2.12.19 E.J, Dionne Jr.: Socialism Winning the Branding War

E.J, Dionne Jr.: Socialism Winning the Branding War

In a new piece for The Washington Post, columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. examines the new conversation about socialism, following the introduction of a Green New Deal resolution. Democrats like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are attempting to put a new spin on the word socialism. Dionne cites recent PRRI data showing that Americans have vastly different opinions on what the word “socialism” means. Respondents were offered two definitions of socialism: one described the role of government as controlling key parts of the economy, while the other described it as a system of government that provides citizens with health insurance and retirement support. Dionne writes, “You might say that socialism is winning the branding war: 54 percent said socialism was about those public benefits while just 43 percent picked the version that stressed government domination. Americans aged 18 to 29, for whom Cold War memories are dim to nonexistent, were even more inclined to define socialism as social democracy: 58 percent of them picked the soft option, 38 percent the hard one.”
Start Saving More, and Earlier

Former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) discusses a looming retirement crisis in a new piece for CNBC. Heitkamp writes, “Currently, almost half of all American families do not have any retirement savingsThat’s a time bomb waiting to go off, putting families across this country in jeopardy for generations and placing our economy at risk. The challenges are clear: More than one-third of all private sector workers do not have access to a workplace retirement plan.” In the article, Heitkamp urges American families to begin saving earlier – and more – for retirement. She notes that “by 2035, adults over the age of 65 will outnumber their children for the first time in history.” It’s not clear how families will be able to support these elders without retirement savings. “If we stay on trend,” Heitkamp writes, “America’s old-age dependency ratio in 2020 will be 3.5 working-age adults for every person of retirement age. By 2060, that ratio will fall to about 2.5 to one.”In a 2018 survey of California workers, PRRI found that one in five Californians who have not yet retired say they never expect to retire because they cannot afford to.
Stacey Abrams Calls for Focus on Voting Rights

“When Stacey Abrams delivered her rebuttal to the State of the Union address on Tuesday, she took President Trump to task for many problems. But her main focus was an issue even bigger than the president,” writes Eugene Scott in The Washington Post. In the speech, the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate made the case for expanding voting rights, arguing that the issue needs to be a priority for Democratic candidates. “We can do so much more: take action on climate change. Defend individual liberties with fair-minded judges. But none of these ambitions are possible without the bedrock guarantee of our right to vote,” she said in her response to the president’s State of the Union address. Scott points out that Abrams narrowly lost her race in 2018 and many feel that voter suppression may have played a role. Citing PRRI polling, Scott writes: “A 2018 poll by the Atlantic and Public Religion Research Institute found that nearly 10 percent of black and Hispanic voters were told they didn’t have the right identification to vote in 2016. About the same percent said they were told, incorrectly, that they weren’t listed on voter rolls.”
Where One Evangelical Trump Adviser Drew the Line

Throughout his presidency, President Donald Trump has maintained the support of white evangelical Protestants. Recent PRRI data shows that 76 percent of white evangelicals still believe President Trump is doing a good job. But at least one of Trump’s advisers in the evangelical world has publicly disagreed with him on several key issues. Georgia pastor and Trump adviser Jentezen Franklin spoke to The Hill about two places where he parted ways with Trump. Franklin said he disagrees with the president about his plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides protection from deportation to some undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. He says, “They’re in my church, they’re in my family, they’re in my life, they’re in my home with my kids, friends. I care about these kids.” Franklin also said he wasn’t aligned with the president’s response to white supremacist protests in Charlottesville. “I’ve actually had conversations with the president about Charlottesville, and we were in total disagreement,” he said. Though there may be some areas of discord, Trump can likely continue to count on white evangelical Protestants’ votes, however. Evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr. recently said that there is “nothing” Trump could do to lose evangelical support.