Democrats now view socialism significantly more favorably than capitalism for the first time ever in a Gallup poll, as the Democratic Party’s young socialist star, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, takes center stage in the midterm election season.
“Attitudes toward socialism among Democrats have not changed materially since 2010, with 57 percent today having a positive view,” Gallup’s Frank Newport wrote Monday. “The major change among Democrats has been a less upbeat attitude toward capitalism, dropping to 47 percent positive this year — lower than in any of the three previous measures.”
Gallup first began measuring Democrats’ and Republicans’ views on socialism and capitalism in 2010. Only 47 percent of Democrats view capitalism positively, down from 56 percent in 2016 and 53 percent in 2010, respectively. In direct contrast, 57 percent of Democrats think positively of socialism in 2018, up from 53 percent in 2010.
Gallup conducted its survey from July 30 to August 5.
“Views of socialism among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are particularly important in the current political environment because many observers have claimed the Democratic Party is turning in more of a socialist direction,” Newport wrote.
Capitalism isn’t faring too well among adults aged 18-29, either. While 51 percent view socialism positively, only 45 percent think the same of capitalism, according to Gallup.
The bitter tug of war between socialism and the Democratic Party Establishment was at the center of the 2016 U.S. presidential election primaries, pitting Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) against eventual nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
But after suffering resounding losses across the board during the 2016 elections, the Democratic Party has struggled to rally around a unifying message combating President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” theme. Meanwhile, the gap between the Democratic Party’s progressive and Establishment factions has widened.
Ocasio-Cortez (D) brought this dilemma to the forefront of national discourse when she stunned the political Establishment in June by defeating 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), the heavily funded chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, in the state’s 14th District primary. The 28-year-old first-time political candidate is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and worked as a bartender less than a year ago.
Ocasio-Cortez ran on a platform of progressive ideals including Medicare for all, abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a “universal jobs guarantee,” “housing as a human right,” free tuition to universities and public schools, and investing in 100 percent renewable energy.
But only two of the six socialist and progressive candidates that Ocasio-Cortez backed in last week’s elections won their party’s nominations, thus dampening some of the movement’s momentum heading into November.