Some say that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will be president someday.
Wrong. She’ll be premier.
The likely reason for that result is that “socialism” means something very different to older people than to younger ones. To grandpa it means the Soviet Union. To grandson it means Sweden. Although you would think a young Republican, at least, might use Venezuela as a reference point.
And the idea that even young Republicans might stumble into a momentous mistake due to historical myopia isn’t a comfort.
Interestingly, young Republicans are also by far the least likely age group on the right to support Trump — just 49/32 approve of him compared to support of 67 percent or greater in the older age groups. Which is weird because it’s the MAGA types who seem to have the biggest political crush on Ocasio-Cortez:
“I aspire to be the conservative AOC,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) told POLITICO. Gaetz, an outspoken 36-year-old in his second term who has achieved a measure of prominence as a highly visible Trump defender, said there’s just one problem with that aspiration: “I can’t dance for shit.”
“AOC has what I call ‘gameness’ or competitive heart — the combination of grit, determination, fighting spirit that you can’t coach,” Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, told POLITICO. “You either have it or you don’t, and she has it big league.”…
Ann Coulter, another early Trump believer, has become privately preoccupied with Ocasio-Cortez’s ability to command mass attention, according to a person close to the conservative commentator.
“Terrified is a good word,” said the person. “She’s terrified of her.” The person recounted a recent conversation with Coulter in which, “She was ranting about, ‘AOC’s going to be the next president even if she’s not old enough to run.’”
Eh, relax. It’s not like there’s any other data in this poll that would lead you to believe America is drifting towards socialism. Oh, which reminds me: Here are the results when people are asked whether they have a positive or negative reaction to the word “capitalism.”
Note the indies, never mind the Dems. Here’s what happens when you ask how strongly people favor having the government pursue policies that try to reduce the gap between wealthy and less well-off Americans (strongest support is at the top of the graph):
Indies are sky high again. Relatedly, when you ask if economic unfairness that favors the wealthy is a bigger problem for America or if overregulation that impedes economic growth is, the public splits 58/39. Independents split 68/28. The 18-24 age group splits … 76/21 on that question.
My favorite result in the poll also comes from that 18-24 age group. Ask them if they react favorably or unfavorably to “capitalism” and they divide 58/39. Ask them the same question about “socialism” and they split 61/35. America’s youth are actually slightly more favorable to socialism than to capitalism.
Like I say: Premier, not president.
The (relatively) hopeful view of the capitalism/socialism response is that righties have been so effective in defining garden-variety welfare-state liberalism as “socialism” lately that many young adults are really just in favor of the status quo. Keep Medicare and other entitlements, raise the minimum wage, and so on. They’re not asking for big-picture changes. The less hopeful view is that, whether due to left-wing or right-wing messaging (or both), the Overton window has moved and garden-variety welfare-state-ism is the *minimum* they’re thinking of. It’s a building block, not an endpoint.
Glad I’m already middle-aged and will be approaching death by the time we’re likely to reach full Venezuela. Exit question: What if medicine perfects age-extension over the next few decades and escape from socialist America via oblivion eludes me? Ah, well, we’ll all probably be liquidated in the revolution anyway. Whew.