Democratic socialism: Has the far-right met its match?
Everyone is well aware of the unusual election we had this past year. The political aftermath has thickened lines between parties, and each side is gradually showing their teeth. While the outcome was historic, another factor has proven its impact ever since: Bernie Sanders’ democratic socialist platform against Hillary Clinton’s traditional democratic approach.
Sanders’ entrance into the race highlighted many ideals Americans hadn’t heard from a candidate, and he connected deeply. Specifically young Americans were his biggest group of supporters, garnering over 2 million votes from constituents under the age of 30 in last year’s caucuses, according to The Washington Post. Clinton and President Donald Trump combined only gained a little under 1.6 million. The effect of Sanders and the rise of democratic socialism on America’s millennials is not something to ignore.
After Sanders’ campaign, membership of the Democratic Socialists of America tripled to 19,000 members and is still growing. Local chapters are popping up in every state with many more awaiting verification. Because of the age group that is largely a part of this movement, many college campuses are having their own discussions and groups on the topic.
Even on this campus, a democratic socialist meeting is scheduled for April 9 at Aura Coffee. For recent rallies at Denton Square, talk of socialism is intertwined with feminism, LGBTQ+ rights, immigration issues and et cetera. This is because of the belief that you can’t talk about any of those issues without acknowledging how the current capitalistic government has impacted the marginalization of each group.
Why is socialism so popular among young Americans? If you think about it, it is no surprise. Most of us grew up during the Bush administration and former President Barack Obama’s humble beginnings right after. Whether you liked Obama or not, the resurgence of socialism from Sanders outlined some dilemmas in those years that no one else touched on.
Throughout my life, and I’ll even go as far to say our lives, socialism is cast into a negative light and is often associated with the Russian Revolution and communism. So to see socialism reclaim its own name and emphasize its true ideals – which have been ignored for some time – is refreshing.
Socialism isn’t bad, it just got the wrong attention during a bad time. As for the current politic climate, it seems we may be due for another socialist rise. Historically, socialism sparked during eras of despair and injustice. Many view the ideals of democratic socialism as just that, “ideal,” as if they are only obtainable in an idyllic world.
On the DSA homepage, the organization states it is not trying to be a third party, mainly because our two-party system makes it almost impossible for third parties to be successful. They just want to be a strong presence in the Democratic Party, so that their beliefs may actually be accounted for, other than ignored for neoliberalism interests.
According to PBS, only five U.S. states have Democratic-controlled legislatures and governors, and only “25 states have complete Republican control.” With far-right movements picking up speed through Trump’s administration, it appears that the perfect match is not mainstream liberalism, but democratic socialism.
Sanders may have lost to Clinton, but this was only further proof that his supporters needed to fight outside the norm. A Fox News poll from March, of all outlets, found that Sanders is the most popular U.S. politician right now. And his favor isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
Young Democrats are politically conscious right now, and evaluate the inequalities of race, gender, capitalism, sexual orientation and more. The divide between millennials and older Democrats is evident. Past Democrats toe the line, compromising where compromise shouldn’t be. But democratic socialism is the new way to confront these issues in a stronger, more explicit way where Democrats are not afraid to ask for it.
Featured Illustration: Antonio Mercado
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Editor’s Note: This article is an editorial, written on behalf of the Editorial Board of the North Texas Daily, comprised of the editors on staff. An editorial represents the stance
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