Lowry points out key problem for Democrats who aren’t socialists

Rich Lowry‘s latest Politico column offers condolences to Democratic Party leaders.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, miraculously transformed over the past few months into a relatively moderate Democratic elder stateswoman, has understandably been pushing back against the notion that she leads a socialist party defined by a few radicals in the House.

On 60 Minutes, she stalwartly declared: “I do reject socialism as a economic system. If people have that view, that’s their view. That is not the view of the Democratic Party.” She dismissed the left-wing members in her caucus as, “like, five people.”

In a speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer expressed the same sentiment, telling the crowd that there are 62 Democratic freshmen, “not three.”

In sheer numbers, this is true. But it’s the wrong way to count.

The problem Democrats have is that the most compelling stars of the party are self-described socialists with a knack for generating controversy and media attention, and with committed mass followings. Pelosi might wish it weren’t true, but poll numbers, fundraising and follower-counts don’t lie. …

… It’ll be much harder to maintain that the Democratic Party isn’t a party of socialists if it nominates one as its presidential candidate, which everyone paying attention realizes is a real possibility.

If that happens, it won’t be the work of conservatives hoping to negatively brand the Democrats, but of the party faithful. The same goes for the prominence of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It is often said that conservatives are “obsessed” with her; maybe so, but the same is true—and probably more so—of everyone else.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...