Most 2020 Dems reject socialism label

Most 2020 Dems reject socialism label
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Most of the Democratic presidential candidates are working to distance themselves from socialism, a label that could divide the party. 

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDemocrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Overnight Energy: BLM staff face choice of relocation or resignation as agency moves | Trump says he's 'very much into climate' | EPA rule would expand limits on scientific studies Krystal Ball credits Gabbard's upswing in 2020 race to 'feckless' Democratic establishment MORE (D-Mass.) and former Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyBloomberg run should push Warren to the center — but won't The Hill's 12:30 Report: Impeachment fight enters new stage Biden hits Warren over 'Medicare for All' plan MORE (D-Md.), who are each vying for the Democratic nomination, this weekend embraced capitalism and said they are not democratic socialists. 


In doing so, they followed in the footsteps of several other Democratic candidates, including Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisOutsider candidates outpoll insider candidates Poll: Buttigieg leads Democratic field in Iowa Press: Another billionaire need not apply MORE (D-Calif.) and former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeO'Rourke says he 'absolutely' plans to stay in politics Krystal Ball: Buttigieg is 'the boomer candidate' Language is a weapon in political warfare — if the media play along MORE (D-Texas), who is considering a 2020 bid.

The push among many candidates to distance themselves from democratic socialism comes as Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Overnight Health Care: Top health official defends contract payments to Trump allies | Vaping advocates confident Trump will turn from flavor ban | Sanders gets endorsement from nurses union Krystal Ball credits Gabbard's upswing in 2020 race to 'feckless' Democratic establishment MORE (I-Vt.), a contender for the 2020 nomination, has embraced the label and Republican leaders have seized on socialism as an attack line on Democrats.

Hickenlooper, who announced his candidacy last week, said during an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation" that he "absolutely" rejects the label of democratic socialist, though he added that he thinks labels "do nothing but divide us."

"I'm happy to say I'm a capitalist but I think at a certain point the labels do nothing but divide us," he said. "What I'm trying to build this campaign around, is to say that as a country we've got to stop finding every excuse to divide ourselves and begin working together."

Warren, meanwhile, has previously embraced capitalism and said Sunday that she is not a democratic socialist.

"I am not. And the centrists have to speak to whatever they are doing. What I can speak is to is how I am doing," Warren also said Saturday during an interview at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, according to CNN.
"All I can tell you is what I believe," she added. "And that is there is an enormous amount to be gained from markets. That markets create opportunities."
Delaney argued in a CNN op-ed that Democrats should embrace capitalism and that "socialism is not the answer."
"In its pure form, it is a bad economic model and it's the wrong political approach," he wrote.
Harris said during a campaign stop in New Hampshire last month that she is "not a democratic socialist." Additionally, O'Rourke last month declared that he is a "capitalist."

“I don’t see how we’re able to meet any of the fundamental challenges that we have as a country without, in part, harnessing the power of the market,” O’Rourke told reporters in El Paso, Texas. 

Spokespeople for Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerOutsider candidates outpoll insider candidates The Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg looks to upend Democratic race Poll: Biden support hits record low of 26 percent MORE (D-N.J.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSenate panel clears controversial Trump court pick Advocates step up efforts for horse racing reform bill after more deaths Harris proposes keeping schools open for 10 hours a day MORE (D-N.Y.), who are each seeking the nomination, also confirmed to the Associated Press last year that they don't consider themselves democratic socialists. Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharGoogle sparks new privacy fears over health care data Krystal Ball credits Gabbard's upswing in 2020 race to 'feckless' Democratic establishment Outsider candidates outpoll insider candidates MORE (D-Minn.) also clarified during an MSNBC interview this month that she is "not a socialist."

The campaigns for Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardOutsider candidates outpoll insider candidates Krystal Ball: Tulsi Gabbard surges, is she the most electable? New Quinnipiac poll finds Biden leading in New Hampshire MORE (D-Hawaii) and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) did not immediately return requests from The Hill seeking clarification on whether they consider themselves democratic socialists.

But even as the majority of the Democratic candidates have embraced capitalism, leaders in the GOP have highlighted a growing interest in democratic socialism to attack the party as a whole.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report MORE said during his State of the Union address last month that he was "alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell protege emerges as Kentucky's next rising star Hillicon Valley: Schumer questions Army over use of TikTok | Federal court rules against random searches of travelers' phones | Groups push for election security funds in stopgap bill | Facebook's new payment feature | Disney+ launch hit by glitches McConnell, GOP leaders say they won't be watching House impeachment hearing MORE (R-Ky.) said last week that Democrats have taken "a sharp and abrupt left turn toward socialism."

"A flawed ideology that has been rejected time and again across the world is now driving the marquee policy proposals of the new House Democrat majority," McConnell said from the Senate floor.

Proponents of democratic socialism have argued that it's necessary to guarantee citizens adequate health care, housing and education as well as to expand the rights of workers. 

Sanders said last month during an interview with MSNBC that his support of democratic socialism means he views "economic rights as human rights."

“I happen to believe that in the year 2019, with all of the wealth around us, we can create an economy which guarantees health care to all people as a human right," he said. "Which guarantees education, from child care to higher education, as a human right. Which guarantees the right of people to have decent and affordable housing."