Ferocious Debate Over Socialism Plagues Democrat Primary

A fierce debate over socialism has erupted among Democrats, with several centrist presidential candidates warning that progressive proposals on health care and the environment that have dominated the primary are a surefire way to get President Trump reelected.

Three low-polling contenders — former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Sen. Michael Bennet (Colo.) and former Rep. John Delaney (Md.) — are unloading on socialism or taking shots at “Medicare for All” and the Green New Deal, which have gone mainstream in the Democratic Party since being embraced by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), as well as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.).

Hickenlooper and Delaney made waves with their warnings about socialism and Medicare for All at the California Democratic Party convention over the weekend in San Francisco, where they were booed mercilessly by the liberal crowd.

Now they’ve become targets for the party’s energized left wing, including Ocasio-Cortez, who encouraged Delaney to “sashay away” from the race after he said that Medicare for All would result in hospital bankruptcies and cost 150 million Americans access to health insurance.

But the centrists are doubling down and warning that a leftward lurch toward socialism could cost Democrats the White House in 2020.

“If we put socialism on the ballot in 2020, that sounds very risky to me,” Delaney said in a Monday phone interview with The Hill. “The lesson from 2018 is very clear. We flipped the House with moderate candidates. You can’t argue that point. The seats we flipped were with problem solvers, not with litmus test ideologues. We win when we put forth problem solvers who run in the center.”

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[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Jonathan Easley and originally published at The Hill. Title changed by P&P.]



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