AP NEWS

Inside the Beltway: Millennials turn socialism ‘sexier’

March 5, 2019 GMT

“Pinkos have more fun,” declares New York Magazine political contributor Simon van Zuylen-Wood, who says that socialism has become a “new way to date in Brooklyn.”

Things have gotten so social with socialism that the young and restless now can consult a dating app called Red Yenta to find the fellow socialist of their dreams. Creators Marissa Brostoff, 33, and Mindy Isser, 28, were concerned that socialist men were not dating socialist women, and described their new dating platform as a “communal service” to help filter through a potential date’s political leanings.

Things have picked up considerably.

“Until very recently, it wasn’t that socialism was toxic in a red-scare way. It was irrelevant, in a dustbin-of-history way. But then came Bernie Sanders’s 2016 candidacy,” writes Mr. Van Zuylen-Wood, citing the new popularity of the Democratic Socialists of America which has 55,000 members in 250 local groups nationwide and the “spectacular rise” of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat.

“Coolheaded Obaman technocracy is out; strident left-wing moral clarity is in. And while this atmospheric shift is felt most acutely among the left-literary crowd, it’s also bled into the general discourse, such that Teen Vogue is constantly flacking against capitalism and one of the most devastating insults in certain corners of the internet is to call someone a neoliberal,” Mr. van Zuylen-Wood said.

“The word socialism has become a kind of blank canvas on which young leftists project their political desires. The reason to call it socialism, the lefty journalist Kate Aronoff has said, is because people are calling it socialism. At least in Brooklyn, and the spiritual Brooklyns of America, calling yourself a socialist sounds sexier than anything else out there, without necessarily advocating anything too risky,” Mr. van Zuylen-Wood observed.

AND THE REALITY CHECK

It is a favorite practice among some socialists to point to Nordic nations as proof that socialism works. Why can’t America be like, say, Denmark? The voices of reason often intercede to remind the wishful thinkers that the U.S. population is currently 327 million, the population of Denmark a more manageable 5.7 million. The U.S. covers 3.8 million square miles, Denmark 43,094 square miles.

Such practical realities don’t always sink in, particularly when warm and inclusive versions of socialism are fast becoming a cultural fixture.

“Socialism’s millennial fans don’t even know what it is. Millennials ignorant of socialism’s appalling economic and human-rights history increasingly embrace socialism and its naively unrealistic prescriptions for ending all human want,” says a New York Post editorial, noting that a recent Gallup poll found that 57 percent of Democrats have a positive view of socialism.

“These socialists insist they don’t support repressive states like the Soviet Union or North Korea,” The Post said, and instead “point to Scandinavian-style socialism in nations like Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden as ‘true socialism.’ One problem: Those countries aren’t socialist.”

The Danes agree.

“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 an audience at Harvard University in 2015 back when Denmark was cited as a kind of global role model during the Democratic presidential debates by White house hopefuls Sen. Bernard Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“True socialism, in fact, is reflected in Venezuela, Cuba and the Soviet Union. All are or were economic disasters and brutally repressive states,” The Post editorial concluded.

COULD FOX NEWS AIR A DEMOCRATIC DEBATE?

With 14 declared presidential candidates, it is no wonder that the Democratic National Committee is busy structuring debates for the hopefuls. They begin in June, and so far, the Democrats have awarded the broadcast honors to CNN, NBC/MSNBC and Telemundo. But what about Fox News? The network has submitted some ideas to the powers that be, according to Hollywood Reporter political writer Jeremy Barr.

“Prominent conservatives surveyed at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference are hoping the Democratic National Committee agrees to the ‘persuasive proposal’ Fox News has submitted,” writes Mr. Barr.

“You would think that if you want to try to win a national election, you would want the entire nation to see what it is that your candidates are offering,” advised Marc Lotter, a former special assistant to President Trump who now runs strategic communications for his re-election campaign.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum pointed out that the Republican Party has granted debate broadcasts to MSNBC in the past. American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp suggested that Fox News anchor Bret Baier with his concentration on news rather than opinion might be a good choice to helm a Democratic debate.

“The decision is not an easy one. Progressives have already chafed at the possibility of doing business with a conservative television network reviled on the political left, though 2020 candidates Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand have recently sat for interviews,” Mr. Barr said.

EMPLOYMENT CORNER

Know someone who could use temporary employment with “competitive wages,” paid training and flexible hours? There’s opportunity in the near future.

“We are hiring for a variety of temporary jobs, including census takers, recruiting assistants, office staff, and supervisory staff. To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old, have a valid Social Security number, and be a U.S. citizen,” advises the U.S. Census Bureau, in preparation for the jumbo 2020 Census.

They expect to hire “thousands.” Pay ranges from $12 to $25 an hour depending on location, and authorized mileage expenses are reimbursed. The federal agency has a helpful and comprehensive website up and running at 2020census.gov/jobs.

POLL DU JOUR

56 percent of likely Democratic primary voters prefer a presidential candidate who is close to their own views on the issues.

55 percent prefer someone who proposes large-scale policies that cost more but could bring “major change” in health care or economic opportunity.

45 percent are comfortable with a socialist candidate.

42 percent prefer a candidate who proposes smaller-scale policies that costs less, and bring less change.

40 percent prefer a candidate with the best chance to defeat President Trump.

Source: An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of 247 likely Democratic primary voters conducted Feb. 24-27.

Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.