A majority of Democrats indicated they have a positive view of "socialism," a recent Gallup poll found. But a Socialist Party spokesperson maintains that both the Democratic and Republican parties are ineffective.
A late November poll found that 53 percent of Democrats – or those who lean that way – have a favorable view of socialism compared to just 23 percent of Republicans.
In a column in Tuesday's Canada Free Press, conservative activist Robert Rohlfing makes the argument that Democrats should fully embrace socialism and rename their party to better reflect support of programs rooted in socialism, most notably the Affordable Healthcare Act, or commonly known as Obamacare.
"The Old Democrat Party has been folded into the new one led by those who support socialist policies, this is not breaking news and it is not meant as a derogatory slur either," wrote Rohlfing. "When you look at a recent poll it shows that those that do support the Democrat Party also lean in the direction of socialism and when you look at those in charge today of the party they emulate it through policies and verbiage."
"The key legislation of this administration is socialized health care, and the battle over the fiscal health of this nation is drawn upon the lines of socialized economic policies so what is the secret? There is no secret at all, but the unwillingness to be honest and embrace the fact that yes the party and those who support it are socialists in their core beliefs. Over ten or so years on political forums and debating with these folks the clear shift has become so blatantly obvious it is a wonder why they still try to hide the fact that they are."
And even though a majority of Democrats may see socialism in a favorable light, the national secretary of the Socialist Party USA takes issues with both parties.
"The last four years have not been good for anyone," said Greg Pason. "We believe more people are supporting our party and our cause because the economy is falling apart."
"Obamacare is nothing more than a mandate to buy insurance and doesn't fall in line with socialist doctrine. Guaranteed healthcare for all would benefit the country. You would need to institute a progressive federal income tax system but as democratic socialist, we believe the folks with the most money."
According to the group's website, if a system of democratic socialism was enacted, the people would own and control the means of production and distribution through democratically controlled public agencies, cooperatives, or other collective groups.
As opposed to an economy based on free enterprise and capitalism, the primary goal of economic activity in a socialist economy would be to provide the necessities of life, including food, shelter, health care, education, child care, cultural opportunities, and social services for all citizens.
"We would love a system where you would now need an income tax system but in reality, America will probably have a free enterprise system of the next few decades but we are working to change that," Pason said.
The Gallup poll also found that 75 percent of Democrats have a favorable view of the federal government, while a much smaller 27 percent of Republicans felt the same.
"Democrats have a more positive image of the federal government than they do of capitalism, by a 20-percentage-point margin, while Republicans are more positive about capitalism than the federal government, by a 45-point margin," wrote Gallup in its analysis of the study. "This difference is not surprising – particularly given that a Democrat currently occupies the White House – but underscores the divergence in the ways in which Republicans and Democrats look at the appropriate role of the government in relationship to business."
Interestingly, both Democrats and Republicans have a favorable view of small business with 94 and 95 percent, respectively, giving positive responses. Democrats also gave free enterprise and entrepreneurship high marks but not as much as Republicans.
The poll, released Nov. 29, is based on telephone interviews conducted Nov. 18-19, 2012, with a random sample of 1,040 adults, aged 18 and older, living in the 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points.