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> Could the US elect a Communist leader?, Democracy
RedCedar
post Feb 12 2006, 06:35 AM
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There was speculation that when FDR came to power DuPont and other rich industrialists during the depression made plots to overthrow FDR in fear of wealth redistribution.

Seeing how entrenched the billionares and corporations are in this country within the beltway, my question is this:

Could the US EVER elect a communist or socialist leader without major fraud or tampering in the elections, or even military rule or a take over??

Or even more importantly, could a "leader of the people" ever get enough exposure to run for president?




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Juber3
post Feb 12 2006, 07:18 AM
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Could the US EVER elect a communist or socialist leader without major fraud or tampering in the elections, or even military rule or a take over??

It depends on that way that the land is. In theory we could probley elect a communist leader, but I dont see at any point in the future or even in the far future to elect such a leader.


Or even more importantly, could a "leader of the people" ever get enough exposure to run for president?

They could probley get enough exposure to run, only if the press likes them. Remember the press has full control on who they interview. Due to the fact that America isnt exactly communist friendly, then the communist party, will most likely get bad exposure...

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skeeterses
post Feb 12 2006, 08:02 AM
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Could the US EVER elect a communist or socialist leader without major fraud or tampering in the elections, or even military rule or a take over??
In America, a politician could have socialist beliefs and get elected. But the politician could not run under a communist or socialist party. In Congress, there are extreme leftists such as Ted Kennedy and Barbara Boxer who would probably support a Government-ran economy. The Nixon administration tried price-controls during the oil crisis in the 1970s and that didn't work.

The American people as a whole though would not like that idea of any socialist system. The American people want reform in the Corporate Boardrooms for sure and would be willing to back any Government efforts to achieve that goal.
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Dingo
post Feb 12 2006, 08:04 AM
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QUOTE(RedCedar @ Feb 11 2006, 11:35 PM)
There was speculation that when FDR came to power DuPont and other rich industrialists during the depression made plots to overthrow FDR in fear of wealth redistribution.

Seeing how entrenched the billionares and corporations are in this country within the beltway, my question is this:


Could the US EVER elect a communist or socialist leader without major fraud or tampering in the elections, or even military rule or a take over??
Socialist leader no problem; as long as you drop the label. How many folks want to throw out Social Security? It is pure socialism and was first proposed by socialists and was simply coopted by the major parties. The pledge of allegiance to the flag was written by a socialist as was the patriotic song 'America the beautiful'. Americans love socialism in practice, they just don't like to admit to adopting the concept.

Communism is a little more problematic. However it seems to morph rather easily into corporate capitalism with a strong regulatory hand. The corporations love China because they've created a skilled, well regulated, uncomplaining, low cost work force which makes corporations just drool with the opportunity to invest. Maybe we'll get envious and decide to follow the Chinese model just to keep the money here.

I might add many of our neocons come schooled in Trotskyism (A communist variant) and their plans for "world revolution" show that they haven't fallen that far from the tree of their mentor.

Or even more importantly, could a "leader of the people" ever get enough exposure to run for president?
Isn't every politician trying to be a "leader of the people"?

This post has been edited by Dingo: Feb 12 2006, 08:09 AM
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CruisingRam
post Feb 12 2006, 11:02 AM
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In a word- no. We are the polar opposite of socialism, we are really a fascist culture. You can see it simply the way a corporate exec gets a 'pass" and are treated vs a union employee is treated- right here on this board. You would think that every single person in a union is a lying, lazy piece of trash, while business leaders in America are the paradigms of freedom and free thought. w00t.gif

If anything- we are moving farther and farther towards fascism- it is simply not gotten bad enough for socialism at this point.

We flirted with socialism because unrestrained capitalism doesn't work either. FDR put some restraints on this- and it was a "safety valve" to put hard working poeple wanting jobs back to work.

Desperation by folks that have worked hard, done everything the American dream told them to do, and still found themselves in the soup line is what led to our brief flirt with socialism.

We are starting to move back that direction- we still have enough poeple barely surviving and staying ahead of the repo man at this point, thinking " gee, if I just work harder, and be smarter, I will get ahead"- when of course, that is simply not true- but as long as they believe it- America is safe from Socialism thumbsup.gif
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AuthorMusician
post Feb 12 2006, 12:37 PM
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Could the US EVER elect a communist or socialist leader without major fraud or tampering in the elections, or even military rule or a take over??

Or even more importantly, could a "leader of the people" ever get enough exposure to run for president?

Both of these questions can be easily answered. What keeps the status quo going is the strength of the middle classes. As this strength wanes, the possibility of political upheaval increases. When you look at the history of communism, it has taken hold where an older system, usually feudalism, did not support middle classes. It's really very simple.

