Does America actually want socialism?

In the last couple of presidential elections, many pollsters have been embarrassingly poor at reading the American public. One pollster, however, has had an amazing career. After proving to be America’s most accurate national poll in the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 presidential elections, IBD/TIPP did it again in 2020. IBD/TIPP has now been the most accurate in each of the last five cycles of presidential elections.

However, IBD/TIPP doesn’t just ask Americans about their presidential preference. They do surveys on many topics. Each survey uses the same scientific methodology that has proven to be so accurate for them. Their latest poll asked respondents whether they agreed or disagreed with the following simple statement: “The United States is evolving into a big government socialist state.”

By 51% to 31%, Americans agreed that the US is moving toward socialism. Among the rest, 18% said they were “unsure”. The poll had a margin of error of +/-2.8 percentage points.

How is it possible for the most economically successful country in the history of the planet to turn to the economic model of repeatedly failed socialism? The simple answer may be human nature.

Human beings, regardless of geography, culture or time in history, have an unwavering desire for change. Clothing styles come and go. Hairstyles come and go. Religious beliefs sweep across an entire continent, only to be replaced over time by some contrary belief. The only constant is change.

Americans, in particular, are funny. The four-year-old family car can run perfectly, has no visible dings or dents, and most importantly, is fully paid for. However, someone in the family sees a newer model, determines that it is more attractive, and insists on trading it in, usually at great cost. It is human nature to want change, regardless of the consequences.

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Perhaps the best commercial example of this phenomenon is the iPhone. Every time Apple announces that a new iPhone is available, literally millions of people ditch their previous model because they “have to” have the latest and greatest. I often ask my excited friends what the new model can do that their existing phone can’t, and more often than not, they can’t answer. They just know there’s a new one and they want it.

So it is, apparently, with the American public. The US standard of living far exceeds most of the world. Grocery stores have nothing but cereal. Another 100-foot aisle has nothing but soda options. Still, another is stuffed with fries. America is literally the land of plenty. You won’t find this variety of options in socialist countries.

Our country was also founded on the idea that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed, but it is tied to personal responsibility. If someone is willing to work hard and can bounce back from life’s inevitable knocks, most Americans have a chance to do better than their parents. Some succeed beyond their wildest dreams.

Yet despite two decades of parental investment of love, time, money and whatever the latest fashion is, what do almost all teenagers do? Wife like her parents don’t know anything, they don’t understand her and then she insists on changing as much as she can. This change may include moving to another city. It can include school or the military. It can show up in body piercings or tattoos. Unfortunately, youthful insistence on change can include the use of drugs or alcohol.

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A young adult wanting to make his own way is perfectly natural. What is perplexing, however, is that in his drive for self-determination, he often fails to recognize all the good his parents have provided. The adolescent’s insistence on change, primarily for the sake of change, often ends in disaster. Bad choices can overcome their own path, but this can be a path of destruction.

So it is with the march of the American public towards socialism. Just like the teenager who doesn’t recognize that while mom and dad may not be perfect, they contributed a lot and continue to have a lot to offer, the American public seems to have couples over all the benefits that capitalism has contributed. It’s not the perfect model, and sometimes people can be victims of unfair circumstances, but capitalism has provided the greatest opportunity for the greatest number of people. The proof is in the pudding.

In America, cell phones are the norm for 10-year-olds! The high school parking lots are full of student cars. Parents pay exorbitant fees for their children to play in the high school band, play travel baseball, or participate in a music academy. Mom and Dad spend thousands to straighten their teeth and stock up on the latest styles of clothing.

The wrong change, however, is clearly on the menu. Like the immature teenager escaping the perceived yoke of his parents, America is somehow falling prey to the idea that capitalism is unjust and that socialism is the answer. History tells a very different story.

What is particularly interesting is that the IBD/TIPP survey referenced above asked a related question. The response painted an alarming but clear picture of the difference between America’s political parties. The question was whether “the government should control or own key industries such as health care and energy.”

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Among Democrats, 55% supported the idea and only 30% opposed it. The government should take over these industries. By contrast, only 26% of Republican voters supported the concept and 64% opposed it. As a side note, most independents also opposed government takeovers of industries.

The point is that Democrats don’t just think America is going socialist, they’re actually encouraging it. When pressed to give an example of where government works better than private industry, socialist supporters are dumbfounded. Does the post office work better than private carriers? Does the VA offer better health care than other options? Almost all government programs, no matter how well-intentioned, are fraught with bloat, waste, and inefficiency, but Democrats want more.

America cannot march blindly toward change just for the sake of change. When we look at teenagers who don’t like what their parents have sacrificed and achieved, it seems obvious to everyone else. It should be so obvious that America has provided great opportunity and unparalleled prosperity to hundreds of millions of people. Socialism does not.

Fortunately, in the case of wayward young adults, after flirting with alternative approaches to life, some eventually return to the values ​​instilled by mom and dad. We hope our nation can do the same. Flirt with socialism if you must. Check it out, but look at its downsides and realize that it’s simply not a viable alternative to what we’ve always enjoyed in America. Freedom and prosperity.

  • Tim Constantine is a columnist for The Washington Times.


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