Ezra Klein directs our attention to some startling polling data: For those under 30, capitalism is preferred by only 37% polled, with 33% opting for socialism. How is this possible, one would ask, if socialism has never truly been attempted in these United States? The last socialist candidate for president to win over 5% of the vote was Eugene Debs in 1912. In the Washington Post, Harold Meyerson attributes this to the attacks on the right against President Obama:
According to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and their ilk, Obama is taking America down the Socialist Road. As Benjamin Sarlin has noted on the Web site the Daily Beast, the talkmeisters of the right have linked a doctrine that never commanded much support in America to a president whose approval rating hovers around 60 percent and much higher than that among the young.
Rush and his boys are doing what Gene Debs and his comrades never really could. In tandem with Wall Street, they are building socialism in America.
So, the "whatever Rush, Beck, and Hannity hates, I'm a part of" mentality has, at long last, been socialism's saving grace in a country deeply skeptical of government as a general rule. One hopes, however, that those who either identify as socialists or are considering our system to be ill-equipped to handle environmental, educational, and societal woes understand what it takes to transition to such a system.