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Unpacking Socialism Within the Democratic Party

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Political Science Professor Dorian Lassiter dives into the beloved political party of his parents, and his youth


First, I must preface this article with the disclaimer that this is NOT a  compare or contrast of America’s Democratic Party with its Republican Party. To be sure, each side has its own issues and perhaps that comparison-contrast article will be one I tackle in the future.

For now, this piece is designed as an up-close examination of what I, and millions of other Americans who once embraced the Democratic Party, now look upon with disdain. A disdain that stems from its penchant for adopting very anti-constitutional core values.

In the complex tapestry of American politics, the Democratic Party has long been associated with a broad spectrum of ideological beliefs. While it is not a monolithic entity, the party has seen an increasing embrace of extreme, and sometimes even radical policies in recent years, with some critics labeling these tendencies as being the party’s bent toward socialism. This article seeks to shed light on those socialist tendencies within the Democratic Party and explore the nuances of this political landscape.


The Evolution of the Democratic Party

To understand the socialist tendencies within the Democratic Party, it’s essential to recognize its historical evolution. The Democratic Party, founded in 1828, has undergone significant ideological shifts throughout its existence. Traditionally, it represented a coalition of diverse interests, often leaning towards liberalism but with room for conservative elements as well. However, the party’s platform has changed drastically over time to accommodate other, previously taboo policy ideas. This is particularly true regarding the party’s almost unilateral embrace of its now prominent socialist leanings.


Democratic Policies and Socialism

The Democratic Party’s shift towards socialist policies can be seen as a reflection of changing societal values within the party. Hotly contested issues such as healthcare reform, income inequality, and climate change have propelled many Democrats to embrace policies that are often associated with socialist ideals. For instance, the push for universal healthcare, often referred to as “Medicare for All,” reflects a commitment to providing a basic standard of healthcare to all Americans, akin to the principles of socialized medicine. The biggest issue, of course, is how such a system would be funded in perpetuity – issues that the party has yet to provide a suitable resolution for.


The Issue of Income Inequality

Income inequality has also become a central concern for Democrats. Proposals to increase the minimum wage, institute progressive taxation, and regulate corporate power are all seen as efforts to address the wealth gap, which aligns with socialist principles of wealth redistribution. This methodology of course fails to address the complete injustice of what amounts to robbing what the wealthier have worked hard to achieve and accumulate and giving it to the often lackadaisical, unmotivated, and uneducated masses that did nothing to earn it, or as some say, deserve it.


The Environment

Environmental policies are another area where the Democratic Party has often shown extreme socialist tendencies. The Green New Deal is touted by its champions as being a way to address climate change while creating jobs and ensuring social equity. This very radical plan has garnered support among the growing number of Socialist Democrats, despite concerns from the shrinking moderate element of the party and the fact that implementing it would cost more money than our country currently spends on defense, which is a number in the hundreds of billions of dollars – all without any reputable evidence that the intended changes would, in any way, positively affect the climate of our planet, even over hundreds of years.

This also says nothing to the fact that to date, none of the research shown by these socialist influencers within the Democratic party has even come close to rising to the level of demonstrating an actual human causation for climate change, or a human ability to affect our planet’s normal cyclical climate changes – the causality which most reputable scientists attribute current global climate change.


The Influence of the Party’s Socialist-Minded Leadership

Prominent progressive leaders within the Democratic Party have played a significant role in pushing for socialist-leaning policies. Figures like Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have championed policies that openly promote Socialism in the American government. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, has advocated for Medicare for All and free public college education – both very extreme socialist programs.

Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, has been a vocal proponent of the Green New Deal and has worked to advance policies that address economic inequality and the environment.

To summarize, the socialist tendencies within the Democratic Party reflect a shift in liberal-leaning American politics towards hotly contested socialist policies such as income inequality, healthcare, and climate change.

While the party encompasses a spectrum of often extreme ideological beliefs, the influence of socialism-focused leaders and the embrace of policies associated with socialist ideals have become much more prominent in recent years.


Traditional Democrats are not Dead!

However, there remains a shrinking, faction of the Democratic Party that still embraces the party’s once staunch progressive ideology. That faction continues to fight daily against the aggressiveness of the growing number of Democratic Socialists within its caucus.

Unfortunately, however, many others have opted just to abandon the Democratic ship altogether. Many of those traditional Democrats who were not happy with the direction the party was taking toward Socialism have opted to defect rather than fight. In increasingly large numbers they are fleeing from the party they once embraced and instead become Independents or Republicans.


The Defection and Conversion of True Democrats

People like Tulsi Gabbard, Kyrsten Sinema, and even Donald Trump, were once devout Democrats. But, like them, many from the left are recognizing the deterioration of the party. They are abandoning the sinking ship of socialist ideology that has encapsulated the party’s ideology. While cutting bait, most are declaring themselves Independents. By and large, they are trying to establish themselves as centrists against the increasingly polarizing political battlefield. Hoping to find some Constitutionally sound safe harbor before being dragged down with the sinking Donkey.

In fact, Democrats party-wide are defecting from the party at a rapidly increasing rate. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin is only the latest to announce he is considering switching parties before the 2024 election cycle.

However, nowhere is the stature of today’s Democratic Party determined better than through the well-publicized refusal of the current administration to provide Secret Service Protection for 2024 Democratic Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.


Who in Their Right Mind Would Deny Secret Service Protection to a Kennedy?

This article does an adequate job of explaining the complete issue.


In a nutshell, the issue pertains to how presidential candidates are granted Secret Service protection while campaigning. It’s a courtesy that, so far, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and his family have been denied.

The situation gets murky when we examine the criteria that have been established to determine guidelines for protection eligibility.


I’ve linked those guidelines here, directly from the website of the US Secret Service.


Also, I must stress the point that context is extremely important in this instance. That’s because, while the U.S. Secret Service actually provides the protection, they have no say regarding who is granted protection or who is denied. Every decision regarding candidate protection is made at the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas.

To restate, despite what the guidelines say, Mayorkas has the only say regarding protection.  That’s right, the entire decision is discretionary.


How This Translates to the Issue at Hand

That means that the DHS Secretary has the ability to authorize protection for any candidate whether they meet the criteria or not.

I must note that, according to the criteria spelled out on the Secret Service website, Mayorkas has sole discretion. There is also no debate that Kennedy does not meet the full criteria as a ‘major’ candidate. That’s because he has yet to hold 15% of the poll for more than 30 days. That is one of the criteria listed on the Secret Service website. However, it does warrant noting that this is the only criterion that Kennedy does not meet.


What Logical Reason Exists to Deny Protection?

That being said, considering the history of this candidate, rationalizing a denial becomes harder. I, as well as many others, believe the current administration is demonstrating a potentially lethal stance.


Why This Issue Is Such a Big Deal

Perhaps more importantly, that stance speaks to the value this administration and the party, place on human life. Particularly the lives of those who oppose it — even within its own political party.

This point is driven home by Kennedy’s infamous family history. It’s further compounded by the armed person who was recently arrested at one of his rallies.

For a party that touts itself as ‘for the people,’ you would think granting Kennedy’s request would be a no-brainer. Nevertheless, even after the recent invasion of his rally, Kennedy and his family remained without Secret Service protection.


The Inescapable Conclusion

When examining these factors, I come to only one logical conclusion.  Today’s Democratic Party values a set of ideologies that are opposed to those my family and I hold dear.

I believe this is demonstrable evidence that the Democratic Party has abandoned Americans who do not favor a socialist ideology. This is also the reason why I believe that we, along with most of America, are steadily abandoning it.

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