CNN is calling out Democrats running for president in 2020 who are dodging questions about their views on capitalism, theorizing it’s a mistake that may help elect President Trump to a second term.
CNN’s John Avlon broke down the issue in a “Reality Check” segment Tuesday when he singled out two candidates who both recently refused to discuss the foundational concept of American freedom.
“You know what shouldn’t be a tough question for someone running for president? It’s this: Are you a capitalist?” Avlon said. “It’s a layup. Basic stuff, rooted in American history and culture. And yet, Democratic candidates seem to get spun around the axle on this one, and in the process, only helping Donald Trump’s re-election.”
The pundit pointed to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who became tongue-tied earlier this week when confronted by MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough about his thoughts on capitalism.
Despite Hickenlooper’s success as a businessman that propelled him to mayor of Denver and the governorship, the 2020 hopeful refused to answer the question on three occasions during the interview, Avlon noted.
In one exchange, Hickenlooper laughed nervously when Scarborough asked him point blank: “Would you call yourself a proud capitalist?”
“Oh, I don’t know. … The labels, I’m not sure any of them fit,” the governor said.
Scarborough simplified the question to “Do you consider yourself a capitalist?” but the response was the same.
“Again, the labels,” Hickenlooper sidestepped, “you know, I’m a small business person …”
The third attempt was equally unsuccessful.
Avlon shared his take.
“Look, I co-founded a group called ‘No Labels’ a while ago, but that’s ridiculous,” he said. “Hickenlooper seemed afraid of angering Bernie bros and social media mobs, but the man was a centrist Democratic governor. He helped flip a red state blue. It’s the basis of his campaign, and it’s nothing to apologize for.”
Other 2020 Democratic candidates are also using a new found aversion to labels to evade the question about capitalism, despite the reliance on identity politics as the foundation for progressive policies.
Tulsi Gabbard, a second term Democrat representative from Hawaii, also danced around the question when confronted by CNN’s Dana Bash.
“So what about capitalism? Are you a capitalist?” Bash questioned.
“See, here’s the thing with all these labels, and as you said how they’re used to define people and where they’re coming from. But as you see, so many of these labels are misused, misunderstood to the point where people have no idea what they even mean anymore.”
Avlon offered supporting evidence in the form of a Gallup poll from last fall that shows large percentages of Americans don’t understand what socialism is.
That poll showed only about 17 percent of Americans correctly identified socialism as the government ownership or control, while 23 percent believe it means “equal standing for everybody, all equal in rights, equal in distribution.”
About a quarter of Americans couldn’t provide an answer, while 6 percent believe socialism refers to “talking to people, being social, social media, getting along with people.”
Gallup compared those results to results from the same questions in 1949, during the height of the Cold War, when 34 percent of Americans correctly identified socialism, and only 12 percent believed it relates to “equality.”
A more recent Harris poll shows young Americans are particularly enamored with socialism, which jibes with the popularity of freshmen socialist members of Congress and their proposed Green New Deal.
World Socialist Web Site celebrated:
According to the poll, which was conducted in February 2019, 61 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 (born after 1995) view socialism in a positive light. Furthermore, 73.1 percent of Millennials, … born between 1980 and 1994, and Generation Z, those born after 1995, believe the government should provide universal health care, and 67.1 percent think college should be tuition free.
“But Americans know what capitalism is, after America’s basically been a liberal capitalist Democracy since our founding,” Avlon concluded. “We’ve had presidents who have expanded the social safety net and others who have expanded the free markets, but all exists within the framework of capitalism. And for all its flaws, it’s been far more successful in expanding freedom and prosperity than any of the alternatives.”