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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 2/14/20

Socialism vs. Capitalism? It's a Mixed Economy, Stupid!

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Socialism and Capitalism Exist Side By Side
Socialism and Capitalism Exist Side By Side
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Blabbermouth faux liberal pundit Chris Matthews has a real problem with Bernie Sanders. So does former Bill Clinton advisor, James "Ragin' Cajun" Carville, who coined the term, it's "the economy, stupid!"

On a recent MSNBC show, Matthews compared Bernie Sanders political ideology to that of Venezuela and Cuba, warning that Bernie is one step away from becoming Fidel Castro and turning the U.S. into some kind of totalitarian nightmare.

Carville, who perhaps has been listening a little too attentively to his right-wing pundit wife, Mary Matalin, goes as far as to say that he is "scared to death" about Sanders and that the Democratic party will turn into a "cult" if Sanders is elected.

They are both wrong, of course, and shame on them for giving Donald Trump more talking points for the upcoming election. But in a way, they have done Bernie Sanders a favor because they have made it clear that if mainstream Democrats like them don't understand (or don't want to understand) the difference between socialism and capitalism and a mixed economy, then many Americans won't either. And this plays conveniently into the hands of Donald Trump and his corporate fascist backers and ditto-head followers.

Unfortunately, Bernie and his supporters could be doing a little better job of explaining that our country-- as well as the countries in Europe-- has a mixed economy that uses both socialistic and capitalistic systems.

In fairness, regarding the economy, Bernie has publicly stated on more than one occasion, "I don't believe the government should control the means of production." In addition, he gave a great speech at George Washington University in 2015 about what Democratic Socialism means to him and how it is a continuation of the New Deal set forth by FDR. In the speech he underscores that "every American, regardless of his or her income, is entitled to:

  • The right to a decent job that pays a living wage
  • The right to quality health care
  • The right to a complete education
  • The right to affordable housing
  • The right to a clean environment
  • The right to a secure retirement"

I encourage everyone to read this speech in its entirety, but of course, most Americans won't because they are either too lazy or too busy watching Fox News or listening to mainstream sellouts like Matthews or Carville. So it's up to the Sanders organization to put together a short elevator speech that the mass public can comprehend quickly.

It would go something like this: In a capitalist society private enterprise runs the show. In a socialist society the government runs the show. In a mixed economy, both elements exist side by side, and it's just a question of balance.

The Sanders supporters should then go on to explain that in the U.S. we have many socialistic elements in our society, like Social Security, Medicare, public schools, etc. So do European countries. The only difference is that European countries like France, for example, place a heavier emphasis on the socialistic side of the scale. Case in point: the French government-run health care system (which is ranked best in the world) as opposed to our private-run system, which costs twice as much per person and leaves many individuals bankrupt.

At this point, Sanders supporters would go into the details of their Medicare for All plan and how all Americans would benefit. The important thing for them to remember is to keep using the buzzwords MIXED ECONOMY. Use them often and relentlessly and forcefully. For example, when some smartass pundit asks them whether the American people will vote for Bernie Sanders because he has "a socialist agenda," they should laugh and say, "Oh, c'mon, everyone knows Bernie is in favor of a MIXED ECONOMY." And then proceed with their elevator speech.

Soon the pundits will catch on and start writing articles explaining the features of a MIXED ECONOMY, which is what they should have been doing all along. As a result, this will defuse the "socialism stigma" and change the negative word association in people's minds. For example, today when many people hear the word socialism, they automatically think communism, which creates an image of a leader like Castro or Stalin.

Thus a new word association needs to be created, so when voters hear the word socialism, they immediately think MIXED ECONOMY, which creates an image of someone like Bernie Sanders. Along the way, the Sanders supporters should start using words like "corporate fascist" against Trump and explain how capitalism has been hijacked by the oligarchs and exploited by the upper one- tenth of one percent of the population. Then build a new word association, i.e., trickle down capitalism leads to corporate fascism, which leads to Donald Trump, who is already using the term "socialist" to poison the well on any Democrat running for president.

The good news is, there is still plenty of time left before the election for Bernie supporters to explain these important distinctions and create a new lexicon of word associations, just like Republicans have been doing for years. Remember their "death taxes" instead of estate taxes? Or "class warfare" instead of taxing the rich?

Gore Vidal once observed that the American public's collective memory is about two weeks. So it's not too late for the Sanders organization to take control of the narrative of their candidate and save our country from the tyranny of Donald Trump. And they must show no mercy! And go for the jugular! The Democrats tried to bring him down playing by the rules, but they failed. Now Trump is more dangerous than ever, a wounded animal out for revenge. And we all know there is only one way to bring down a wounded animal.

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John F. Miglio is a freelance writer and the author of Sunshine Assassins, a dystopian political thriller. His articles have been published in a variety of periodicals, including Los Angeles Magazine and LA Weekly. His most recent articles (more...)

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