The popularity of socialism appears to be percolating throughout the Democratic Party, just as some GOP strategists have predicted, often citing the influence of both Sen. Bernard Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The Vermont independent and New York Democrat present socialism as a sensible, conscientious, feel-good alternative — a sentiment which plays well among the “hope and change” set and younger voters in particular.

But wait. A new Public Opinion Strategies survey reveals that 77 percent of all Democratic voters agree that “the country would be better off if our political and economic systems were more socialist, including taxing the wealthy to pay for social programs, nationalizing health care so that it’s government-run and redistributing wealth.”

The prospect is a thorny one.

“While a majority of voters disagree with this notion (51 percent), fully 45 percent of voters agree,” wrote Neil Newhouse, a co-founder of the polling group who also noted that the “partisan gap on this question is more like a chasm.”

Indeed, 83 percent of Republicans “strongly disagree” with the socialism mindset, as do 56 percent of independents.

“The president’s State of the Union warning against a shift to socialism makes sense given these poll results. During the 2018 campaign, the threat of socialism and socialist policies found its way into congressional campaigns across the country as a background or back-burner concern, but as 2020 approaches and Democrats prepare to do battle for the presidential nomination, this data indicates that a debate over socialism is likely to be the framing of the ’20 election,” Mr. Newhouse said.

The poll of 800 registered U.S. voters was conducted Feb. 16-20.

$93 TRILLION JILLION KABILLION

Reality check? There is yet another startling estimate about the actual cost of the Green New Deal, legislation proposed by the aforementioned Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez which would eliminate all U.S. carbon emissions, guarantee jobs, refurbish every building in the nation, establish universal health and lots more.

The final price tag on the proposal: somewhere between $51.1 trillion and $92.9 trillion.

Yes, that’s trillion.

This initial estimate comes from Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum, a nonprofit. Keep in mind that Mr. Holtz-Eakin served as chief economist of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and was the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office from 2003-05. So he ought to know.

“To put that in perspective the entire U.S. GDP in 2017 was $19.39 trillion. The only thing green about the Green New Deal is how much cash it’s going to cost taxpayers. This socialist plan to have the government dictate everything from what cars you can drive to what food you can eat shows the dangerous ideals House Democrats have fully embraced,” observes Michael McAdams, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez continues to push back at her critics with gusto, however.

“I just introduced the Green New Deal two weeks ago, and it’s creating all of this conversation. Why? Because no one else has even tried. People are like, ‘oh it’s unrealistic. Oh it’s vague. Oh, it doesn’t address this little minute thing.’ And I’m like, ‘you try. You do it. ‘Cause you’re not. So, until you do it, I’m the boss.’ How about that?” the New York Democrat noted during a recent speech in her home turf of Queens.

FOR THE LEXICON

“The Sunrise Movement.”

Not surprising: The Green New Deal already has a companion activist group. That would be the Sunrise Movement, a nonprofit founded in 2017, vowing to create “an army of young people to make climate change an urgent priority across America.”

Among other things, they have launched a petition to support the Green New Deal. On Capitol Hill, the group — primarily children and teens — has rallied with the aforementioned Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and have declared Tuesday to be a “nationwide day of action.” They count the People’s Climate Movement, MoveOn.org, Women’s March, and the Sierra Club among their supporting groups.

The organization has so far picketed the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — with the latter encounter on Monday resulting in 40 arrests.

After their recent visit with Ms. Feinstein, the Sunrise Movement tweeted that the California Democrat reacted with “smugness and disrespect.”

Following their events at Mr. McConnell’s office, the group also tweeted “When faced with young Kentuckians fighting for their future, #OilMoneyMitch refused to meet with them and arrested them.”

STILL IN THE GAME

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich remains an aggressive fixture at the intersection of media and politics. On Monday, he announced the launch of Gingrich 360, described as “a full circle American consulting and media production group,” with a focus on the nation’s success.

“Gingrich 360 has a simple goal: to help America succeed by helping our partners succeed. That’s true for media production, consulting, education, or any other project in which we engage,” says Mr. Gingrich, now 76.

The first project is already up and running, in partnership with Westwood One, America’s largest audio network. “Newt’s World” — a free weekly podcast — is available through Apple, Google, Spotify, and other podcast providers, with new episodes released each Sunday.

Mr. Gingrich, who is the author of 36 books and a Fox News contributor, also plans to offer “strategic planning and counsel, political insights, coalition building, integrated communications, and public policy development and advocacy.”

Also on the team as president and CEO: Debbie Myers, a former executive at Discovery Communications who is behind much of the cable TV programming at Science, TLC, and Investigation Discovery.

“I am particularly focused on projects that unite us as Americans. Newt’s background in history attracted me to the company as it brings context to the stories and challenges facing us today,” Ms. Myers said.

POLL DU JOUR

• 89 percent of active-duty military spouses would describe their family as a “strong, happy family.”

• 71 percent of the spouses say they are “comfortable with their financial situation.”

• 61 percent think their spouse should “stay on active duty.”

• 60 percent are “satisfied with the military way of life.”

• 53 percent of all active duty military members are married.

Source: A Defense Dept. survey of 7,650 active duty spouses conducted throughout May 2017 and released Friday.

• Chatter and factoids to jharper@washingtontimes.com

© Copyright (c) 2019 News World Communications, Inc.

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