Capitalism? Socialism? For Democrats, It’s Really Bernie vs Donald.

Gallup has a new poll out showing that Democrats now feel more favorably toward socialism than capitalism. But a few folks have pointed out that this isn’t due to increased warmth toward socialism; rather, it’s due to a sudden distaste for Trump-era capitalism. This is true as far as it goes, but the full story is a little more complicated. Here it is:

Approval of socialism took a sudden smallish jump in 2016. This was presumably the Bernie effect, which persisted but didn’t increase this year. But Bernie had zero effect on support for capitalism. The warmer attitude toward socialism was purely a personal thing.

Likewise, this year’s drop in support for capitalism didn’t improve the outlook for socialism, Alexandria Ocasio-Sanchez notwithstanding. Once again, it appears to be more a gut reaction to what Republicans and Trump are doing with tax cuts and the economy generally.

That’s my take, anyway. For Democrats, this isn’t the sharp ideological choice that it is for Republicans—who almost unanimously approve of capitalism and hate socialism. Basically, a fair number of Democrats like Bernie, whatever he calls himself, and hate the Republican version of the economy, whatever they call it. That’s really all these numbers mean.¹

¹So far.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest