Democrats and the Difference Between Democratic Socialism and American Liberalism

I generally enjoyed watching the 2 debates of the Democratic candidates last week. One of the few things that really annoyed me though was when Hickenlooper said that Democrats have to avoid the “socialist” label if they are to compete with Republicans in 2020. The moderator in response correctly said that of the 20 candidates, only Bernie Sanders calls himself a Democratic Socialist. The moderator asked Hickenlooper what specific proposals does he think is socialist.

I’ve been a liberal Democrat all my life, and conservatives have tried to smear liberals with the “socialist” label for a long time. During the 1930s, for instance, conservatives called Franklin Roosevelt a “communist” even thought FDR’s New Deal saved capitalism during the Great Depression. During the 1950s, Senator Joe McCarthy tried to smear anyone who was Left of Center as communists, which severely inhibited political debate and ruined many people’s lives.

The only proposal that is championed by many of the Democratic presidential candidates that would accurately be labeled as “socialist” would be Medicare-For-All. But if you look at history, the goal of universal health care has been championed by both Republicans and Democrats for a long time. Teddy Roosevelt, for instance, had universal health care as one of the platforms of his run for President in the Bull Moose Party in 1912. Harry S Truman, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton all pursued plans for universal health care during their presidencies. During that time, both Democrats and Republicans believed in a mixed economy, which combined free markets with government programs to protect vulnerable citizens from the worst aspects of the free market economy.

I think it’s important for a democratic republic to have a healthy debate of ideas between the Left, the Right and the Center. Liberals shouldn’t be silenced from proposing liberal solutions for our country’s problems. Instead, liberals, moderates and conservatives should be free to express their ideas and debate the strengths and weaknesses of each idea.

About angelolopez

I’ve wanted to be an artist all my life. Since I was a child I’ve drawn on any scrap of paper I could get a hold of. When I went to San Jose State University, I became more exposed to the works of the great fine artists and illustrators. My college paintings were heavily influenced by the humorous illustrations of Peter De Seve, an illustrator for the New Yorker magazine. I also fell under the spell of the great muralists of the 1930s, especially Thomas Hart Benton and Diego Rivera. I graduated with a degree in Illustration. Angelo Lopez has had illustrations published in Tikkun Magazine, the Palo Alto Daily News and Z Magazine. From April 2008 to May 2011, Angelo's cartoons were regularly published in the Tri-City Voice, a weekly newspaper that covers the Fremont, Hayward, Milpitas, Neward, Sunol and Union City areas in California. He did a political webcomic starring his cartoon character Jasper for the progressive blogsite Everyday Citizen. Since December 2011, Angelo does a regular weekly political cartoon for the Philippine News Today, a Filipino American newspaper based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Angelo is a member of the Sunnyvale Art Club, and the Northern California chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. During the 1990s, he was a member of the part-timer workers SEIU unit in the city of Sunnyvale. Angelo won the 2013, 2015 and 2016 and 2018 Sigma Delta Chi award for editorial cartooning for newspapers with a circulation under 100,000. He has also won the 2016 RFK Book and Journalism Award for Editorial Cartoons. Angelo won first prize for the Best of the West contest in 2016 and third prize in 2017. Angelo is married to Lisa Reeber. They enjoy taking walks, watching movies and hanging out with their nieces.
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