Capitalism? Socialism? For Democrats, It’s Really Bernie vs Donald.

Gallup has a new poll out showing that Democrats now feel more favorably toward socialism than capitalism. But a few folks have pointed out that this isn’t due to increased warmth toward socialism; rather, it’s due to a sudden distaste for Trump-era capitalism. This is true as far as it goes, but the full story is a little more complicated. Here it is:

Approval of socialism took a sudden smallish jump in 2016. This was presumably the Bernie effect, which persisted but didn’t increase this year. But Bernie had zero effect on support for capitalism. The warmer attitude toward socialism was purely a personal thing.

Likewise, this year’s drop in support for capitalism didn’t improve the outlook for socialism, Alexandria Ocasio-Sanchez notwithstanding. Once again, it appears to be more a gut reaction to what Republicans and Trump are doing with tax cuts and the economy generally.

That’s my take, anyway. For Democrats, this isn’t the sharp ideological choice that it is for Republicans—who almost unanimously approve of capitalism and hate socialism. Basically, a fair number of Democrats like Bernie, whatever he calls himself, and hate the Republican version of the economy, whatever they call it. That’s really all these numbers mean.¹

¹So far.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate