During a conference in Austin, TX Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott warned listeners about the renewed interest in socialism in the U.S. and dismissed the idea of a blue wave flooding Texas in the upcoming general elections.
“What is it with all these new candidates who are socialist coming out of nowhere? You know, we used to thought [sic] that Bernie Sanders was the crazy uncle in the attic,” Abbott said.
“Now we have these people like this candidate who won this seat, this congressional seat in New York, and others who are coming out with very socialistic policies,” he commented, referring to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who unseated Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley in the New York Democratic primary.
However, the governor says he is confident that Texas will not experience a blue wave in the coming months.
“Texas is going to stay red,” Abbott said.
Nonetheless, commentators argue that many voters don’t understand the history behind socialism as the reason why they are supporting it.
"That Democrats and millennials seem to have no idea about the horrors inflicted on the masses in countries like the Soviet Union and want to go in that direction is scary indeed,” writes Karol Markowicz.
“Let’s just hope the majority of Americans reject that idea. There won’t be anywhere to get off to if we don’t.”
However, Democratic Socialists of America member and chapter co-founder Kelley Rose told NPR in July that religion was one of the major reasons she was drawn to socialism.
“I might be the only one in our little chapter that is a Christian, and it all just fits so perfectly together for me, things that I’ve always thought anyway along with my values morally and religiously,” Rose said.
“Possibly my mother would want to debate me on this, but if anyone was ever a socialist it was Jesus.”
The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) website states that the organization is “committed to democracy as not simply one of our political values but our means of restructuring society.”
“Our vision is of a society in which people have a real voice in the choices and relationships that affect the entirety of our lives. We call this vision democratic socialism — a vision of a more free, democratic and humane society.”
However, critics say the organization is “working its way into the Democratic Party in part because of its failure to advance its own brand with a voting public reflexively suspicious of hard-left socialist policies,” writes Elizabeth Llorente.
“Whatever the numbers, it’s become trendy for Democratic Party candidates to align themselves with Democratic Socialists… And the Democratic establishment, feeling the pressure to perform well in this year’s midterm elections, doesn’t seem terribly concerned about the DSA’s efforts to push the party even further left.”
In contrast, E.J. Dionne Jr. writes that he believes the recent victory for Ocasio-Cortez does not signal a complete shift to the left.
“Yet to use her victory as a prelude to a radical takeover of the Democratic Party badly misreads what has been happening. In Democratic primaries this year, more moderate candidates have done well,” he said.
“But Ocasio-Cortez and, if I may use the word, her comrades are shaking up politics in constructive and promising ways. For this moderate social democrat, that’s a cause for cheer.”