Feature Editorial

Break Out of the Capitalism Vs. Socialism Narrative

By Sudhir Joshi, CCDP Communications Director.
Democrats Need to Talk About Fairness and Balance.

As the race for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination heats up, I am constantly hearing interviewers trap Democrats in the Capitalism vs. Socialism paradigm. The interviewer might ask a question like, ‘Are you a socialist?’ Then, I see the Democratic candidate go down the conversational rabbit hole of trying to explain why what they are proposing is different than the socialism in Venezuela. Stop. Change the frame!

The correct narrative is to talk about balance and fairness. Let me explain.

One purpose of government is to make sure there is a balance between the interests of the private sector and public sector. Western governments strive to create a balance between the profit motive and the public good. Sometimes, due to changes in the economy, situations tilt more in favor of one or the other. It’s up to good government to restore this balance.

Let me give you some examples in interview format.

Interviewer asks: “Is Medicare-for-all too much socialism?’

Correct answer, “This is not about socialism, it’s about restoring balance to the health care system. The current health care system allows the medical and drug industries to make enormous profits while not producing health care results that are in line with the rest of the western world. Many people die or go bankrupt because they cannot afford health care. Most GoFundMe pages are for medical bills. And the irony is that we have many examples of more balanced systems that work for both the medical industry and patient all around us. Canada, the U.K., France, and many more are good examples. I am for a more balanced and fair health care system.”

Interviewer asks: “Isn’t raising the taxes on the wealthy class warfare?

Correct answer, “No. It’s about restoring balance and fairness. The middle class is paying more than their fair share. And the deficit is skyrocketing because of the recent GOP tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. That’s not fair to our grandchildren who will be burdened with paying this debt. We must ask the wealthy and big corporations to pay their fair share. “

Interviewer asks: “Isn’t legalizing a dangerous substance like marijuana bad for society?”

Correct answer, “No, of course not. This is a case where government has over-stepped its role just like in the days of prohibition. Marijuana has proven medical and industrial uses. And recreational use has been proven to be far less dangerous than legal alcohol and legal cigarettes. And finally, the criminalization of marijuana has disproportionally affected minority communities. The government need to restore balance to the marijuana industry by decriminalizing it and regulating it like we do the alcohol industry.”

Hopefully, you get the point. Democrats need to stop letting the media put them in the Capitalist vs Socialist narrative. Change the narrative to balance and fairness.