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What is Democratic Socialism? - And Do You Support It?

Do you support democratic socialist policies?

by Countable | Updated on 2.20.19

What’s the story?

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a self-described “democratic socialist,” has announced he’s once again running for president.
  • At the same time, presidential contender Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has announced “I am not a democratic socialist.”
  • While the tenets of democratic socialism vary depending on whom you ask, because the largest (and most well-known) organization is the Democratic Socialists of America, we’ll use DSA to explain the term.

Policies the DSA supports

  • “Social and economic decisions should be made by those whom they most affect” with the end goal of meeting public needs instead of turning a profit.
  • Nationalizing the entire healthcare industry through a single-payer system (“Medicare for All”).
  • Ending “the influence of money in politics.”
  • Strengthening unions.
  • A federal jobs guarantee.
  • Abolishing ICE.
  • Restoring Glass-Steagall protections.
  • Free and legal abortions.
  • Tuition-free college.
  • Rent control because “housing is a human right.”
  • Equal rights and protections for all those who identify as LGBTQIA+, including rights to jobs, education, housing, and healthcare.
  • Restructuring “gender and cultural relationships to be more equitable.”

What is Trump saying?

  • During his State of the Union speech, Trump said that “here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country."
“We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country,” Trump told Congress.
  • Trump’s pledge drew chants of “USA!” from GOP lawmakers.
  • Trump’s admonition of socialism was tied to the political unrest underway in Venezuela, where the U.S. is siding with opposition leader Juan Guaido over President Nicolas Maduro.
  • “We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom—and we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair,” Trump said.
  • Numerous outlets also reported that Trump’s comments were meant as “a clear rebuke of a new generation of Democrats and socialists like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY),” as the right-leaning Washington Examiner wrote.

What do you think?

Do you support democratic socialist policies? Or do you share Trump’s pledge that “America will never be a socialist country”? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman


(Photo Credit: DSA)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(551)
  • Brian
    Voted Maybe
    02/20/2019
    ···

    I don't know if I believe that you have to be a Democratic Socialist to believe that healthcare, education, and a living wage should be available equally to all Americans. I think many on the right are crying, terrified of what they think is Socialism without knowing what that even means. Marxist Socialism and Democratic Socialism are different, and we all have a responsibility to educate ourselves before crying wolf. However, the ideals of electing leaders who are committed to the good of all, not just the good of the wealthy, is what we as Americans should all strive for. Anything less is not equal and is not just.

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  • Kari
    02/20/2019
    ···

    Social programs are the purpose of SOCIety. While everyone is panicking because of Cold War propaganda (socialism does not mean communism) the Right is turning our nation into a religious fascist dictatorship.

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  • Laurie
    Voted Yes
    02/20/2019
    ···

    There will always be taxes, fact. They should go to supporting the people of this country, not corporations. Regulations should govern things that effect our health, like pollutants, racism, safety in the work place. Not what consenting adults do in their bedroom, nor what a woman and her doctor decide about her health.

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  • JTJ
    Voted No
    02/20/2019
    ···

    No one has a “right” to the fruit of someone else’s labor. Whether it be healthcare, tuition, housing, abortion, child care, or food and water. Whatever you need in life, YOU have to work for it. Any philosophy or political position that opposes this fundamental truth is flat out EVIL.

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  • Matthew
    Voted Yes
    02/20/2019
    ···

    This isn’t socialism, they should stop branding themselves incorrectly. These policies are closer to those of social democrats

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  • James
    02/20/2019
    ···

    I’m just baffled by the fact that every November there’s elections that send people to stand for all the people in their district. These folks get 6 figure incomes and top rate insurance on the taxpayers dime, yet here we are fighting for a living wage and healthcare that’s affordable. It’s so backwards in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Let congress and the senate work 40 hour weeks at 7.25 an hour, let them have to pay for their own healthcare, let them try this for a 5 year period, see how fast things change.

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  • Tooluser1
    Voted No
    02/20/2019
    ···

    It is the poisonous, destructive doctrine that all good comes from government, and voluntarily transations between individuals amounts to oppression, therefore ALL transactions must be government controlled and involuntary. See Venezuela, the USSR, Turkey, and virtually all other failed states of the 20th and 21st centuries for more information. The chief products of socialism ("democratic" or otherwise) are: famine, death, disease, oppression, misery, poverty, and eventually civil war. You can vote your way into "Democratic Socialism" but you have to shoot your way *out*.

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  • Rick.Sanchez
    Voted Maybe
    02/20/2019
    ···

    I'm more of a Social Capitalist...probably the same thing with less rhetoric and more of a pragmatic view on how we get there. I'm all for a Medicare for all program knowing that private insurance will always be available to those with a lot of money. I went to college in the 70's and paid about $400 for a semester of school at a well known and respected state university. We CAN do this. It is not pie in the sky idealism stuff. It will NOT be without some sacrifice and some bumps, but it is absolutely the direction we have to fight to go in and fight hard.

