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      Judi Lynn
      • Total Posts: 5,073

      On the stump, Trump claims that socialism would turn America into Venezuela. In private, he reportedly fears its appeal.

      SEPTEMBER 9, 2019

      In public, Donald Trump and the Republican Party have been throwing around the term “socialism” as if it were electoral kryptonite. There was Trump’s op-ed of “open-borders socialism,” the State of the Union address in which he trashed socialism for an applause line, and seized on the economic collapse of Venezuela as evidence that the politics of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would turn America into a car-less, childless, hamburger-bereft future.

      In private, however, Trump apparently fears that this socialism thing could have legs. The Daily Beast reports that the president has been privately telling confidants for months that progressive, populist-tinged proposals like student-loan forgiveness and Medicare for All—or, as he allegedly calls it, “free stuff”—could threaten his prospects in 2020, and that running against “socialism” might get tricky:

      According to a person who was in the room, Trump told donors at a recent private event that though “a lot of people think it’ll be easy to beat [in 2020],” the “truth is, it might not be so easy.” The president, according to the source, said that “you can have someone who loves Trump, but many people love free stuff, too.” He added that if candidates tell Americans, especially young voters—that they’re going to cancel their debt, “that’s a tough one” to run against.

      It might be an uphill battle—especially with younger voters who don’t remember the Cold War. According to a poll from PRRI, 54% of Americans view socialism as a benevolent government that “provides citizens with health insurance, retirement support, and access to free higher education,” while only 43% said that a socialist government “controls key parts of the economy, such as utilities, transportation, and communications industries.” Millennials, after all, are more likely to associate socialism with Nordic paradises like Sweden than secret police and gulags. In a Gallup survey earlier this year, 58% of younger voters, ages 18 to 34, said that socialism was “good [for] the country.” They were also generally in favor of what Trump might define as “free stuff”: 60% wanted government-run health care, and 57% wanted the government to take responsibility for higher education.


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