by Cliff Maloney
Originally posted at Investors.com, January 2, 2019
Eight months after Election Day, Democrats are still doubling down on socialist dogma.
When asked to describe the future of the “progressive movement,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., responded: “Taking on the billionaire class, health care for all through a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system, (and) raising the minimum wage to a living wage.” Newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D-N.Y. — the personification of her party’s leftward lurch — echoed Sanders’ sentiment, claiming “it’s time for #MedicareForAll.”
Ocasio-Cortez is championing the “Green New Deal,” the Left’s latest attempt to explode government spending on welfare programs. Based on Jill Stein’s 2016 policy platform, the “Green New Deal” is projected to cost upwards of $1 trillion annually (see: Stein’s own estimate).
Ocasio-Cortez’s brand of socialism is far less transparent, promising much yet providing little detail. Indeed, the devil of Cortezian collectivism is in the stubborn, not-so-little details. According to one Mercatus Center study, #MedicareForAll alone would cost a whopping $32.6 trillion over a decade — more than the economies of India, Japan, Germany, Russia, Indonesia, Brazil, and the United Kingdom combined.
Alas, the specter of socialism lies not in its sky-high costs, but rather its soaring popularity — especially among millennials. According to a recent Victims of Communism/YouGov survey, 52% of millennials would prefer to live in a socialist (46%) or communist (6%) country rather than a capitalist (40%) one.
Embracing Free Markets
It begs the question: How do freedom advocates educate Americans about the perils of socialism, and encourage them to embrace free-market policies?
Centuries ago, our first president gave us the answer: “Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.”
As George Washington suggested, the solution to socialism is grassroots activism. The fight for limited government is one that must be waged on the ground — door by door, neighborhood to neighborhood. Everyday Americans will begin to understand socialism’s many costs if it is explained to them face-to-face — on a personal level.
It is not enough for congressional Republicans to use their bully pulpit. Soundbites on Fox News Channel are not enough. White papers and policy briefs — while informative — are not enough. TV spots and Facebook ads — while eye-catching — are not enough.
If anything, freedom advocates can take a page from the Left’s playbook — the playbook of marching and protesting that threatens to undermine the Trump presidency. It’s the same playbook that enabled the Women’s March — and the #BlackLivesMatter movement before that — to capitalize on social unrest, and shift public opinion.
But this means doing the hard work that nobody else wants to do: Organizing and mobilizing. Nearly one year ago, my organization — Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) — launched its most ambitious undertaking yet: A grassroots project known as Operation Win at the Door. Organizing and mobilizing thousands of youth activists, YAL is leveraging its presence on college campuses and aiming it directly at the American political process.
Knocking On Doors
Our objective is simple: To identify legislative candidates who share our vision, and send teams of door-knockers to propel them to victory. This, in turn, will allow us to establish liberty caucuses within state governments across the country. Eventually, many of these “liberty legislators” will gain the experience necessary to run for even higher office, inspiring future pro-liberty candidates to follow in their footsteps.
In November, we delivered. Fast forward to today, and we have 37 electoral victories under our belt. Nowhere was the presence of liberty felt more than in Vermont’s Franklin-7 House District—the heart of Bernie Sanders country. It was there that our candidate, Felisha Leffler — a fiery, outspoken, 23-year old, conservative woman — defeated a liberal incumbent handpicked by Sanders himself.
Door-knocking works. The American people are tired of the big-government bologna that the establishment of both parties continues to feed them. Door by door, we can extinguish the wildfire of socialism, and reclaim a free America.
Now, we ready our knuckles for the next election cycle, growing the tree of liberty that America desperately needs.
Cliff Maloney is the president of Young Americans for Liberty.