4 March 2020

Arwa Mahdawi: “When you think about hotbeds of socialism, Texas is not the first place that comes to mind. However, according to a CBS News/YouGov poll last month, 56% of Democratic primary voters in the Lone Star state say they have a positive view of socialism while only 37% have a favourable view of capitalism. It is a similar story in California; more Democrats feel positive about socialism than about capitalism. … [T]he poll reflects a step-change in US attitudes towards capitalism. It would be inaccurate to say that the US is embracing ‘socialism’, because the word has become amorphous: boomers associate it with Stalinism, millennials associate it with Scandinavia. In many ways, the S-word is a red herring. The country has not so much warmed to socialism as it has cooled on capitalism. This is hardly surprising when you consider how the latter has failed ordinary Americans. The poorest men in the US have the same life expectancy as men in Sudan. Maternal mortality more than doubled between 1991 and 2014. The middle class has shrunk. People are desperate for an alternative to an increasingly dismal status quo. … Honestly, I don’t know if the US is ready for a socialist president, but it may be more ready than it has been before.”