The specter of socialism is haunting the U.S. and it’s spooking the hell out of people on both sides of the aisle.
The threat of socialism has been haunting conservatives, in particular, ever since self-proclaimed democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won her primary against Democratic bigwig Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th Congressional district. In response, they’re beta-testing everything from rants to straight-up scams in an effort to debunk the appeal of universal equality.
Though Ocasio-Cortez is currently the most visible face of democratic socialism, its tenets are gaining traction in other parts of the Democratic Party. The platform put forward by Sen. Bernie Sanders during his 2016 presidential campaign, for example, has had a notable effect on the party’s politics, and candidates across the country are starting to embrace the socialist label even as some of the party’s centrist members are joining conservatives in an effort to put the brakes on their party’s leftward shift.
Members of the Democratic Socialists of America started agitating to abolish ICE, and within months, nearly a dozen Democratic lawmakers have signed on. Amid the DSA’s push for Medicare for all, 60 House Democrats formed a caucus in support.
Conservatives see what’s happening, and they’re starting to take action. And as the events of the last few weeks show, not everyone is willing to let social mores like “telling the truth” or “engaging in civil discourse” get in the way of their quest.
Here’s a brief recap:
Meghan McCain bugged out on "The View"
On Tuesday, Meghan McCain showed up to her job as a co-host on "The View" and yelled about how Venezuelans are starving under a socialist government.
“Name one country where socialism has ever worked,” she challenged. “Also every democratic socialist who is going on TV saying that it’s good needs to start paying 90 percent in taxes.”
“If you think the government is so good at spending money — it’s dangerous, it’s dangerous!” she continued. “It’s petrifying to me that this is being normalized!”
“Some of us do not want socialism normalized in this country,” she said before co-host Whoopi Goldberg cut her off to go to a commercial break.
The Daily Caller sent a correspondent to an Ocasio-Cortez rally and she was... convinced?
The right-wing outlet sent a correspondent to an Ocasio-Cortez rally in St. Louis over the weekend, where she was stumping for Democratic congressional candidate Cori Bush. She was horrified by what she heard.
“I just kinda wanted to see why the message was resonating,” Daily Caller Associate Editor Virginia Kruta told Fox News of the experience. “They talk about things that everybody wants, especially if like you’re a parent. They talk about education for your kids, healthcare for your kids, things that you want. And if you’re not really paying attention to how they’re going to pay for it, or the rest of that, it’s easy to fall into that trap, and say, my kids deserve this.”
“I was mostly uncomfortable,” she added.
A conservative website faked a viral interview with Ocasio-Cortez
A video posted by CRTV, which describes itself as “censor-free news,” posted a fake interview on Facebook, designed to make Ocasio-Cortez look bad by compiling out-of-context clips from a real interview that Ocasio-Cortez gave to Margaret Hoover on PBS. The post had over 2 million views as of press time and still has not been marked as satire. Allie Grills of CRTV, who appears in the video, later posted a justification, defending the right of conservatives to make jokes even if they’re not funny and denying the misleadingly edited footage was “fake news.”
Conservatives have pounced on Ocasio-Cortez for what they see as gaffes. Fox News, for example, ran a segment about a video that Ocasio-Cortez appeared in on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Twitter in which she says, “We’re going to flip this seat red” — which very well could have been a reference to the Democratic Socialists of America’s favorite color.
During the interview with PBS, Ocasio-Cortez did make a small mistake: She mischaracterized the way unemployment figures are calculated. Conservative media was quick to point out the relatively minor misstep. ““Isn’t it disturbing that the ‘future of the Democratic Party’ doesn’t know how the unemployment rate is calculated?” President Donald Trump, for his part, has repeatedly taken credit for the historically low black unemployment rate in way that’s not quite right, either.
“This girl. . . or whatever she is”
It’s not just the right-wing media denouncing Ocasio-Cortez: Rep. Ron DeSantis, a Republican from Florida, referred to her as “this girl. . . or whatever she is” while addressing supporters Tuesday.
“I am a Puerto Rican woman,” Ocasio-Cortez responded.
It was far from the first time Ocasio-Cortez was treated as a joke by more-senior, male politician. During her campaign against Crowley, Crowley turned down the opportunity to debate her, sending a surrogate instead. And after she trounced him, she says he refused to call her to concede.
Comey warns Dems: “Please, please don’t lose your minds and rush to the socialist left”
Though Comey’s joined the #Resistance through his opposition to President Donald Trump, he identified as a Republican until just a few months ago. He’s using his influence with the Dems to urge them not to “rush to the socialist left.”
A poll of the dumbest things Ocasio-Cortez has said
And in case you, the reader, have the urge to join in, the Daily Caller will let you vote on the “dumbest thing” that Ocasio-Cortez has said so far. The outlet ran the article yesterday, highlighting her platform and enabling people to decide for themselves which part, if any, of it they think is dumbest.
Meanwhile, membership in the Democratic Socialists of America is surging. The organization now has over 46,000 members, according to Fox News, and they just helped to to get a measure on the ballot in Los Angeles that would allow voters to choose to create a public bank, one that would provide lending options to low-income people that aren’t tied to Wall St. banks or payday lending companies.
Cover image: WICHITA, KA - JULY 20: James Thompson, Senator Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, wave to the crowd at the end of a campaign rally in Wichita, Kansas on July 20, 2018. Photo by J Pat Carter for the Washington Post.