Opinion | Socialism isn’t on the ballot, senator

Joni Ernst’s repeated accusations against Democrats are woefully unsubstantial.


Hannah Kinson

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) talks about her personal struggles during the Iowa GOP Reception at Hughes Family Barn in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. Facilitated by RPI Chairman Jeff Kaufmann, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Ernst discussed their hardships and highlights throughout their political roles and personal lives.

Peyton Downing, Opinions Editor

Joni Ernst and other Iowa Republicans seem to be reliving the 1960s, complete with McCarthyist attacks on their opposition. To the enemies of communists, socialists, anarchists, and any other extreme leftist philosophy, allow me to relieve you of your fears.

Socialism is not on the ballot. Not local, not state, and for God’s sake, certainly not national.

Sen. Ernst’s accusations of socialism in the Democratic party are constant and widespread, stating that her reelection is a “mission to stamp out socialism.” She says that her Democrat opponent Theresa Greenfield “supports a government takeover of health care,” and that “we don’t need a single-payer plan in the United States of America.”

Surprisingly enough, that’s not what Greenfield wants — she just wants to add a public option to health insurance.

See, the thing that gets me is that there are actually socialists in America. Yana Ludwig, for example — all the way out in Wyoming. In her platform, Ludwig explicitly states that she’s a socialist. So why isn’t she being propped up as an example of radical socialists in the Democratic party?

Because she lost the primary to a non-socialist.

“But what about Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez and Bernie Sanders? They’re democratic socialists,” I hear the McCarthyites cry out. Yes, they’re both self-described democratic socialists, but that label is a marketing scheme.

Nowhere in Cortez’s platform or Sanders’ platform do they advocate for public ownership of industry, the literal definition of socialism.

So why do they point to Scandinavian countries like Denmark, Sweden, and Finland as successful, democratically socialist countries?

Because Republicans have always called Democrats socialists. Rather than be afraid of the label they embraced it.

If people will be called socialists because they just want to accomplish what most other developed nations have accomplished, they’ll be socialists.

It’s a tired old trope that’s been played out since the days of Joseph McCarthy. It’s much easier to attack opponents on this drummed up fear of Venezuela socialism collapsing America than it is to attack a public healthcare option.

In all honesty, the greatest insult is the claim of Joe Biden being a socialist. I just cannot fathom it. This claim is laughable not only by my standard, but by the standard of Bernie Sanders, socialist supreme himself.

There is no one out in modern politics who is leading a national revolution for socialism. The Democratic party is not just going to flip itself on its head and suddenly seize the means of production — there’s no evidence that the party will do that.

Coming back to Iowa, it just needs to be said again. Greenfield isn’t a socialist. She’s just a mildly progressive Democrat who’s running against a woman who will lie about the opposition and then complain that she’ll get attacked.

But I will make one admission — from where Ernst sits politically, it makes total sense that she would confuse Greenfield for a socialist.

When you think that being pro-choice makes someone an “extreme abortionist,” reforming systemic racism is the same as accusing every officer and soldier as racist, and that trying to prevent climate catastrophes is a “radical environmental idea,” it makes perfect sense that you believe your opponent to be pushing an extremist ideology.

But that’s not because they’re a socialist. It’s because you’re so blinded by your own beliefs you don’t see how far from the center you are.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.