In These Times - November 5, 2020
DSA-backed candidates succeed for a few main reasons: They campaign on actual policies, have a vision of how to govern, and don’t just depend on the fact that they’re not Republicans. These policies include Medicare for All, a Green New Deal and a Jobs Guarantee — programs that would improve the quality of life for working people all over this country. And because policies they support are so popular and inspiring, DSA-backed candidates attract dedicated canvassers and organizers, willing to spend nights and weekends knocking doors and making calls to get them elected.
While many had hoped that Election Day would result in a sweeping rebuke of Trump and Trumpism, neither a pandemic nor an economic recession were enough to deliver an overwhelming rejection. And although it’s looking likely that Biden will eke out a victory, the 2020 election was in many ways a bust for the Democratic Party, which lost seats in the House and most likely did not win a majority in the Senate.
But democratic socialism, popularized by near-presidential nominee Bernie Sanders (I‑Vt.), had a much better night. The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), an organization that boasts nearly 80,000 members nationwide, endorsed 29 candidates and 11 ballot initiatives, winning 20 and 8 respectively. There are now democratic socialist caucuses in 15 statehouses, including Montana. (Disclosure: I am a nationally elected leader of the organization; I sit on the Democratic Socialist Labor Commission.)
DSA’s victories, both in the primaries and the general election, have rolled in as pundits and pollsters decry socialism as polarizing and raise fears that socialist candidates will end up backfiring and getting Republicans elected. Sanders’ supposed lack of electability was one of the most commonly used arguments against him in the primary. His primary opponents and prominent writers like Jonathan Chait claimed that the vast majority of Americans wouldn’t vote for a socialist, and that there was no way he could defeat Trump. ...
Read full report at In These Times