The increasing popularity of this authoritarian ideology demands a strong, serious, sustained response from all who cherish our experiment in self-government.
Socialism is having a moment in America. Everyone knows about Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but the phenomenon goes much deeper. At the local level, self-identified socialists are running for office and winning, usually as Democrats, from Seattle and St. Louis to Milwaukee, Chicago, and New York. In many places across America, their electoral success is transforming what it means to be a Democrat. Meanwhile, the country’s most prominent socialist political organization, the Democratic Socialists of America, grew in membership ninefold from 2014 to 2019 and now has 50,000 members.
The danger, more immediate than it may appear, is that the socialist moment may become a sustained movement. For the past three years, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, where I work, has conducted a poll with YouGov to ascertain Americans’ preferred form of government.