FDR might have seemed to be a threatening person to the wealthy class in the years before WW II, but he didn't really do much to encourage the growth of middle classes. What happened is fairly complex in the details, and I don't want to oversimplify. However, the formula is not that complex. When people can make a decent living, raise a family, buy a house, drive a car, eat well and have fun, things are stable. When this falls apart, things are not stable and the alternatives look better.

So is it possible that the US turns socialistic or communistic or some form of isticism? Sure. Is it probable? I hope not, don't really know. Let's see how things turn out. If the trend continues for money to flow forever upward, then yeah. It's very probable. Trending this out is very tricky though, as stuff happens all the time to change trends.
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Blackstone
post Feb 12 2006, 09:47 PM
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Could the US EVER elect a communist or socialist leader without major fraud or tampering in the elections, or even military rule or a take over??

If the people were of the opinion that a communist candidate was the one for them (very big If here, just so you know), there would be little chance of hanky-panky, at least under current conditions. But of course there's no real way of predicting what would happen in the event of long-term severe economic conditions.

Or even more importantly, could a "leader of the people" ever get enough exposure to run for president?

First of all, I need to make absolutely clear that I am in no way endorsing your premise that a communist or socialist leader would be any more a "leader of the people" than a candidate of any other ideological description. If what you're really trying to get at is that the people's natural choice would be communism, and that that goal is being frustrated by the powers-that-be, I don't think there's any support for such a notion at all. That doesn't mean that the people's views are in line with the powers-that-be, or that the latter don't try to frustrate the will of the the former (and often succeed). I think there's evidence that they do, but that certainly doesn't mean that the "will" that's being frustrated is a desire for communism.

Anyway, to answer your question, it's really an open question as to whether an avowedly socialistic candidate could attract attention from the press. I'm going on the assumption here that the press is mostly left-of-center (which I think there's enough evidence to support). One the one hand, they'd have an interest in shining a spotlight on a far-left candidate, so as to make the more mainstream leftist candidates look reasonable. On the other hand, they may be afraid that a candidate who advertises himself as communist might actually turn people off to the left and go with more rightward candidates.

But if I had to lay my money down, I think they'd go with the former strategy.
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Vermillion
post Feb 13 2006, 12:30 AM
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As has already been pointed out, a 'socialist' leader is a term far too open to interpretation.

To the right wing, Clinton was a socialist.

To the FAR-right wing, Bush jr. is a socialist. (After all he has presided over the single largest increase in US government, both in terms of size and power, in US history.)

The Canadian NDP party is the left wing of Canadian politics, and people in Canada call them socialists. But then the centrist party in Canada (the Liberals) is SO far left of US politics, that Americans call them socialists.

I have observed that in US politics, a socialist tends to be whoever stands slightly to the left of what you believe.

In otherwords, to some segment of the population, a socialist is elected in EVERY US election.




Now Communist is entirely different. Firstly, if anyone self-identified as a communist in US elections they would be instantly voteless. Firstly, the US has an all-too-recent mass decade long propaganda effort against any and all things communist. Those 'lessons' are still around, on the right it seems to call someone a 'Commie' is still a terrible insult.

But secondly, even beyond the sheer effect of decades of propaganda, the reality of the situation is that Communism is a philosophy which has lived its life. perhaps in the 1960s, when the USSR looked like it might represent a viable alternative to capitalism there was a reason for people to vote communist.

But what nations remain to hold up the flag of the internationale now? Just Cuba. North Korea has moved from communism into pure authoritarian totalitarianism. China is an authoritarian capitalist nation, which is growing by leaps and bounds because it has (quietly) embraced capitalism.

Now I have been to cuba a couple times, and it really is a nice, beautiful largely inoffensive country. But it hardly represents a real banner for Communism worldwide.

It took about 100 years for anyone to ever read more than the first half of the Communist manifesto. A lot of people read the first half, where Marx describes an idillic workers paradise, but few seem to have read to the end, where Marx himself declares that his system could never work.


So no, a self-declared communist politician could never be elected in the US, unless it were some kind of massive, crazy protest vote, like his opponent was a corrupt, ignorant, cowardly failed businessman and former drug-user or something...
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RedCedar
post Feb 13 2006, 06:21 AM
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I guess my question is more about the leaders of this country and what would they do, not necessarily would America approve of a communist.

Let's say hypothetically that at least 60% of the people wanted someone that say would increase minimum wages, cap earnings for execs, increase taxes for the wealthy, etc. etc. To a large degree, not just small measures.

Right not the corporations and big money run the gov't. No question about it. I often wonder if Paul Wellstone were murdered just so they could get a majority and pass those tax cuts.

