Rise Are Not Fear Mongering, Research Says

President Trump was mocked by Democrats when he declared in his State of the Union speech that America will never be a socialist country, a clear rebuke of the new generation of Democrats and socialists like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

However, new polling data suggest that socialism is gaining support among Millennials and Generation Z, at the expense of belief in capitalism.

Since 2010, young adults’ overall opinion of capitalism has deteriorated to the point that capitalism and socialism are tied in popularity among this age group, according to new research from Gallup. Moreover, only half of young adults view capitalism positively, down from 66 percent in 2010.

Generation Zers and Millennials (ages 18 – 39) take kindlier to socialistic policy than past generations. In fact, 49.6 percent of young voters would prefer to live in a socialist country, according to results from the 2019 Harris Poll, which has measured U.S. public opinion and advised presidents since 1963.

The wide and enthusiastic support self-declared socialist Bernie Sanders has whipped up from young people is demonstrative of the data. So is the celebrity-like status of the “The Squad” — the moniker given to Ocasio-Cortez and her freshmen colleagues Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich). Ocasio-Cortez and Omar have endorsed Bernie Sanders for president.

To these young people, many of whom are ill-educated in the Cold War and Soviet brutality in Europe, capitalism —not socialism — is the dirty word.

“To me, capitalism is irredeemable,” Ocasio-Cortez has said.

Where young adults differ from Baby Boomers and Generation Xers is their particularly low ratings of capitalism and big business combined with their relatively high rating of socialism.

Some data also suggest that ignorance might play a role in socialism’s rise among young people.

Despite the relatively high proportion of young adults who view socialism positively, a much higher 83 percent have a positive view of “free enterprise,” according to Gallup. This nearly matches the 88 percent of Gen Xers (ages 40 – 54) and 91 percent of Baby Boomers/Traditionalists (ages 55 and older)  who view free enterprise positively. Still, opinions of free enterprise among Millennials/Gen Zers have trended down in the past few years.

Research from the non-partisan Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) suggests that perception is a major factor in how young people view socialism.

PRRI’s 2018 American Values Survey offered respondents two definitions of socialism. One described it as “a system of government that provides citizens with health insurance, retirement support and access to free higher education,” essentially how socialist Democrats describe their beliefs. The other was the full Marxist-Soviet version, “a system where the government controls key parts of the economy, such as utilities, transportation and communications industries.”

Fifty-four percent said socialism was about those public benefits, while just 43 percent picked the version that stressed government domination. Americans ages 18 to 29, for whom Cold War memories are dim to nonexistent, were even more inclined to define socialism as “social democracy” — 58 percent of them picked the gentle option, 38 percent the hard one.

The different reactions to the terms suggest that young adults favor Americans’ basic economic freedoms but have heightened concerns about the power that accrues as companies grow and that younger generations are more comfortable with using government to check that power.

But the PRRI survey indicates that there are fundamental issues of identity at play too regarding what it means to be an American.  For Americans between the age of 18 – 29, only 47 percent say that believing that capitalism is the best economic system is important for being truly American. Seventy-one percent of seniors believe the opposite, that true Americans embrace capitalism.

Democratic leaders have dismissed accusations by President Trump that large swaths of the Democratic Party now identify with socialism. But PRRI’s research suggests otherwise. Less than half of Democrats surveyed said that believing capitalism is the best economic system is important for being truly American. Conversely, eight in 10 Republicans said it was.

The Harris Poll also found that four in 10 Americans surveyed said they would prefer living in a socialist country over a capitalist one. Fifty-five percent of women aged 18 – 54 would prefer to live in a socialist country, while a majority of men said they would prefer to live in a capitalist one.

So, follow the numbers and a future socialist-leaning America is not that far-fetched. All told, these statistics suggest that, while a great partisan rift has divided the United States, the bigger threat to American capitalism might be a growing chasm between generations. According to Harris, Americans age 37 and under will be 37 percent of the electorate in 2020.

Conservatives can only hope that the White House and Republican Party brain-trusts have a better plan than just name-calling Democratic luminaries. For his part, President Trump has made it clear that socialism’s rise will be a central theme of his re-election campaign.

“We are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country,” the President said in his state of the union address. “America was founded on liberty and independence — not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. America will never be a socialist country.”

