The Left thought that voters elected Obama because they were moving toward Socialism in response to the economic crisis. No.
Denying that Americans were moving toward socialism as a result of the financial crash in 2008 does not mean a denial that Americans are attracted to socialism. There are entitlements that many Americans love (and which Donald Trump promised not to touch) that are more socialist than free-market. But the Left had come to believe that the election of Obama meant a shift in the population toward socialism. They wanted more socialism.
In his column in the Washington Examiner, “The Collapse of the Political Left,” Michael Barone writes,
It’s not surprising that newsmagazine editors expected a move to the left. The history they’d been taught by New Deal admirers, influenced by the doctrines of Karl Marx, was that economic distress moves voters to demand a larger and more active government.
There was some empirical evidence in that direction as well. The recession triggered by the financial crisis of 2007-08 was the deepest experienced by anyone not old enough to remember the 1930s. Barack Obama was elected with 53 percent of the popular vote—more than any candidate since the 1980s—and Democrats had won congressional elections with similar majorities in 2006 and 2008.
Things look different now, and not just because Donald Trump was elected president. It has been clear that most voters have been rejecting big government policies, and not just in the United States but in most democratic nations around the world.
So, what happened? Not only does Donald Trump’s victory show that Americans weren’t moving toward socialism, but so did the elections in 2010 and 2014 which the voters only built upon in 2016. Yes, Bernie Sanders showed that socialism could sell to an enthusiastic (and superstitious, in my opinion) minority. But the majority didn’t favor such policies.
So why was Barack Obama elected?
While some moved toward socialism, the key lies in the 2006 victories of the Democrat Party. The economic crisis had not broken out then. Voters were rejecting the Republican Party as it was being reshaped by George W. Bush.
The one thing that Obama and Trump have in common is a repudiation of the Bush era. The difference is that Barack Obama didn’t really repudiate expanding the powers of the executive once he was the executive. He gave us indefinite detention and kill lists, expanding the drone program far beyond the Bush years. He got us involved in unnecessary wars.
In both 2008 and 2012, the Republican establishment doubled down on Bush by supporting big-government candidates, McCain and then Romney. Voters rejected them.
The entry of Donald Trump into the race was the first time we have had an alternative to Bush since 2006. The American people, in state after state, voted decisively in favor of the alternative. Jeb Bush was cast away early in the Primary. Hillary Clinton, who arguably had more in common with Bush than Trump has, was also defeated.
The consistent story here is that people rebelled against the Republican establishment, not that they moved toward socialism.
Heres a reminder of all the Losers who told us that Trump could not win:
He was the only one who could win.