The idea is that socialist evangelizing won’t only convert skeptical voters. It’ll also bring back Democrats who stayed home in 2016. One fascinating finding from recent polling is that a clear plurality — if not outright majority — of 2016 Hilary Clinton voters preferred America move away from capitalism and towards socialism. This flies in the face of Clinton’s pitch to voters as someone who sought to “save capitalism from itself,” rather than — like her primary opponent Sanders — abandon that economic system all together.
While Trump suggests that running on socialism will cause Democrats to lose in 2020, research indicates that the opposite was true in 2016: had Clinton leaned into socialist policies, she may have turned out some of the many Democrats and progressives who stayed at home on Election Day, costing her several swing states by razor-thin margins. In particular, this includes a large share of young, black progressives — demographics with some of the highest favorability of socialism. Even Democratic Super PAC Priorities USA — far from Marxist propagandists — concluded that a populist economic message would be key to getting this vital group out to the polls.