President Donald Trump promptly began spewing more of his nonsense when arriving overseas for the latest G20 summit of world leaders. Besides palling around with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s murderous Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, he also made up that there have been “rumors” of the Democratic Party changing its name to the “Socialist Party” while answering questions from reporters alongside far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. There is no evidence of any credible rumors along these lines anywhere.
Still, discussing the first round of debates in the Democratic Presidential primary that unfolded this week ahead of the 2020 election, Trump shared:
‘That’s become like the Socialist Party. There’s a rumor that the Democrats are going to change the name of the party from the “Democrat Party” to the “Socialist Party.”‘
Trump: “You know I’ve been watching the debates a little bit in between meetings & I wasn’t impressed…It’s become like the Socialist Party. In fact I heard there’s a rumor the Democrats are going to change the name of the party from the Democratic Party to the Socialist Party.” pic.twitter.com/592vnWr6wq
— The Hill (@thehill) June 28, 2019
Again, there is no evidence for any kind of rumor along these lines anywhere from anyone remotely credible. Trump just made it up — which is certainly in character for him. He’s been documented to have publicly lied over 10,000 times in the first little more than two years or so of his presidency. Trump launched into his diatribe about Democrats supposedly embracing socialism after a reporter asked whether his administration had lost “momentum” in their effort to address the ongoing leadership crisis in Venezuela, where “socialist” Nicolas Maduro has refused to give up power in the face of a widely contested, basically sham election.
To be clear, not only is there no indication about any kind of looming name change for the Democrats, only one Democratic presidential candidate among the some two dozen currently in the race has even used the term for themselves and their policies, and even in that case they’ve used careful qualifiers. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has described himself as a democratic socialist, and countered criticism of his policy proposals by casting Trump as someone who supports socialism favoring only the upper classes. It is true that Trump’s tax reform plan signed into law in late 2017 majorly benefits upper class people while leaving lower income Americans in the dust. Corporate taxes collected by the U.S. government plunged to the lowest level in decades following the plan.
Some of the key policies defining Democrats’ supposed socialism include their proposed Medicare for all, which would extend government-led insurance to the entirety of the U.S. During the Democratic candidate debates this past week, the topic repeatedly came up and there was a stark divide in opinions about the way forward. Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren — who are generally in second and third place in polls measuring support in the field, respectively — both support getting right to that plan.
Frontrunner Joe Biden and numerous other candidates, however, do not, and some — like former Maryland Congressman John Delaney and Colorado Senator Michael Bennet — have made opposing Democrats’ supposed slip into socialism a defining tenet of their longshot campaigns. They would prefer more middle-ground policies, building on systems already in place like the Affordable Care Act, which Trump has repeatedly and occasionally successfully sought to undercut.
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