WASHINGTON — Democrats bristle, but Republicans have successfully framed the 2020 election as a struggle against socialism — an ideology that not one Democratic contender says they advocate.
President Donald Trump set the table in his State of the Union speech when he declared that “America will never be a socialist country.” He has reiterated the warning over and over since then, most recently on Saturday, when he set off thunderous applause at a major conservative gathering by depicting a push toward “total domination” by government.
“Socialism is not about the environment. Socialism is not about justice. Socialism is about only one thing, it’s called power for the ruling class. Look at what’s happening in Venezuela,” he said at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. “The future does not belong to those who believe in socialism.”
Democrats call the comparison ridiculous and inflammatory. Embracing a more expansive social safety net, they say, is fundamentally different from the autocratic socialism practiced in Cuba, Venezuela or the former Soviet Union.
In Texas last year, 11-term Dallas congressman Pete Sessions tarred challenger Colin Allred as a socialist, but to no avail. Allred handily unseated him, 52-46.
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