by Evan Berryhill · August 1, 2018
The second-quarter 2018 gross domestic product numbers were released Friday, and President Trump has much to be happy about. With 4.1 percent growth, we’ve reached the fastest economic expansion in four years, and Trump doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon, stating the numbers are on track to go a lot higher than 4.1 percent in the future.
However, as President Trump was speaking on the White House lawn Friday morning touting the recent economic numbers, democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was plotting her next move on the New York campaign trail.
Since her upset primary win over Joe Crowley, the current chairman of the House Democratic caucus, Ocasio-Cortez has been the center of considerable media coverage. The 28-year-old self-described democratic socialist is now the standard-bearer for a phenomenon that can no longer be ignored: the rise in popularity of socialism among Americans, particularly young Americans.
While many Republicans have said they hope Ocasio-Cortez is where the party is headed due to her far-left views, recent polling suggests they shouldn’t be so sure. According to The University of Chicago’s GenForward Survey, Americans aged 18-34 only had 4 percent (49-45) greater favorability of capitalism to socialism.
Socialism’s rise in popularity can be evidenced by how it has seeped into mainstream conversation. For evidence, look no further than the debate that took place on ABC’s “The View” last week between Meghan McCain and Joy Behar.
Many on both the Left and Right wonder if Ocasio-Cortez is just an anomaly in the Democratic Party or a sign of its future. A recent article even suggested she may be the Left’s version of Trump. But the kryptonite to Ocasio-Cortez and the rise of socialism may be the success our economy is having under President Trump.
From tax cuts to North Korea and everything in between, Democrats have constantly predicted Armageddon only for President Trump to prove them wrong. Potentially the most egregious of these predictions relate to President Trump’s handling on the economy.
Many pundits predicted economic collapse when the business tycoon turned presidential candidate won the 2016 election. Even the so-called “experts” got it wrong. Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman made the bold prediction that markets would “never” recover from Trump being elected president.
Yet here we are, with no sign of an economic collapse. Quite the contrary. The great GDP numbers are just the latest positive example of what has been an objectively successful economy under President Trump.
Since taking office, the Dow has gone from 18,332 to 25,503. The Nasdaq has gained almost 3,000 points, and the S&P is up just shy of 800. Our national unemployment rate was 4 percent in June, up from an 18-year low of 3.8 percent in May. Among black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans, unemployment is at or nearing all-time low numbers. Further, President Trump has slashed red tape at a record rate. Consumer confidence is through the roof, and we have more available jobs than we do workers prepared to fill the vacancies.
All the economic success from President Trump’s policies begs a big question for Ocasio-Cortez and those on the Left: can they reconcile their beliefs on economics with the economic success stemming from President Trump’s polar-opposite views?
Ocasio-Cortez certainly has a strong niche of support on the far-left, but can she sustain or even continue her rise in the face of our current booming economy? There is certainly more to a candidate than just his or her economic policies, but Ocasio-Cortez has struggled to provide even basic answers to elementary-level political questions in other areas such as foreign policy. She also holds positions, like abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement, on topics that polling indicates are heavily in favor of Republicans.
Even on economic issues, she has fumbled with answers related to things like our low unemployment rate, stating it was so low due to Americans working two or more jobs. However, the number of Americans working two or more jobs has been on the decline since peaking at 6.5 percent in the mid-90s, and sits under 5 percent of all people employed today.
Ocasio-Cortez’s policy positions include things like a federal job guarantee for everyone that would pay at least a $15 minimum wage, plus health care and paid leave benefits. She has also proposed socialized higher education and trade schooling, including a one-time government buy back of all student loans.
Additionally, she says housing is a right that the government should make available in some form to all citizens by extending tax credits, housing the homeless, and fully funding the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The details on how to afford all of these policies are predictably vague, but you can be sure an increase in taxes is on the agenda for the democratic socialist.
Despite all the “chicken little” predictions from those on the Left, our economy is flourishing. But socialist policies would mean the reverse all of President Trump’s economic policies like tax cuts and the slashing of red tape that have been responsible for our recent economic swell.
President Trump’s best polling numbers are in relation to his handling of the economy. Even unfriendly CNN has been forced to admit President Trump deserves some credit for the economic surge. Eighteen months into his presidency, it is clear his policy positions have been economically successful.
When President Trump came onto the political scene, many assumed he would be little more than a flash in the pan. Now, almost two years into the Trump presidency, the Left faces a fork in the road to determine if the future of the party will follow Ocasio-Cortez into outright socialism. Only time will tell if she can outgrow the niche bubble of her support, but if President Trump continues to guide a thriving economy, anyone with “socialist” preceding his or her name seems more likely to wind up as the true flash in the pan.
The Federalist · by Evan Berryhill · August 1, 2018