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  • Ariel
    Voted Yes
    02/20/2019
    ···

    If you like the 40-hour work week and the idea of employee health benefits, sick leave, and unemployment benefits... If you don’t want to pay out of pocket for schools for your kids... if you like Sweden (not Russia) then you gotta love the good parts of socialism! Prior to organized labor and collective bargaining (unions) we were making minimum wage, people - oh wait, no, there was no minimum wage without socialism - and we were working without safety gear in the dirt clogged air and dangerous conditions of sweatshops, child labor, factory fires, etc etc. Look, I’m a capitalist TO AN EXTENT, but I’m not crazy enough to believe that “everything that makes a buck is good”. After all, it’s cheaper for a company to dump their pollution in the rivers and lakes than it is to dispose of it properly. It’s cheaper for a companies to burn oil, than to invest in sustainable energy. But that don’t make it GOOD... or wise in the long run. Capitalists - of which I am one - always say socialists want to kill the golden goose (business) but I have to say, corporations have proven time and time again, they are too busy worrying about quarterly profits to be managing the long term health of the country or the planet. If our businesses keep dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and the climate keeps getting hotter, the seas will keep rising, the hurricanes and droughts will keep coming stronger and stronger, and we - the capitalists - will be the ones who kill the golden goose!

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  • Lazer
    Voted No
    02/20/2019
    ···

    Adding "democratic" to socialism doth not "socialism" change. North Korea is called a "Democratic Republic", too. Socialism, in every form, has been tried and tried and tried again. It's killed millions upon millions of people, resulted in numerous incredibly bloody civil wars around the world, and currently has the country of Venezuela a lawless, bloody, homeless, starving dictatorship - the same Venezuela lauded endlessly less than a decade ago by American proponents of "democratic socialism". Socialism is pure evil. It is inherently based on the premise of stealing from those who work and giving it to everyone, thereby inherently devaluing and disincentivizing work, which subsequently can only result in all power and control resorting to a government that lives well above the rest of society. This is the ONLY way it can go. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez just moved in to an apartment no regular American can afford, in a community with zero so-called "affordable housing" units...despite affordable housing being a huge part of her platform. Now that she has her office, of course she's immediately flipping off every single one of her incredibly stupid constituents by taking a steaming dump on every incompetent and uninformed word she's ever vomited. Anyone who supports socialism, in any form, is both mentally ill and a thief. If a thief entered your home, you'd rightfully hit them over the head with a baseball bat. Anyone voting the money out of your wallet is doing the exact same thing as if they physically pull it out themselves. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about this. Bastiat wrote about this. This is nothing new. And these thieves should be treated to that exact same baseball bat, because theft is theft, no matter how many pretty bows you tie on it, what title you apply to it, or whether an individual or the government is behind it.

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  • Mark
    Voted No
    02/20/2019
    ···

    I am completely against “democratic socialism” and anything that looks or smells like it. No individual or government entity has the right to take away the fruits of my labor and distribute it to others. No matter how well intentioned. Our founders created a “constitutional republic” and it is as close to perfection we will come to as a form of human governance. In stark contrast “democratic socialism” inevitably leads to steep declines in every measure of a society, rationing, misery and the rise of evil dictatorships. Just look at Cuba and Venezuela for recent examples. As long as I am alive “democratic socialism” will not be foisted upon this nation.

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  • Jacob
    Voted No
    02/20/2019
    ···

    Their policies are unreasonable and unrealistic. Such a party weakens the state(nation) not strengthens it.

    Like (33)
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  • Miles
    Voted Yes
    02/20/2019
    ···

    Our systems are built to oppress. We need to even out the playing field

    Like (29)
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  • Mike
    Voted No
    02/20/2019
    ···

    It’s the same thing as socialism. Just look at what’s happening in Venezuela.

    Like (26)
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  • ManfromNebraska
    Voted No
    02/20/2019
    ···

    I am totally against everything the socialist stand for! And I can’t understand how they can be for most of the stuff they have listed. It’s amazing to see how foolish some people are. We live in the greatest country in the world. Why would we want to change to socialism which most of those countries are the worst countries in the world. They rule over there people with an iron fist. They kill their own people and torture them. There is no freedom in any kind of socialism.

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  • Ken
    Voted Yes
    02/20/2019
    ···

    I support policies that are fair and that actually help and not do harm to the majority of Americans. The policies we have right now favor the rich over the poor and the middle class. This must stop.

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  • Katherine
    Voted No
    02/20/2019
    ···

    Choosing yes or no is too cut and dried. Democratic Socialism is a term Bernie Sanders made up to justify his campaign to democratic voters. If you mean a blend of social programs that civilized Countries have adopted, such as healthcare and decent pension for the elderly (Social Security), I am for it. But it must be blended with Capitalism to be America. The problem I see is Capitalism has gone too far and brought the atmosphere ripe for corruption. We need not 100% of either Capitalism or Socialism. But a balance of both will keep both in check and keep America healthy.

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  • Jeff
    Voted Yes
    02/20/2019
    ···

    Our democratic Republic belongs to ALL the people, not just Corporations.

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  • Stewart
    Voted Yes
    02/20/2019
    ···

    Their policies are only viewed as unreasonable because of the baseless negative connotations associated with it. Stop using fucking Venezuela as the Socialist benchmark! Most of the first world are prosperous quasi socialist nations.

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  • Lucas
    Voted Yes
    02/20/2019
    ···

    Democratic Socialism is the way going forward, and I would appreciate the endorsement of candidates that champion these ideals.

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