Former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper continued with his relentless defense of a less radical approach to progressive politics on Sunday, saying that both Medicare for All and the Green New Deal are “massive government expansions.”
Just one day after being booed during the California Democratic Party convention in San Francisco for saying that “socialism is not the answer,” the Democratic presidential hopeful explained that Democrats will fail in 2020 for embracing a radically socialist agenda.
“Those are the kinds of things that Republicans will try to turn into ‘socialism.’ They’re going to call it ‘socialism,’ and they’re going to say this is taking away the freedom and independence of the individual,” he explained. “They’re going to try and twist it in every way they can because that’s about the only card they’re left holding as long as they’re still supporting Trump.”
The day prior to the Washington Post interview, he told the less-than-sympathetic San Francisco audience that Democrats must walk away from socialism if they truly want to beat President Trump. Unfortunately, he told the Post’s reporter, Democrats often miss the forest for the trees.
“Most Democrats share this notion of universal coverage. Most Democrats really understand the urgency of climate change,” he said. “But I think we’ll get to better solutions faster by recognizing that big, massive government expansions are not going to be as successful.”
During the same convention, Sen. Bernie Sanders, another presidential hopeful well known for calling himself a Democratic Socialist, took the opposite approach.
Saying that there could be “no middle ground” when it comes to some of the policies embraced by Democrats, Sanders added the party can’t afford going back “to the old ways.” But while the senator from Vermont seems to be betting on Democrats’ positive views of socialism to win the primary, Hickenlooper might be trying to go for another audience, one that might even include disappointed Trump supporters.
A Big Government is Not the Way
A recent Gallup poll showed that 43 percent of Americans say socialism would be a good thing for the country, while 51 percent say it would be bad. When Democrats alone were asked, most responded they had a positive view of the anti-capitalist ideology.
To Hickenlooper, the former governor of a purple state, fooling around with radical socialist ideas will alienate the population, giving the Republican Party an easy path toward victory. But the message is clearly lost on Democrats, who have long ignored and ridiculed Republican voters.
While Hickenlooper, who is struggling to obtain support, is half right, it would take more than a centrist approach to really fix the issues the country has long faced.
Unfortunately, it is precisely the massive size of government that has helped to create an entire class of bureaucrats thirsty for more power. To them, choosing to join the Democratic or Republican parties is a matter of opportunity, not ideology, as both institutions champion roughly the same policies.
In order to undo the voter’s overreliance on government, which would render the presidency and who wins, in the end, an unimportant event, we must decentralize. And to decentralize states, and then municipalities must take back control. For that to happen, however, we must push legislators to defend self-reliance and walk away from the goodies the federal government bribes them with. That means states would have to say “no” to grants and other cash rewards offered by the federal government in exchange for material support.
How many state officials are really ready to do just that?