To British eyes, the way in which even the word liberal is often used in American politics as a term of venomous insult can often be nearly as baffling as our differences in attitudes towards gun control. Which makes the small but growing trend of US politicians self-identifying as socialist and being successful a particularly interesting one – and the reason I listened to Planet Money‘s latest podcast, “The New Socialists”.
As its blurb says:
Three years ago, the Democratic Socialists of America had about 6,000 members across the country – fewer than the American Racing Pigeon Union.
Since then, DSA membership has shot up more than 600 percent. And Democratic Socialist candidates are popping up across the country. One of them, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is likely to land a seat in the House of Representatives this fall.
Today on the show: How an ideology that was political poison for decades worked its way back into mainstream American politics. We’ll meet some of these new socialists, and try to figure out what they want the economy to look like.
Take a listen here: