Dems should be very nervous about Trump's declaration of war on socialism
Donald Trump all but announced one of his major themes for his 2020 re-election campaign during his State of the Union speech that had Republicans cheering and Democrats fidgeting nervously in their seats.
The most remarkable moment in President Trump's speech on the Union's state was, by our lights at least, his declaration in respect of socialism. He set up the haymaker with the vow that Americans "stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom." He marked how the Maduro regime's "socialist policies" have turned the South American land into "a state of abject poverty and despair."
"Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country," Mr. Trump declared. And then the already famous words: "America," the President said, "was founded on liberty and independence — not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free." Most of the congresspersons reacted by leaping to their feet in applause.
Not, however, all of them. The Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, clapped briefly during the President's point about Venezuela. She stayed seated, through, with her jaw set. Most of her caucus took the cue. The cameras caught the socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, sitting glumly. It caught Senator Bernie Sanders, who's weighing another run, running his hand over his face.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, a defender of President Maduro, was later quoted by the Hill as reckoning the president was using scare tactics. "I think he's scared," Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said. "He sees that everything is closing in on him and he knows that he's losing the battle of public opinion." Our guess is that the Mr. Trump [sic] knows what he said and plans to use the footage in the next presidential campaign.
Trump doesn't have to use scare tactics against Ocasio-Cortez and a large slice of the Democratic Party who wish to impose socialism on the U.S. These self-admitted socialists can't defend themselves rationally because they know that Trump is right.
Here's a tweet sent by Bernie Sanders after the speech that illustrates perfectly the socialist's political dilemma.
Trump said tonight, “We are born free, and we will stay free.”— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) February 6, 2019
I say to Trump: People are not truly free when they can’t afford health care, prescription drugs, or a place to live. People are not free when they cannot retire with dignity or feed their families. #SOTU
Note that in order to respond to Trump, Sanders had to redefine the word "free." Now the American people need to be "truly free" — which means a total transformation of the American economy and society.
Trump's campaign theme to tar all Democrats with the socialist label will work for a variety of reasons. While younger voters — 18–29 — actually prefer socialism to capitalism, the rest of the nation remains totally unconvinced. And Trump's base of supporters is far more enthusiastic about defending capitalism than Democrats are in pushing socialism.
Another reason Trump playing the socialism card will work is that he will be allowed to define his opponents — up to 20 of them — any way he wishes. Imagine Trump attack ads scoring the Democratic Party as the party of socialism and late-term abortions. Whichever Democrat emerges from the primary scrum will already have those issues hanging around his neck. Needless to say: advantage, Trump.
Democrats won't talk about socialism openly. They will talk about "community." They will seek to redefine terms, just as Sanders did. But Trump has been blessed politically with the perfect illustration of the socialism menace. Venezuela will still be in chaos in two years, and Trump will use it as a primary example of what lies in store for America if we elect a Democrat president.