Originally Posted By: pondering_it_all
Back in the 30's a lot of people were socialist and even communist in the US. The peak of this was in 1945 when our allies the Soviets essentially defeated the Nazis.

Eugene V. Debs ran as a Socialist candidate for President of the United States five times, including 1900 (earning 0.6% of the popular vote), 1904 (3.0%), 1908 (2.8%), 1912 (6.0%) and 1920.(3.4%)
At its peak in August 1917, IWW membership was 150,000.
So yes, we were dipping our toe.

Fast forward to the Thirties, the Crash, the Depression.
Perhaps I understated more than a little.
What was the peak membership in the USA of socialist and communist groups?
But I'm looking for the kind of numbers that win elections. Majority numbers, the kinds of numbers that move countries one direction or another.

Originally Posted By: pondering_it_all

But then came the Red Scare but also the brutal invasions and occupations as the Iron Curtain went up. That had a huge effect on the left in the US. And I think it continues today, with stuff like Russia's invasion of Ukraine. shooting down commercial airliners, China's genocide against the Uighurs, etc. Nobody wants to be THAT socialist. The communists in the US are pretty much just a few mentally ill folks who thrive on the notoriety. The remaining left are union-supporters, employee-owned company supporters, now medicare4all supporters: In other words, FDR-style Democrats. Just a little bit left of centrist Democrats.

So the "left's" positions are not hard for the rest of the Democrats to agree with.

Of course they're not difficult to align with. The problem is that we didn't fight hard enough back then to counter the smears, anymore than we're fighting hard enough now. The labels stuck back then and Republicans are using that now.
Why are we resistant to ducking and weaving, so that we can avoid being bashed on the head repeatedly?

Originally Posted By: pondering_it_all

They just think that they might not be able to implement them, because half the country is still scared of "socialists coming for their kids and their guns". I don't think centrists are the left's enemies: I think they are just practical. Convince the majority of voters that medicare4all is good, and the Democrats will do it.

Convince the majority of voters that FDR style New Deal social democracy is not the brutal confiscatory boogeyman of the Soviets or Venezuelans.
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