We are all socialists now
There have been several articles recently all expressing the sentiment, in one form or another, that with the COVID crisis, “we are all socialists now.” Suddenly Reagan’s quip about the government not being the solution to the problem but rather being the problem itself, seems remarkably naive and out of place. Everyone from bank moguls to CEOs to construction laborers to myriad small business owners are rushing to the bosom of the Government seeking life-saving assistance in the face of an unprecedented disaster.
The Democrats get outflanked on the Left
But there is another even more curious development, and one that I and many others have foretold: Trump is maneuvering to the Left of Biden and the Democrats now in terms of government activism. His recent willingness to contemplate at least a temporary “Medicare for All” solution to the COVID challenges is making Biden and the Democrats’ call to reopen the Obamacare Exchanges look like the weakest of tea – especially as more and more people are losing the jobs they will need to pay for their ACA premiums.
Recently, Trump issued Executive Orders to get badly needed money in people’s hands while Congress dithered. This action, along with Trump’s insistence that the earlier $1200 COVID checks be issued with his name on them – shows a penchant for a kind of authoritarian socialism that we find in countries such as Belarus. It seems Trump may be OK with socialism as long as he gets the credit.
And it’s not just Trump. Mitt Romney made a huge splash when he called for simply sending out checks to everyone while Pelosi was moaning about moral hazard and wanting to means test the hell out of everything. Right-leaning populists like Justin Amash and Josh Hawley are way out in front of the dithering Democrats in terms of calling for speedy and direct government intervention to help working people.
Rather than providing a large fund for corporations, Amash supports giving $1,250 to each American adult and $500 to each child every month for the next three months, unless the lockdowns end sooner, at which point Congress can renew, modify, or discontinue the payments as it sees fit.
Yes, but what kind of Socialism?
So it seems that we are heading for some kind of socialism, but the question is: what kind of socialism will we have?
Will it be Bernie’s “Democratic” Socialism, which seeks to heal the world, unite all workers everywhere and build solidarity based on class and station, portraying the international elites and billionaires as the enemy of workers?
Or will it be Trump’s (and Bannon’s) “National” Socialism, which seeks to Make America Great Again, put America First and build solidarity based on national origin, race and religion, portraying immigrants and foreigners as the enemy of the American worker?
History is rhyming
Many are already saying that the economic earthquake we are facing will be on a par with that of the Great Depression of the 1930’s. And we are already seeing the battle lines being drawn between the Democratic Socialists and the National Socialists, similarly to what happened in Weimar Germany. The Reds were fighting the Brownshirts in the streets – similar to today’s MAGA crowds facing off against Antifa.
The original name of the German Nazi party was the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). The Nazis promoted a type of socialism, but only for German workers. Jews, immigrants and foreigners were not welcome. Under Trump I can definitely see a similar type of National Socialist movement spring up to defend “American” workers, with Muslims, immigrants and foreigners not welcome.
A taste of what is to come?
You may think that all this talk about Democratic Socialism versus National Socialism is far-fetched. Well, one of the Right’s most cherished attack lines against the Sanders Medicare For All plan is that it would also cover “every man, woman and child” in the US – including “undocumented” workers and immigrants. Facing a 60% overall favorability rating for M4A, with even a 53% approval rating among working class Republicans, Bannon and Miller’s propaganda machine had to find a wedge issue, something to force a crack in that massive majoritarian support, and the provision for immigrants fit their needs perfectly.
The argument goes along the lines of: “OK, OK, I can possibly see adopting a universal single payer health insurance system, but certainly NEVER when it also covers “Non-Americans”.
There you have it, in a microcosm: Democratic Socialism versus National Socialism. Let’s hope that this time the good guys win.
EuroYankee is a dual citizen, US-EU. He travels around Europe, writing on politics, culture and such. He pays his US taxes so he gets to weigh in on what is happening in the States.