John Edwards had a favorite catchphrase when on the campaign trail, often citing “two Americas” in a bid to woo the lower and middle classes.
The man famous for his $400 haircuts apparently thought he could champion the proletariat with a fifty-cent “eat the rich” narrative as old as time itself. While applauded by the media at the time, the strategy fell flat with voters; turned out America wasn’t quite ready for a European-style class war.
But perhaps Edwards was simply ahead of his time. While his us-versus-them shtick was textbook socialist nonsense, Americans today do seem to reside in two different worlds: one in which the majority recognizes reality, and one in which a very vocal, and potentially violent, minority seems intent on repeating some of modern history’s most egregious mistakes.
Consider the recent primary in New York’s fourteenth congressional district, in which proud citizens of the Second America chose a 28-year-old socialist to represent the Democrats in November.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn’t just beat ten-term Congressman Joe Crowley—she destroyed him by 15 percentage points, despite being outspent ten-to-one.
Not surprisingly she’s become an overnight media messiah, and though she has yet to secure office (which she almost certainly will—a Democrat has won the fourteenth district in the previous nine elections), she’s being hailed as the new face of the party.
Desperation, it seems, is the Democrats’ new platform.
The fact that Ocasio-Cortez is a socialist is one thing, but a 28-year-old socialist? Come on! I understand the Dems’ need for new blood, but shouldn’t New York congressional candidates have at least some relevant life experience before setting off for D.C.?
Perhaps I could be persuaded of the power of youth had I not come across Ocasio-Cortez’s platform, which includes: Medicare for all; tuition-free colleges and trade schools; a “universal jobs guarantee” (your guess is as good as mine); housing for everyone; and 100% renewable energy portfolio by 2035.
Leave it to a millennial to make Bernie Sanders look like Barry Goldwater. While such policies are laughable in any context, they are particularly absurd in light of the nation’s current economic rocket ride.
America’s economy is experiencing a once-in-a-generation boom, and the stratospheric numbers littering the headlines are almost entirely the result of a significant tax cut and massive deregulation, i.e., good old-fashioned capitalism.
Unemployment is under 4 percent (and at record lows among blacks and Hispanics); GDP growth for the second quarter may well exceed 4.5 percent; the markets remain strong despite talks of a trade war; wages are rising; and American companies are investing in infrastructure and employee training and repatriating hundreds of billions of dollars from overseas.
It takes some real cojones to campaign on policies plagiarized from Hugo Chavez while Venezuela crumbles and the American economy is finally, once again, the envy of the world.
Of course, since Venezuela’s predictable demise America’s dialog-shifting socialists have adopted the “we meant Scandinavia” narrative, in which they claim they never intended to praise the nation now rocked by starvation but were all the time referencing socialism in northern Europe. Right . . .
But even that narrative too is now crumbling.
Unchecked immigration has resulted in fresh crime waves across much of Europe, yet Ocasio-Cortez is hellbent on repeating the same mistake on this side of the Atlantic. Not only did she travel to the border to protest immigrant detentions, but she is also openly suggesting we abolish our Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.
In other words she wants to forego border enforcement, much like Sweden not so many years ago. Now the Scandinavian paradise is struggling to contain not only the resultant crime, but also the economic repercussions.
The influx of immigration (and resultant pushback) and the region’s radical secularism are creating shortfalls that will make the Nordic safety net difficult, if not impossible, to maintain. Per Bloomberg:
“Sweden’s got a major supply and demand problem.
By 2025, its entire workforce is expected to grow by 207,000 people—yet it needs more than that number just to staff its fabled welfare state . . . Past precedents don’t bode well. The workforce rose by 488,000 between 2007 and 2017, with less than a third of that increase absorbed by the public sector.”
While Sweden will likely never suffer Venezuela’s fate, it will eventually have to grapple with the intersection of its generous immigration policies and even more generous welfare state. Its Nordic neighbors will no doubt one day follow suit.
And this is the vision of the fresh new face of the Democratic Party? I, for one, am not worried.
The “haves vs. have nots” narrative didn’t work well for Kerry and Edwards in 2004, nor for Edwards’ own Presidential bid in 2008. And while Ocasio-Cortez’s primary victory has provided a short, cheap high for a mainstream media desperate to rebut Trump’s success, I don’t suspect it will work well for Democrats this time around either.
Of course, Edwards was no socialist. But today’s Democrats are merely injecting his message with steroids, offering nothing more than manufactured division and a supposed solution in the form of the tired socialism that is bringing Venezuela to its knees and forcing faux-paradises such as Sweden to rethink the very economic model that Ocasio-Cortez is selling.
Don’t get me wrong: the American electorate can be easily swayed, and there may well come a day when Ocasio-Cortez’s message resonates across the country. But as it stands only one America is chugging along full steam on an economy that has rejected socialism at every turn.
And I seriously doubt a 28-year-old from New York can convince them there’s a better deal somewhere on the other side.