Is Socialism the New Capitalism?


A recent poll from Iowa shows that more than half of registered Democrats in the state are comfortable with their party’s 2020 candidate favoring socialism over capitalism. The poll conducted among registered Democrats has risen from the 43% from the last time it was taken during the 2016 Presidential cycle.

The debate over Capitalism vs. Socialism in the Democratic Party has gained traction over the last several years as the party’s front-runner, Bernie Sanders identifies himself as a “Democratic Socialist.” Senator Sanders identifies as an “Independent” when he’s in the Senate, but in order to run as a Democrat, he had to register as one.

The poll conducted by the Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa shows that 15% would be “very satisfied,” and 41% be “mostly satisfied.” Over the past couple weeks, there have been several candidates on the Democratic side who have distanced themselves from the capitalistic system. 

Former Colorado Governor and Democrat John Hickenlooper was one of the first to do so. In a recent interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough asked Hickenlooper if he would describe himself as a capitalist, and Hickenlooper responded: 

“I don’t think most Democrats care about labels.”

The second candidate to shy away from capitalism was Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren. In an interview during Austin’s South by Southwest festival, she said:

“I believe in capitalism, I see the wealth that can be produced, but let’s be really clear, encouraging companies to build their business models on cheating people – that’s not capitalism.”

John Delaney, a former Democratic House Representative running for President is the third candidate to criticize capitalism, saying: 

“We need a more just form of capitalism.”

The more just form that Delaney is talking about involves the government getting more involved in issues like healthcare, the minimum wage, and climate change to name a few topics.

The increase in socialist ideas throughout the Democratic Party should be no surprise as many of the  newer elects are members of the Democratic Socialist of America (DSA). Chief among the several members is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the popular freshman Congresswoman from New York City.

Members of the DSA believe in Universal Medicare for all, using government to get involved in climate change solutions (the Green New Deal), and criminal justice among others.

Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC as she is often referred, proposed a “Green New Deal” to confront the effects of climate change. 

The 2020 Iowa Democratic Caucuses are set for February 3rd, 2020. Until then, all we can do is wait and see what ideas will take stock and who will lead the charge for Democrats.