11 quotes from US politicians who are not fans of socialism

Tuesday saw one of the most surprising political results in American history as 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated veteran Democrat Joe Crowley in the party's congressional primary in New York City.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez, who is of Puerto Rican descent, is a former Bernie Sanders volunteer and describes herself as a socialist Democrat. She was also the first person from the part to challenge Crowley in 14 years.

She received a huge amount of support from the ethnic minority districts in the Bronx and Queens, receiving 42.5 per cent of the vote from that particular demographic, winning with an overall 57.5 per cent of the vote.

According to BBC News, Crowley had been tipped as a potential leader for the Democrats in the future, or even Speaker of the House, but now he'll have to look on as his younger successor will now face Republican Anthony Pappas in the November mid-terms.

Should she win, she'll become the youngest woman to ever be elected to Congress.

This could be a significant moment for American politics, especially on the left, which Ocasio-Cortez echoed in a Twitter thread.

Although Bernie Sanders was ultimately unsuccessful in his attempts to become the Democrat's presidential candidate in 2016, his philosophy seems to have continued to resonate with the American people - or at least those in New York.

Ocasio-Cortez's victory might seem minor at the moment, but it flies in the face of what many US politicians would want their public to believe socialism is about.

For instance, the current President, Donald Trump has gone on record to unsurprisingly denounce socialism with a bad 'joke'.

Last year, during a speech at the United Nations, Trump highlighted countries like Venezuela and Cuba as examples of where socialism has failed. He said:

The problem... is not that socialism has been poorly implemented but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.

From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure.

Trump's comments were met with silence and laughter from his fellow world leaders.

Luckily for him, Sarah Sanders was there to back him up.

It would appear that a firm grasp of the ideals of socialism does not run deep in the Trump family as Donald Trump Jr proved with this tweet on Halloween.

Trump's vice president Mike Pence has also said a few choice words about socialism in the past too.

At a presidential campaign rally at Georgia State Fairgrounds in August 2016, he quoted Margaret Thatcher when criticising Hillary Clinton.

We should probably point out that Hillary Clinton almost never defined herself as a socialist, or at least not as broadly as Sanders did.

Earlier this year, the former First Lady spoke at the Shared Values Leadership Summit, where she admitted that being a capitalist probably hurt her position among Democrats.

I mean, it’s hard to know, but if you’re in the Iowa caucuses and 41 per cent of Democrats are socialists, or self-described socialists, and I’m asked, ‘Are you a capitalist’, and I say ‘Yes, but with appropriate regulation and accountability,’ that probably gets lost in the ‘Oh my God, she’s a capitalist!’

Her husband, former president Bill Clinton, also shares these values. Speaking at a health care rally in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, Clinton highlighted his belief in a private health care system in America.

He said:

Socialism is when the government runs a health care system.

We don't have socialized medicine in this country, and my plan is for private insurance and private doctors.

[The 20 century marked] the victory of democracy over totalitarianism, of free enterprise over state socialism.

This isn't a current trend, however.

Back in 2008, then-Republican presidential candidate John McCain referenced the infamous Joe the Plumber incident in a speech about Barack's Obama's proposed policies.

He said:

Joe, in his plainspoken way, said this sounded a lot like socialism.

And a lot of Americans are thinking along those same lines. In the best case, ‘spreading the wealth around’ is a familiar idea from the American left.

And that kind of class warfare sure doesn't sound like a ‘new kind of politics'.

McCain's former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin also branded Obama a socialist during the 2008 campaign.

Citing the same Joe the Plumber incident, she said:

Obama is a socialist/Marxist. Joe suggested that that sounded a little bit like socialism.

Whatever you call it, I call it bad medicine for an ailing economy, and it's what Barack Obama will do to those who want to create jobs, and we're willing to call Barack Obama on it.

Another one of Barack Obama's opponents, Mitt Romney, also criticised the former President's seemingly socialist approach.

In a September 2011 speech, the Republican said:

Barack Obama is a big-spending liberal. He takes his inspiration from Europe and the socialist democrats in Europe.

Europe isn't working in Europe. It's not going to work here. I believe in America.

I believe in the opportunity and the freedom that is American opportunity and freedom. I believe in free enterprise and capitalism.

That being said, Obama was hardly an outstanding advocate for socialism.

Speaking at the 2013 CEO Council, Obama addressed the claims that he was a socialist. He said:

People call me a socialist sometimes, but you've got to meet real socialists, you'll have a real sense of what a socialist is. I'm talking about lowering the corporate tax rate, my health care reform is based on the private marketplace, the stock market is doing pretty good the last time I checked and it is true that I am concerned about growing inequality in the system, but nobody questions the efficacy of a market economy in terms of producing wealth and innovation and keeping us competitive.

In addition in a speech made in Argentina in March 2016, Obama encouraged young people to find their own way in politics and not feel like they have to conform to either a socialist or capitalist theory.

[S]o often in the past there’s been a sharp division between left and right, between capitalist and communist or socialist.  

And especially in the Americas, that’s been a big debate, right?  Oh, you know, you’re a capitalist Yankee dog, and oh, you know, you’re some crazy communist that’s going to take away everybody’s property.  

And I mean, those are interesting intellectual arguments, but I think for your generation, you should be practical and just choose from what works.  

You don’t have to worry about whether it neatly fits into socialist theory or capitalist theory — you should just decide what works.

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