NBC News and the Wall Street Journal conducted an interesting poll recently, asking voters what factors about a presidential candidate gave them the most concern. Several different variables of contemporary relevance were measured, including adherence to socialism, having had a recent heart attack, and age.
A full two-thirds of respondents were at least “very uncomfortable” with a socialist candidate. Fifty-seven percent shared reservations or were very uncomfortable with a recent heart attack victim as a candidate. Fifty-three percent had the same concerns for a candidate over 75 years old.
In other words, socialism is scarier to voters than a heart attack.
Meanwhile, 78-year-old socialist heart attack victim Bernie Sanders happens to be the Democrat frontrunner, with around 30 percent support. I’m no David Axelrod, but my hunch is that Bernie might be close to his support ceiling. A third of the country will always overtly want free crap — provided by the other two-thirds, of course. After you burn through that third with outstretched hands, the sell gets a little tougher.
Don’t get me wrong, every other Democrat running wants the benefits of tossing free crap to voting blocks — like iPads at an Oprah show taping — but the very word “socialism” has for Americans failed to shed its odor of historic failure and human oppression. May we conservatives keep it that way, ever reminding new and current generations that socialism is a cowpie of consequences thinly covered with the buttercream frosting of lofty, hollow promises. Government has no interest in elevating anyone higher than they can elevate themselves.
Furthermore, this may be the worst possible timing for Bernie to be peddling his, um, baked goods. Lowering taxes and taking some of the unreasonable trade and regulatory shackles off of our capitalist system has created an environment of historically low unemployment and steady wage growth. Some are struggling, because some always struggle. But most of those truly dedicated to their own economic success are surrounded by opportunities that can get them to a higher place.
Earlier this week Trump’s predecessor claimed credit via Twitter for our current economic vitality, thanks to some piece of recovery legislation he signed over a decade ago. It’s also an argument Nancy Pelosi tried to make in a press conference a few weeks ago — that Barack Obama, not Donald Trump, should be thanked for our current economic strength. After predicting Trump-induced malaise or recession or worse, they are now claiming credit for the economy that they said would be impossible under Donald Trump. Obama said a magic wand was needed to bring all those jobs lost under his administration back to the United States. Those “magic wand” jobs he said were never coming back, he now claims credit for creating. Barack Obama’s appetite for undeserved credit has not waned a bit.
While I’m sure some Democrats have convinced themselves Obama deserves the credit for the economy, the more likely strategy is a deliberate effort to slow down an accurate narrative that frightens them to death: Trump’s economic policies are working as promised. Their frontrunner proudly touts an economic ideology two thirds of America is uncomfortable with, and in an economy where it has little appeal.
The Democrats are now test-driving candidates in a frantic effort to stop their socialist septuagenarian heart attack surviving frontrunner. The Russia-Trump collusion hoax failed badly. The discombobulated Ukraine-Trump Impeachment sham failed even worse. The tired and prolonged “His Twitter is Mean!” conniption packs no more punch than their claims that Trump is an existential threat to America and the world.
Running out of options, it’s all a display of panicky hysterics from a party that’s struggling to discover and propel a candidate past a frontrunner they know cannot possibly defeat Donald Trump in November.
Associated Press award-winning columnist Neal Larson of Idaho Falls is a conservative talk show host on KID Newsradio 106.3 and 92.1, heard weekday mornings from 6:00 to 10:00. Read more of his work and contact him at www.neallarson.com.