Young Democratic Socialist chapters springing up on campuses

In 2016, there were just 15 chapters of the Young Democratic Socialists of America on college campuses.  Today, there are 250 chapters, with their numbers growing at an astonishing rate.

They claim to want to promote left-wing causes like Medicare for all and abortion.  But on many campuses, conservatives are complaining that the groups are more about stifling free speech than political activism.

Campus Reform:

Students at campuses with active YDSA chapters, though, say the organization is better at disrupting conservative speech than advancing its own policy agenda.

"Members of YDS at [George Washington University] are not interested in genuine activism or attempting to talk to others who disagree with them," asserted Campus Reform Correspondent Abigail Marone.  "Instead, they're content with causing a scene without a clear message."

"I think the group's inability to have a cohesive message on my campus is a great representation of the democratic socialist movement's inability to have a clear, cohesive message," Marone added.  "Candidates like Ocasio-Cortez want to get involved in as much left-wing activity as possible without even having a clear message of what they stand for or an understanding of basic policy."

Campus Reform Correspondent Daniel Weldon, meanwhile, offered a more harrowing account of YDSA's activities at the University of Florida.

"At the University of Florida, socialism has been growing at a staggering rate," Weldon said.  "Recently, I spoke with an elected official who will not use the word 'capitalism' on campus since it has become such a dirty word.  In my three years on campus, groups like Young Democratic Socialists of America have ballooned in size and scope."

"I've witnessed them tear down signs for conservative events I've hosted, attempted to shut down a Dinesh D'Souza Speech which required a police presence, and even assault a conservative student," Weldon added.  "At Florida, YDSA has pushed for the abolition of ICE, government controlled healthcare, and making UF a sanctuary campus."

A fad or a trend?  I think it depends what happens with democratic socialists and the Democratic Party over the next two years.  There are going to be successful Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) candidates in the next couple of elections.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is running in a safe Democratic district and is almost guaranteed to win her race in November.  Other lower-level DSA candidates are also likely to be successful.

But they cannot exist as an independent political party.  To gain power, they must work within the Democratic party structure, where most establishment Democrats see the DSA – quite rightly – as a toxic electoral force.  They may be successful in coastal enclaves and college towns, but across the vast hinterlands of America, socialism is still – and will be for the foreseeable future – a non-starter.

Expect the ballyhoo in the press to continue, however, as terms like "new wave" are applied to the few DSA candidates who win.

In 2016, there were just 15 chapters of the Young Democratic Socialists of America on college campuses.  Today, there are 250 chapters, with their numbers growing at an astonishing rate.

They claim to want to promote left-wing causes like Medicare for all and abortion.  But on many campuses, conservatives are complaining that the groups are more about stifling free speech than political activism.

Campus Reform:

Students at campuses with active YDSA chapters, though, say the organization is better at disrupting conservative speech than advancing its own policy agenda.

"Members of YDS at [George Washington University] are not interested in genuine activism or attempting to talk to others who disagree with them," asserted Campus Reform Correspondent Abigail Marone.  "Instead, they're content with causing a scene without a clear message."

"I think the group's inability to have a cohesive message on my campus is a great representation of the democratic socialist movement's inability to have a clear, cohesive message," Marone added.  "Candidates like Ocasio-Cortez want to get involved in as much left-wing activity as possible without even having a clear message of what they stand for or an understanding of basic policy."

Campus Reform Correspondent Daniel Weldon, meanwhile, offered a more harrowing account of YDSA's activities at the University of Florida.

"At the University of Florida, socialism has been growing at a staggering rate," Weldon said.  "Recently, I spoke with an elected official who will not use the word 'capitalism' on campus since it has become such a dirty word.  In my three years on campus, groups like Young Democratic Socialists of America have ballooned in size and scope."

"I've witnessed them tear down signs for conservative events I've hosted, attempted to shut down a Dinesh D'Souza Speech which required a police presence, and even assault a conservative student," Weldon added.  "At Florida, YDSA has pushed for the abolition of ICE, government controlled healthcare, and making UF a sanctuary campus."

A fad or a trend?  I think it depends what happens with democratic socialists and the Democratic Party over the next two years.  There are going to be successful Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) candidates in the next couple of elections.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is running in a safe Democratic district and is almost guaranteed to win her race in November.  Other lower-level DSA candidates are also likely to be successful.

But they cannot exist as an independent political party.  To gain power, they must work within the Democratic party structure, where most establishment Democrats see the DSA – quite rightly – as a toxic electoral force.  They may be successful in coastal enclaves and college towns, but across the vast hinterlands of America, socialism is still – and will be for the foreseeable future – a non-starter.

Expect the ballyhoo in the press to continue, however, as terms like "new wave" are applied to the few DSA candidates who win.