Democrats are embracing socialism. Multitudes of them spurn capitalism. They gave us our most leftist president in history. Their current front-runner presidential candidate is running even to the left of him, and hot on her heals is a self-declared socialist.
What’s next – taking back “red state”?
That thought is half in jest, but things are getting so crazy — with millions of folks flocking to the failed socialist ideas of the past — that it’s within the realm of possibility.
When displaying their electoral maps, the media at some point could very well transition back to red states for Democrats and blue states for Republicans.
Prior to 2000, the U.S. media usually depicted red states as Democrat and blue states as Republican. That was in line with the rest of the world; in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere, red was and still is associated with parties of the left, ranging from social democrat and labor parties, to communist parties. The U.K.’s Labour Party’s color is red, as is Canada’s Liberal Party.
Likewise blue is associated with conservative parties, including the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom.
It’s only in the United States where those colors are reversed.
The adoption of red for leftist parties originated during the French Revolution and the failed European revolutions of 1848, in the form of the red flag. Red symbolized the blood of those who died in the struggle against capitalism.
Until recently in the United States, socialism was a dirty word for most Democrats as well as for Republicans. When socialism and communism were totally discredited after the fall of the Soviet bloc in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Democrats must have hated it when the media depicted Democrat-leaning states as red and Republican-leaning ones as blue. They didn’t want to be associated in any way with Messrs. Marx and Engels.
So the mainstream media (who, of course, are overwhelmingly Democrats) reversed the color coding.
According to Wikipedia, it began in 2000 when MSNBC and NBC started showing electoral maps with blue states as Democratic, and red states as Republican. The David Letterman show followed suit, and the practice then caught on everywhere.
“Perhaps the most brazen language diktat has been the mischievous switch of political colors,” wrote Mark Helprin in The Wall Street Journal. “The change came in 2000 courtesy of MSNBC and NBC’s ‘Today' show . . . Saddling your political rivals with a symbol to which they have been historically opposed is an even better and naughtier joke. Either it was that or numbing cluelessness.”
The red-blue switch initially somewhat bothered me but I got over it. If usurping blue freed the media and their Democratic allies from the insecurity of thinking that people would associate them with socialism and communism, then so what. Let them have their fun. And even though Republicans were unceremoniously slapped with red, no one is going to associate Republicans with the hammer and sickle because of it.
Plus, the use of “red” and “blue” is so much more common now in general discourse than it was pre-2000. Using the terms “Democrat” and “Republican” all the time can get boring, so why not liven things up a bit — add some color to the conversation — by throwing “red” and “blue” into the mix?
Nevertheless, as Helprin writes, “Red is the mobile color of passion and engagement, and blue the staid color of reason and detachment.” That characterization must tug at the hearts of bleeding-heart liberals, who thrive on passion (at the expense of reason). Surely there have got to be many of them who’d be more than happy reclaim the color red.
In spite of the evils of socialism so prominently on display today in Venezuela, the rapidity at which folks are moving left is dizzying.
A survey conducted by the right-leaning advocacy group American Action Network found that nearly six in ten Democratic primary voters think socialism has a “positive impact on society.” Forty-six percent of respondents under age 45 consider socialism the best form of government versus only 19 percent who prefer capitalism. A Bloomberg/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll found that 43 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers said they would use the word “socialist” to describe themselves.
That helps explain why the self-declared socialist Bernie Sanders, once considered to be on the lunatic fringe in politics, ran such a competitive primary campaign against Hillary Clinton. What used to be the loony left is now nearly mainstream among Democrats. Hillary Clinton has tacked hard to the left, with speculation that she is even considering arch-leftist Elizabeth Warren as her running mate.
From there it’s not much of a step to proudly waive the red flag in solidarity with like-minded political parties the world over, followed by a take-back of the “red state” mantle.
Patrick D. Chisholm is a writer and editor whose articles have appeared in many publications including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Baltimore Sun, San Francisco Chronicle, National Review, and Christian Science Monitor. Previously he worked for financial and business publications, and in the State Department's Office of Mexican Affairs. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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