Relax: The ‘Socialists’ aren’t invading



February 21, 2019 - 10:02 AM

Judging from the dire warnings emanating from Republicans, the Cold War didn’t end when the Berlin Wall fell. Boy, will historians be surprised.

For example, witness President Donald Trump declaring during his State of the Union address, “Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country” — a vow that echoed the Red scares of the 1950s and ’60s. Or take the reaction from Trump’s campaign committee after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a self-described democratic socialist, announced Tuesday that he would run again for the White House: “Bernie Sanders has already won the debate in the Democrat primary, because every candidate is embracing his brand of socialism.”

The rhetoric is strategic. Trump wants the public to see his opponents in Congress as well as the 2020 election not as mainstream politicians, but as un-American extremists who support a system defined by “government coercion, domination and control.” But it ignores history and devalues what socialism actually entails, and it discourages people from engaging in a debate we ought to have about the right role for government in American society.

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