From The Wall Street Journal The Democrats’ Socialist Surge by Jason Riley:


If the Democratic Party once felt the need to distinguish itself from socialism, that no longer seems to be the case. When Mr. Sanders entered Congress in 1991, “Democrats initially balked at accepting a Socialist in their caucus,” according to the “Almanac of American Politics.” Eventually, however, he was granted seniority status as a Democrat, and he used it to push a progressive agenda that included tax increases, single-payer health care, a 50% reduction in military spending and a national energy policy.

It was working-class voters who backed Debs a century ago, but Mr. Sanders’s socialism appeals mainly to upper-middle-class professionals and fits neatly within the parameters of mainstream, income-inequality-obsessed Democratic politics in the 21st century. He may have an affinity for a political ideology that has given the world everything from the Soviet Gulag to modern-day Greece, but in this age of Obama, the senator is just another liberal with a statist agenda.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the head of the Democratic National Committee, was visibly rattled when MSNBC host Chris Matthews asked her recently to explain “the difference between a Democrat and a Socialist.”

Her nonresponse: “The more important question is, ‘What is the difference between being a Democrat and being a Republican?’ ”

Mr. Matthews pressed her: “I used to think there was a big difference. What do you think it is? A Democrat like Hillary and a Socialist like Bernie Sanders.” Ms. Wasserman Schultz refused to answer. And why should she? These days, it’s largely a distinction without a difference.