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  1. Waka Sasha

    Maybe these kids who think they like socialism, something they’ve never tried & that has never worked anywhere on the globe, ought to go experience the daily electrical brownouts of Cuba before they make their decision. Being so tied to social media as they are, I don’t think they’d like NO ELECTRICITY AT ALL for parts of each day. Their pie in the sky college professors lectured them about IDEALISM socialism, not actual Venezuela & USSR. Poor kiddies. Hope I’m gone by the time they mess everything up w/ their uninformed voting.

    • Joe S Bruder

      Maybe the real problem is that YOU don’t know what socialism is. If you’re not getting Social Security, it’s a good bet that your grandparents and probably your parents are. If it weren’t for Social Security, 7 out of 8 seniors would be living in poverty. We pool our money to pay for education, for the good of society. Taxes pay to build roads for the common good, and provide safety nets for people who fall on hard times. Adding health care to the mix would save on average $4-6K per person. You may pay a little extra in taxes, but profit built into insurance coverage wouldn’t be taken out of your paycheck every month, and you wouldn’t get saddled with extra costs when a for-profit insurance company decides that getting pregnant is a pre-existing condition because the woman is of child-bearing age.

      Even though Communist countries have “Socialist” in their names, those political entities really have nothing to do with the true meaning of Communism or Socialism. They were dictatorships, much like our current President would like to see. While he is tearing down NATO, he cozies up to Putin and Kim, pretends to be best friends with Jie (although the Chinese generally think he’s an idiot and are just waiting for his impeachment or un-election so they can make real deals with the US).

      On the other hand, unfettered Capitalism would be a disaster. The richest .1% would eventually own all the businesses, which would all be monopolies. You could go shopping at Walmart, which will have killed off the competition and will happily sell you imported Chinese junk at inflated prices. You can buy all your chicken from Perdue, and all your breakfast cereal (and dog food) will come from Purina (and if you get sick because they happen to mix them up, well, tough, they bought your Congressman and there is no such thing as safety regulation). You can go on Facebook to do your business, because they will put everyone else out of business. You’ll ge your entertainment from Comcast/Disney/Google/ATT, which will be one big conglomerate, which owns all your cable and telecom services. That’s what the big guys do – they get big enough that they can put the competition out of business, then they raise their prices. Laws against monopolies, although poorly enforced these days, were created for a reason.

      The real shame is that the rich have bought enough of our government that they have to smear something as simple as the supposed Richest Country In The World making sure that people have enough to eat. Those same rich people balk at paying their fair share of taxes, and don’t give me the bullshit about them providing all those jobs. Half of all jobs in the US are created by companies with 40 or fewer people, and 20 years ago it was 20% higher. The rich are not like you and me – most of us pay 15 – 25% of our income in taxes (most through income tax, but also a large portion through real estate, fees, and state taxes. The misleading number is that the top 1% pay 39% of the taxes, but what they don’t say is that they own as much wealth as the bottom 90%. Their actual tax rate is probably less than 10%, because they can afford to put their money into non-taxed uses.There’s a reason that Trump doesn’t want his taxes revealed – besides being evidence of his fraudulent nature, he has probably managed to pay no taxes in the last 20 years.

      So, if you want to talk about socialism, quit comparing it to the old Communist Dictatorships of Stalin and Mao. It’s just pointless.

  2. Ron

    What I strongly fear is we are heading for another dark age with sharp divides between classes with most being the poorest class. This is all because of the collapse of our education system, mom’s are no longer home for their kids, schools no longer teach history, math is a joke, if the people can’t lift themselves up with knowledge they’ll eventually end up working long hard days just to feed their family. The Democrat view of the nation requires a base of not stupid but un-educated followers, voting will not be needed members of government will be be appointed for life. Our status with other nations will deteriorate to nothing, the problem is, this isn’t a maybe will happen this is a, WILL HAPPEN. Everything is all in place, schools have done a great job for the Socialists making it sound like a utopia, history is gone, math is in the trash can, here we come, another empire has fallen. People will look at the great works of America, to only think of in the same lite as Rome defeated by barbarians.

  3. Larry Hancock

    Under President Hoover’s administration, Oct. 31, 1929, economic Depression hit. If it was not for President FDR’s Alphebet programs like the CCC, his Social Security program, 1936, the first Social Security Card was issued, and WWII, Depression would have been much longer. In 1965, President LBJ’s Great Society program expanded the Social Security to help the lower economic class. Our nation has been under control by the Federal Government since it’s beginning. The Hall Marks of the Bill of Rights has maintained our Freedom. Like right now, freedom to express our opinions. Freedom of Religion which is important to me.

