I have followed the beginning of the 2020 presidential campaign undecided whether to cry or laugh. That is to say, I am undecided whether to view the unfolding season as a tragic or farcical circumstance.
Of particular agony is the back-and-forth between President Trump and his sycophants on the one side and the nominal Democratic wunderkind AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for those living on another planet) on the other. Trumpers label her as a dangerous socialist and vow to defend America against a resurgence of socialism. AOC returns the volley by declaring that she is, indeed a socialist, and the socialistic redistribution of billionaire fortune is what's best for the United States. Mainstream Democrats are terrified that AOC and her Millennial fans will hijack the 2020 primary campaign and once again allow the Democrats to seize defeat from the jaws of victory.
Between AOC and The Donald, I doubt that a single page of the writings of Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin, or Mao Zedong have been read and digested.
There were serious revolutions in the 19th and early 20th century. Marx's writings on class warfare, the theory of surplus value and related topics were once seriously studied and gave some foundation to serious revolutionary thinkers. There were ferocious debates, particularly in Bolshevik Soviet Union post-1917 that led to firing squads and other serious consequences. Socialism in one country of Stalin versus permanent revolution of Trotsky was a core issue in shaping world revolution in the 1930s. The Popular Front Against Fascism was Stalin's approach to align with the United States and others to defeat the Nazis. 20 million Russians and 23 million Chinese died in the fight. 16 million Americans were sent to battle in Europe and the Pacific during World War II. But the moment the war ended, the new Cold War started. It was a struggle between Soviet Communism and Western Democracy, led by the United States. It had real consequences. It led to the rise of what President Eisenhower warned of as the "military-industrial complex" in his Farewell Address.
Relative to these genuine battles over ideas, I find the current debate worse than farce. If the best that the two major parties can come up with in the upcoming presidential and congressional elections is a debate over "socialism for dummies," then the real losers will be the American people.
I hope this thread sparks some response. I am touching on a big subject in a few words. Is there a genuine emergence of Millennial Socialism? AOC's self-proclaimed Green New Deal has nothing to do with FDR's actions in 1933, which were aimed, in part, at preparing the United States for the next war that was already looming in Europe. Reichstag Fire was February 27,1933. FDR was inaugurated March 4, 1933–not even a week later. Serious times demand serious ideas and rich debate. Not kindergarten name calling from the peanut gallery.