Hickenlooper: Capitalist vs. socialist labels 'do nothing but divide us'

Hickenlooper: Capitalist vs. socialist labels 'do nothing but divide us'
© Greg Nash

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), who announced last week his bid for the White House in 2020, on Sunday dismissed as "silly" the effort to sort presidential contenders as capitalists or socialists.

"We define people by these labels that often have all kinds of associations and baggage with them in that sense. Do I believe in small business? Of course I believe in small business," Hickenlooper said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

"I think it’s kind of a silly question," he added. "We should look at some of the reasons why we have less and less start-ups. We should look at the reasons why more and more people aren't wanting to start a business."

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Hickenlooper attracted attention in some circles after he declined to call himself a "proud capitalist" during an interview on MSNBC on Friday.

On Sunday, he called it "ridiculous" for Republicans to attempt to label him and other Democrats anti-business socialists.

"Once you get back into these labels -- am I capitalist, am I socialist, how much of a capitalist am I versus how much of a socialist -- it becomes kind of silly doesn’t it?

"I’m happy to say I’m a capitalist, but I think at a certain point the labels do nothing but divide us," he continued. "And what I’m trying to build this campaign around is as a country we’ve got to stop finding every excuse to divide ourselves."

Hickenlooper formally launched his campaign last Thursday in Denver. He has embraced ideas like implementing universal health care, promoting a green economy and increasing taxes on the wealthy.

Republicans have attempted to portray progressive Democrats as in favor of socialist policies as the party's left wing pushes policies like the Green New Deal, "Medicare for all" and increased tax rates on wealthier Americans.

Candidates like Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTop Sanders adviser: Warren isn't competing for 'same pool of voters' Eight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall In shift, top CEOs say shareholder value not top goal MORE (D-Mass.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisEight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall Biden, Buttigieg bypassing Democratic delegate meeting: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump on defense over economic jitters MORE (D-Calif.) have in recent days distanced themselves from the label of Democratic Socialism.