Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz recently made an appearance on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews. During the interview, Matthews asked the Chairwoman, “What is the difference between a Democrat and a socialist?”

Despite being pressed by Matthews, Wasserman Schultz refused to answer the question. In a follow-up interview on NBC’s Meet the Press a few days later, she was given the opportunity to clarify, but again refused to explain the difference.

This begs the question: what is the difference between a Democrat and a socialist?

On both programs, Wasserman Schultz attempted to avoid the question by pivoting to her perceived differences between Democrats and Republicans. Here’s what she said on Meet the Press:

“The difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Democrats want to make sure that people have the opportunity to reach, to climb the ladders of success and reach the middle class, have a good education, have a secure retirement…”

It’s a strong statement that sounds good. But is there more to the story? Let’s look at her distinctions, point by point:

  • “Democrats want to make sure that people have the opportunity to… reach the middle class.” In reality, many Democrat legislators endorse policies like job-killing minimum wage hikes and regulations that destroy jobs and block opportunities to reach the middle class. It’s why many liberals reacted apoplectically to Republican candidate Jeb Bush basing his presidential campaign on giving all Americans the “right to rise.”
  • “Democrats want to make sure that people have the opportunity to… have a good education.” In fact, Democrats are politically reliant on teachers’ unions. In doing so, Democrats stand against policies like school choice, school vouchers, and essentially every tool that would give underprivileged children the opportunity to have a better education than what our failing public schools offer.
  • “Democrats want to make sure that people have the opportunity to… have a secure retirement.” The truth is that Democrats fight tooth and nail against every piece of legislation that seeks to secure Americans’ retirements in the long-term. It’s also why 43 percent of millennials don’t expect to receive Social Security benefits.

Wasserman Schultz essentially espoused conservative ideas while trying to avoid the original question.

So back to that original question: What is the difference between a Democrat and a socialist? If Wasserman Schultz’s refusal – or inability – to clarify is any indication, there might not be a difference at all. But more important is knowing that what politicians say often sounds good, but the reality can be very different.

What do you think? Are there differences between the policies of today’s Democrats and those of socialists? If so, what are they? Give it some more thought on our Socialism page and sound off on Facebook.

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