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Democrats would throw away the election by nominating a ‘socialist’

Democrats would throw away the election by nominating a ‘socialist’
Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has identified as a democratic socialist, declared his 2020 presidential candidacy on Feb. 19, 2019. (Erik S. Lesser / EPA/Shutterstock)

To the editor: Describing progressive causes such as Medicare for all and free college education as socialism is both inaccurate and a terrible way to seek voter support.

Socialism is defined as a system in which the production and distribution of goods are publicly owned. No one is suggesting nationalizing our factories. Furthermore, while socialism can be democratic, the unfortunate truth is that the term is inextricably entangled with communism.

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Much is made of the fact that a 2018 Gallup poll reported that Americans under age 30 favored socialism over capitalism by 6 percentage points. It failed to report that Americans in every other age group thought more highly of capitalism. The small positive edge among under-30 Americans is far too weak to overcome the strongly negative views of socialism among voters 30 and older.

While Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may enjoy the shock value of describing themselves as socialists, it would be a colossal mistake for the Democratic Party to permit its nominee to be so labeled.

Cyril Barnert, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Socialism can be defined as state ownership of the means of production. But it can also mean that the government both pays for a service and hires the people who perform that service.

By that definition we currently have socialist fire departments, police departments and, in the city of Los Angeles, the Department of Water and Power, which several years ago saved us from the market manipulation of electric power.

Perhaps “socialism” isn’t so scary when we think of how a fire or police department would operate under capitalism’s profit-making bottom line. Instead of universal protection, only those who could buy the services would be protected.

Doris Isolini Nelson, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Democratic presidential candidates would do well to remember that their most important work is not responding to claims of socialism from the right, but instead ousting the man in the White House and replacing his divisive, self-serving, hate-filled policies with real solutions.

James Peterson, Beaumont

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