- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Add “democratic” to “socialism” and presto — a tidy rallying cry emerges for Sen. Bernard Sanders, now leading the Democratic field in the presidential race. In his world, socialism is transformed into a family-style activity with free stuff for all and good feelings all around. The candidate, in fact, has called his democratic socialism a “vibrant democracy” in several interviews.

“You are the reason why we stand an excellent chance to win. Thank you for everything. Let us go forward together,” Mr. Sanders advises fans in a new campaign message for Our Revolution, his campaign entity which bears the motto “organize to win.”

This is quite a leap from the socialism of yore. The transformation of this belief system is evident elsewhere. A recent Axios analysis of public opinion declared that the “Soviet stigma” associated with socialism has disappeared. Meanwhile, a cute new socialism “chic” is popular among the young and restless of Manhattan and its surrounding boroughs according to New York Magazine — complete with a socialist dating service. This cultural metamorphosis is underway despite a high-profile denial of socialism from one nation familiar with this form of government.

“I know that some people in the U.S. associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism. Therefore, I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy,” Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen told a surprised audience at Harvard University — and that was five years ago.

Now comes a new question: Is there a difference between “socialism” and “democratic socialism”? A new Yahoo/YouGov poll finds that 38% of registered U.S. voters say the two terms are “the same.” The survey found that 62% of Republicans, 41% of independents and 16% of Democrats agree.



But wait. Another 38% said the two terms are “different”; 18% of Republicans, 34% of independents and 58% of Democrats agree. About a quarter — 24% — were not sure about the matter; 20% of Republicans, 25% of independents and 26% of Democrats agree.

The greatest divide, however, is found among those who voted for President Trump in 2016, and those who chose Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. The poll revealed that 69% of Trump voters said socialism and democratic socialism were the same, compared to 13% of Clinton voters. Meanwhile, 15% of the Trump fans said the terms were different, compared to 60% of Clinton voters, with the rest undecided.

SO HOW IS BERNIE DOING?

“Sen. Bernie Sanders, on the strength of his performances in Iowa and New Hampshire, has surged nationally and now holds a sizable lead over all of his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination,” states a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Wednesday.

“If he were to become the nominee, about half of all Americans say it makes no difference in their vote that Sanders is a socialist, including about 7 in 10 Democrats. But nearly 4 in 10 adults say that fact makes them more likely to oppose him, including 37% of independents and 79% of Republicans. Just under 1 in 10 adults say it makes them more likely to support him,” the analysis noted.

In terms of electability, Democrats believe Bernie is their man.

“In a measure of how Democrats see Sanders as a candidate against President Trump, 72% say they believe he would defeat the president. Among Democrats, 69% think Michael Bloomberg would win against Trump, and 68% say that of Joe Biden,” the research said.

A PAUL RYAN SIGHTING

Former House Speaker Paul D. Ryan dishes on his time in Congress and the current state of American politics at the University of Virginia on Friday — certainly of interest to news organizations who hope he’ll weigh in on President Trump in one form or another.

University of Virginia Center for Politics director Larry J. Sabato will interview Mr. Ryan, who was first elected to the House in 1998. He became the running mate to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney during his quest for the White House in 2012, which seems like an incredibly long time ago. Mr. Ryan became speaker of the House in 2015 and retired four years later. He then founded the nonprofit American Idea Foundation and currently serves on the board of directors of Fox Corp., parent company for Fox News. But wait, there’s more.

“Ryan clashed with President Trump recently after publication of the book ‘American Carnage,’ by Tim Alberta, chief political correspondent for Politico. ‘I’m telling you, he didn’t know anything about government,’ Ryan said in the book. Trump lashed out in a series of tweets, calling Ryan ‘the failed V.P. candidate’ and a ‘lame duck failure,’” Politico reported six months ago.

Of note: Friday’s forum is part of “Democracy in Perilous Times: Unprecedented Challenges and Controversies,” an ongoing program on the campus.

A GENUINE BLITZ

A federal agency may set the record for an astonishing public outreach. The U.S. Census Bureau has expanded its already massive multimedia advertising campaign for the upcoming census count and now says the push is designed to reach over 99% of the nation’s households.

“Almost every person living in the United States will be reached an average of 40 times during the lifetime of the campaign, which will take place on TV, radio, newspapers, online and at outdoor locations such as billboards and bus stops,” the agency notes.

The messages will run in English and a dozen other languages — including Arabic, Haitian Creole and Russian — all part of a $500 million public education campaign devised to assure people that the census is “easy, safe and important.”

POLL DU JOUR

51% of U.S. voters have a favorable view of capitalism; 72% of Republicans, 54% of independents and 32% of Democrats agree; 43% of women and 61% of men also agree.

21% of voters overall have an unfavorable view of capitalism; 12% of Republicans, 22% of independents and 30% of Democrats agree; 21% of women and 22% of men also agree.

19% of voters overall have a “neutral”view of capitalism; 10% of Republicans, 17% of independents and 28% of Democrats agree; 23% of women and 14% of men also agree.

8% overall are unsure on the issue; 6% of Republicans, 7% of independents and 10% of Democrats agree; 11% of women and 4% of men also agree.

Source: A Yahoo News/YouGov survey of 1,530 registered U.S. voters conducted Feb. 12-13.

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