In the previous post, I noted that the advocates of Bernie Sanders don't like it when you mention certain facts of life, such as the fact that a majority of Americans won't vote for an elderly socialist. It's all a matter of attitude, we are told. Positive thinking can work miracles.
Here's how one Positive Thinker reacted to my display of negativity:
Attempting to rebel against the greatest military power on the planet in 1776 was also a doomed effort. Anyone with any sense could have told you so, which is why those traitors Washington and Jefferson ended up being drawn and quartered and the Queen's birthday is a national holiday here in the colonies.
Let's compare the popularity of socialism in 2015 to the popularity of rebellion in 1775. Care for a little reality?
YouGov's latest research shows that when Americans are asked whether they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of socialism and capitalism, capitalism comes out on top. 52% of Americans have a favorable view of capitalism, while only 26% have a favorable view of socialism.
Remember, the red states have a built-in advantage in the general election, thanks to our beloved electoral college. If you mention the word socialism
to most red staters, they don't think "Olaf Palme" -- they think "Josef Stalin." (Most red staters don't even know who Palme was
Keep those poll numbers in mind as we turn our attention to the American Revolution
. How many people living in the colonies in 1775 were Loyalists and how many were revolutionaries?
Historian Robert Calhoon said the consensus of historians is that between 40 and 45 percent of the white population in the Thirteen Colonies supported the Patriots' cause, between 15 and 20% supported the Loyalists, and the remainder were neutral or kept a low profile.
Very different numbers.
In order for someone like Sanders to succeed, you need to change the numbers. That is, you need to increase the number of Americans who view socialism favorably.
At the very least, you need to increase the number of Americans who understand that there are many varieties of socialism. Many Americans don't know that socialists have played important roles within most European democracies for more than a hundred years. The result was not Total State Control. Churches were not burned, businesses were not shuttered, and citizens did not turn into glassy-eyed human robots mindlessly shouting "Long live the Collective!"
Thanks to the work of socialists, workers in Germany and other European nation get one full month
of paid leave each year. Labor is represented in the boardrooms of the major corporations. Health care is considered a right.
Fortunately, younger voters are increasingly receptive to the argument that some aspects of socialism are attractive and beneficial. Most Americans who came of age during the Cold War will never listen to that argument.
Someone like Bernie Sanders will have a real shot at the presidency in the future, perhaps within your lifetime (though probably not mine). But that shot won't come until the poll numbers change, and changing those numbers will require hard work. Books, articles, speeches, constant argumentation. Work
Joining the cult of positive thinking is no substitute for doing that work. Quite the opposite: Positive thinking is a form of magical thinking. Positive thinking is lazy