NY Times Cheers Democratic Socialism Again: 'Something Unique to Fight For'

October 17th, 2019 12:45 AM

New York Times reporter Isabella Grullon Paz devoted nearly 1,500 words (plus three flattering photographs of her subjects) in her Wednesday edition profile of the Young Democratic Socialists of America chapter at Ohio State University: “Why Some Young Voters Bolt the Democratic Party For Democratic Socialism.”

The long story was long on pushing the students' youthful enthusiasm, and entirely absent of questioning the wisdom of trying to outflank the Democratic Party, already careening toward the left on gun control, abortion, immigration, and transgenderism (click “expand”):

As Tuesday night’s Democratic debate approached, members of the Young Democratic Socialists of America chapter at Ohio State University tried to figure out where to focus their energy.

At a meeting on campus last week designed to set their goals for the year, they talked about labor organizing, volunteering for Morgan Harper’s congressional campaign and hosting a town hall-style event focused on climate change.


The group’s effort to take on an aggressive and expansive agenda reflects the enormous energy on the far left heading into the 2020 election, and part of the appeal of democratic socialism in this cycle: setting an array of big goals to help deepen a movement that goes beyond one-off protest events and marches.

For many young, progressive Americans, democratic socialism is a far better representation of their ambitions of far-reaching structural change across the economy and society than the agenda of the Democratic Party, which they see as overly influenced by corporate interests, big-money donors and moderate traditionalists.

The attempt at Ohio State to define objectives also comes as the Democratic presidential contenders are locked in a battle over what direction the party should take in order to win in 2020. That dynamic will be on display Tuesday night less than 15 miles from O.S.U., when the candidates gather for the fourth primary debate at Otterbein University in Westerville.

Two top candidates, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, have successfully pushed the primary conversation to the left. The D.S.A. saw drastic growth in its membership when Mr. Sanders, himself a democratic socialist, ran for president in 2016, and there are now nearly 60,000 members across the country.....

Suffice to say that one doesn’t ever this kind of cheerleading for conservative groups on campus; witness the paper’s consistent hostility to conservative sentiments at Texas A&M, a rare-right leaning public university:

The chapter at O.S.U. was small for the past two years, with only 10 or 11 active members. Still, the group managed to create a campus campaign around Fight for $15, an effort to raise the minimum wage of university staff members to $15 an hour. They won that battle in August.

Now, each meeting draws 40 to 50 members, each one with a different reason for joining and something unique to fight for.

A college professor soft-pedaled the definition of “Democratic Socialism” as not really being against capitalism “per se”:

“I don’t think they’re totally abandoning capitalism per se, but certainly they’re more likely to embrace policies tied to what we characterize as socialism,” said Melissa Deckman, chair of the political science department at Washington College in Chestertown, Md., who is working on a book about the political engagement of Generation Z. “They’re interested in free college tuition or in expanding health care.”

Predictably, the cheerleading continued (click “expand”):

As they grew up in the wake of a recession and watched the effects of climate change unfold, the Black Lives Matter movement form and gay marriage be legalized, the students were often just a click away from finding the next progressive policy to support.

Nathan Webster, a second-year electrical engineering major at Ohio State, learned about the Democratic Socialists of America through protests in his hometown, Painesville, Ohio, aimed at abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


They’re more willing to have a bigger role for government to play in our lives,” [Deckman] said. “This younger generation is growing up seeing what deregulation is doing to the Earth, is doing to their ability to afford college, among other things. I think that’s why they’re finding democratic socialist ideas appealing.”

“A bigger role for government,” but not for border enforcement, which apparently should be abolished? Those and other contradictions aren’t explored. Instead, expediently blurry definitions of socialism were offered: “Some of their parents were introduced to socialism during the Cold War, giving the word an entirely different meaning.”

The paper has previously tried to pave the way for the Democratic Socialism movement in the United States. In January The Times ran a flattering half-page profile of a socialist in the Virginia House of Delegates.

In October 2018, reporter Liam Stack’s profile of the Democratic Socialists of America was titled: “In Maine, Freewheeling Capitalism Hits a Bump -- Democrat in Senate Race Is a Long Shot, but His Socialist Solutions Seem to Be Resonating.”

In September 2018, reporter Maggie Astor penned a bizarrely enthusiastic "Choose Your Own Adventure”-style promotional quiz promoting the DSA.