    Capitalists like Trump wants to cry out against what our nation already has in place long before his birth and long before he was elected into Office. His desire is to build a bomb fire and burn all Social Security Cards. Mr. President, the USA has a Social system in place and that is not going away. It is the poor man’s protection against Darwinism Capitalists who finds loopholes in the law to build their empires, who refuses to pay employees a just livable wage not understanding that Capitalism works both ways for the CEO’s and Employees. Trump your ideas are great for the upper middle class and the 1 % but everyone else to you are non-Americans who are low life servants, ( slaves). Those who will mock me, you better thank God that you are not living in the streets, Disabled with benefits, all because of a back injury on the job and your company hasn’t found a loophole to rid of you. Laugh and jeer all you like.

  4. Knobby

    Social Security is a contract, not an entitlement. Workers and employers PAY for their services to be provided in the future. If you do not work, or work long enough, you are not in the system. Some people get a lot more than they put in, and some persons die before any benefits are received, after 40 years of payments. You earn your own benefits, not the “other guy”. This is Socialism Lite.

    Income taxes paying for someone else’s income is Socialism Heavy.

    The US has a vast array of perverse incentives for handing out government checks to dis-incentivize work for those who can and should be working. This should be addressed, but never will, if history is any indication.

    Medicare for All means the Federal Government is responsible for delivering your health care and will be, by default, be the owner of your health care records. At some point they will be responsible for rationing your health care. So does a 60 year old who smoked cigarettes for 40 years get more or less health care than the 60 year old who did not smoke? How will someone somewhere in DC figure this out?

    What if it is your mother and you do not get any say in how the decision is made? “Sorry, but remember the auto accident back in 2018, when her pelvis was broken? I’m afraid she used too much of her allotment back then.”

    My point is, if you assign the Federal Government a responsibility, you get a very inefficient, unresponsive, and expensive entity that we all have to pay for somehow. Even though well-intended at the outset, the agency rules are often poorly thought out, or do not work as intended, and are difficult to change after they get set in place.

    So how would the Federals handle Health Care for all? It would get very costly. Look at the problems the VA has serving their clients. Anyone that is well informed has heard the shameful level of service they provide to their clients. Medicare and Medicaid do a better job, but again not all that great.

    Federal Department employees are incentivized to expand their turf. They will always ask for more money and look for more areas to regulate that are related to their core mission. That is due to the desire at the top to have bigger budgets and headcount, so their salaries will always go up, not down. Since the Department is not like a business, and cannot go bankrupt, there is little incentive to reduce budgets and drive down costs .

    Most Important Point: Medicare for All does not address the underlying cause of the high costs of health care in the US. The problem is the lack of price transparency. If you have Medicare or private insurance, you call for an appointment, show up and pay a co-pay, and you never actually know how much your treatment costs. The insurance company is between you and your service provider. Health care should be like the auto repair industry. No one buys auto maintenance insurance, they buy warranties to cover the unexpected significant expenses, not the known lesser expenses.

    in either case, Maintenance should paid by the owner (patient) where the costs and reputations of the mechanics (doctors) are known in a competitive free market. Maintenance would include fixing a flat (stitching a cut on the forearm), replacing a failed EGR sensor (acid reflux prescription), and buying a set of tires (chiropractor appointment). The patient should pay for this Maintenance from a Health Care Savings account, funded by the employer, the customer, or the government, depending on need and ability to pay. The patient is responsible for the HSA expenses, so now will pay attention to the cost of service. That means doctors will be advertising their rates. That is free market price transparency. That will drive costs lower from competition.

    The insurance starts to pay once the HSA funds are depleted, just like if you have a high-cost problem; either by the transmission failure or accident, the Insurance Co. pays you as long as it you purchased the coverage. Since the Insurance Co. only starts to pay after a certain level is already spent over the coverage year (example: $4000), the premiums should be reasonable. Again, this is a new market environment for the insurance industry, and competition should result in lower costs.

    This is not my idea. Go to Amazon and search for “Opposite of Obamacare”. This is a quick read and describes a better way with more facts and detail. Thank you for reading this far.

  5. k

    Anyone who is old enough and intends to vote in the upcoming elections needs to and should investigate socialism and how it works. Once it is understood you will want NO PART of it.