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Kamala Harris Is Not a Red-Baiter, She's Just Not a Socialist (Like Most Americans)

Kamala Harris Is Not a Red-Baiter, She's Just Not a Socialist (Like Most Americans)

Jeffrey C. Isaac

In recent columns I have celebrated the energy and ideas brought into the Democratic party by newly-elected young leftists, defended them from criticism, condemned the red-baiting of the left, and explained how and why "socialism" has played an important role in the history of American democracy, and ought not to be feared.

Harris proposing tax cuts just sounds like more of the usual “let’s maintain the dysfunctional status quo because I am comfortable right now and I’ll try to preteend I care about others to get elected” garbage every other dyed-in-the-wool capitalist says.


The author apologizing on behalf of Harris, this early in the campaign, just to make sure Trump gets dumped, invalidates his claims of being any kind of socialist. It’s the same standard Democratic party line B.S. that pushed Clinton down our throats.

Yes, I agree with Isaac that the Democratic party is not socialist, or even progressive, and like never will be, but what Isaac fails to consider, beyond beating Trump, is what a return to an Obama style presidency, via Harris, will get us. Another four years or eight years of an Obama style centrist just sets the stage for another Trump.

And the circus continues …


What most Americans do not support is the bogey-man term “Socialism,” which is why this author used it. Kamala said, specifically, that she is not a “Democratic Socialist.” There’s a big difference between Socialism and Democratic Socialism, and I’m sure the author, a professor, understands it.

Democratic Socialism is capitalism with a strong social safety net, as in the Scandinavian countries. Recent polls demonstrate that Americans DO support Democratic Socialism, since the majority support: expand Social Security (72%), Medicare for All (70%), a jobs guarantee (65%), tuition-free public colleges (60%), a $15 minimum wage (58%), and break up the big banks (57%).

Kamala Harris, and the rest of the corporatist candidates, are out of step with most Americans.


I’m not sure if I’d call myself a socialist either (though I want quite a bit of the current economic structure nationalized including energy, banking, health insurance, and social networks) so I won’t pass judgement on Isaac. I do agree with you that this is way too early to start preaching about this topic. I skimmed the first part of one of his linked story on why he was unwilling to vote for Joe Donnelly (who ultimately lost and good riddance to him). I think the author could have made it more clear in this article that he had a line that when the politician crossed, he refused to support them anymore. Everybody has this line and everybody gets to decide where it is. He should phrase his argument as a suggestion for some to nudge their line a bit, but I still think it’s too early to worry about this. I much more worried about how we select the person with the most support in a primary system that isn’t well designed for more than 2 candidates (like pretty much all elections we have in the US outside of Maine).

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Well, honesty is always the best policy, and a clear-eyed inspection of contemporary America reminds us of the political and organizational reality of the situation.
The take-away here would seem to be, once again, “Hold your nose and vote”. In spite of Elijah Cummings’ impassioned exhortation, maybe this is just the best the current system can do.

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Vote for Hillary! (I mean Harris…) We must support the Center! Neoliberalism is the only way our oligarchs will support. Yay!


Sanders isn’t a “socialist”. He calls himself one but policy wise he is a social democrat in the mold of FDR. Same as AOC and the other young progressives just elected.

It is time for a new FDR no matter what their label.


Isaac sez:
“… there are no guarantees that Trump will be defeated in 2020. He might well win, through some combination of an orchestrated crisis, a highly mobilized base … and acrimonious divisions among his opponents.”

With all due respect, we might want to include in that list half of the eligible electorate choosing to exit the process due to the lack of an option worth voting FOR.


It’s counterproductive to focus on the term “Socialism” and whether or not someone is or is not a “socialist.” People should focus on the issues, the positions of the candidates, WHY they support those issues, and HOW they plan to get their positions enacted.

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The professor is correct. The Scandinavian countries are Social Democracies. They are not socialist countries.

Democratic Socialism is just plain old socialism.

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I don’t know what Kamala really thinks…or understands. I know she does not have a history of being progressive and showed a tendency towards authoritariansim as an AG… I don’t think she has a clue about how economics impact society. She has not come out against the MIC and our wars without end. I know she appeals to and confabs behind closed doors with BIG contributors. I know the Democratic corporate elite are pushing her.


Consider just how much better Obama’s Presidency was than Trump’s. It is not just the President but the entire administration. With Obama administration and the Democratic Party it is all hands on deck and working together for the country’s benefit.

With the Trump administration it is just looters hollowing out the country.

Hillarris? Hilarious!

No doubt, but I think they may be pushing her to be V.P. for Joe Biden.

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No, it isn’t.

That’s Social Democracy.

They are different.

Bernie Sanders is NOT a Democratic Socialist- he’s a Social Democrat. The DSA is not really Democratic Socialist- it has always been Social Democrats from the moment it was one of the splinter groups from Eugene V. Debs real Democratic Socialist party, the Socialist Party of America.

This watering down of terms is very disturbing to me. Social Democrats claim to be Democratic Socialists. Centrist NeoLiberals claim to be Progressives. Reaganites claim to be Moderates. Fascist Racists claim to be Conservatives.

This is all about moving the discussion more and more to the right.

Oh well.

PS: Since I do believe that usage determines meaning- I guess I’ll have to jettison the term Democratic Socialism as descriptive of my views that opposes Capitalism. Oh well.

The problem is that usage of Socialism also doesn’t define my views since in the general usage here in the US it means authoritarian and dictatorship of the party.

Oh well. I’m LibwingofLibwing and there’s not a good term anymore to describe my politics. :disappointed:


Since most Americans don’t even know what socialism is, and since the vast majority of Americans support Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders’ proposed programs, I wouldn’t be so sure that Americans aren’t socialist. Maybe they just don’t know they’re socialist. Or more accurately, maybe they don’t know they’re social democrats (which is what Bernie is).

As for Kamala Harris, she seems like Hillary 2.0. Americans have already shown quite clearly, in two elections, that they don’t want a corporate Democrat. It’s about time the Democratic Party got the message.


“With Obama administration and the Democratic Party it is all hands on deck and working together for the country’s benefit.”

So bailing out the big banks, refusing to prosecute those who caused the financial meltdown, implementing a Republican healthcare plan that was a giveaway to big pharma and the insurance industry, refusing to bailout homeowners, and taking us from bombing two countries to bombing seven - that was all for the country’s benefit?

F**k all you corporate Democrat apologists!


Yes it freaking does when what they stand for is WRONG.

Let’s see how this statement holds water, the idea that being honest about what you stand for means you aren’t doing something underhanded or wrong.

But this does not mean that Adolph Hitler was doing something underhanded or wrong by standing for what he stood for.

But this does not mean that Joseph Stalin was doing something underhanded or wrong by standing for what he stood for.

But this does not mean that Henry Kissinger was doing something underhanded or wrong by standing for what he stood for.

But this does not mean that Ronald Reagan was doing something underhanded or wrong by standing for what he stood for.

But this does not mean that Donald Trump was doing something underhanded or wrong by standing for what he stood for.

This is not a Lesser Evil argument. It’s an argument that these lesser evil, centrist, NeoLiberal, War-monger Imperialists aren’t evil at all- they are just different.

This argument that they are just different may make sense if we’re talking about taste in music or which cereal you prefer. But it sure doesn’t when we’re talking about political positions that support the continued reign of the Putocrats and the ongoing continuation of the US Empire’s bloody murder of people around the world.