But lets say a person who 60-65% of the people wanted to take power with the above mentioned causes were running. Do you think he would be taken out if elected? Do you think there would be a large effort to commit fraud?

I'm not really concerned with if Americans want or would vote for a communist. Just what would be the reaction by the "elites" running the country now.

And also, with corporate run media and now rumors of regulating the internet, could such a person be squashed from public exposure? And hence never get a shot at power?


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Borgen
post Feb 13 2006, 01:19 PM
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Not a chance.

Communism is as dead and discredited as The Flat Earth Society or Prohibition.
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Amlord
post Feb 13 2006, 02:37 PM
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Let's avoid using one liners.

Questions for debate:

Could the US EVER elect a communist or socialist leader without major fraud or tampering in the elections, or even military rule or a take over??

Or even more importantly, could a "leader of the people" ever get enough exposure to run for president?
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Ted
post Feb 13 2006, 04:37 PM
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Could the US EVER elect a communist or socialist leader without major fraud or tampering in the elections, or even military rule or a take over??

Or even more importantly, could a "leader of the people" ever get enough exposure to run for president?


Well we have folks in Congress that many of us consider “socialists” and even the Socialists consider the “Progressives” part of their own. ..

Socialism in America is alive, well, and growing. Aided by such influential Congressmen as John Conyers, Ranking Member of the House Judicial Committee, David Bonior, the pit-bull-dog who successfully whipped Newt, Maxine Waters, the President's outspoken defender in the impeachment debates, and nearly 60 other Representatives, socialism is advancing in America behind the "Progressive" label. Here are a few excerpts taken directly from the web page of the Democratic Socialists of America. (Italicized emphasis provided)
"The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is the largest socialist organization in the United States, and the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International. DSA's members are building progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly socialist presence in American communities and politics.

http://www.sovereignty.net/center/socialists.htm


IMO no one who used the label “Socialist” could ever be elected President. The total failure of “World Socialism” and Communism in the last century pretty much seals their fate. Esp. Communism which generally demands total control of the economy by the government. How anyone could consider this is beyond me.
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srobert
post Feb 14 2006, 05:27 PM
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QUOTE(RedCedar @ Feb 11 2006, 10:35 PM)
 
Could the US EVER elect a communist or socialist leader without major fraud or tampering in the elections, or even military rule or a take over??

"EVER" is the key word there. Yes, but not until long after the death of anyone old enough to remember the cold war. i.e. not in my lifetime.
Still, Communists have gained popular support in some popularly elected governments. There's no reason to assume that the same thing couldn't happen here in the future, particularly if other methods for addressing the concerns of the labor aren't implemented, such as allowing workers to organize. The fact that unions successfully created the middle class, is the main reason that communism failed to take root in 20th century America. As unions grow weaker, wages stagnate, and power accumulates to increasingly corrupt Capitalists, the Communist viewpoint may gain popularity.
Capitalism works better, but only if the power of Capitalists is balanced by protections to workers (and to the environment). In the absence of such protections, the promises of communism will gain popularity.
QUOTE

Or even more importantly, could a "leader of the people" ever get enough exposure to run for president?
 
*
 

Yes, but I think it would be easier for an LOTP to get the exposure if the news media were not dominated a by corporate minded oligarchy. The restoration of laws limiting ownership of news media and new forms of media might bring the possibility of political popularity to candidates who don't bow before wealthy heads of corporations.
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skepticasm
post Feb 28 2006, 03:21 AM
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QUOTE(srobert @ Feb 14 2006, 12:27 PM)
QUOTE(RedCedar @ Feb 11 2006, 10:35 PM)
 
Could the US EVER elect a communist or socialist leader without major fraud or tampering in the elections, or even military rule or a take over??

"EVER" is the key word there. Yes, but not until long after the death of anyone old enough to remember the cold war. i.e. not in my lifetime.
Still, Communists have gained popular support in some popularly elected governments. There's no reason to assume that the same thing couldn't happen here in the future, particularly if other methods for addressing the concerns of the labor aren't implemented, such as allowing workers to organize. The fact that unions successfully created the middle class, is the main reason that communism failed to take root in 20th century America. As unions grow weaker, wages stagnate, and power accumulates to increasingly corrupt Capitalists, the Communist viewpoint may gain popularity.
Capitalism works better, but only if the power of Capitalists is balanced by protections to workers (and to the environment). In the absence of such protections, the promises of communism will gain popularity.
QUOTE

Or even more importantly, could a "leader of the people" ever get enough exposure to run for president?
 
*
 

Yes, but I think it would be easier for an LOTP to get the exposure if the news media were not dominated a by corporate minded oligarchy. The restoration of laws limiting ownership of news media and new forms of media might bring the possibility of political popularity to candidates who don't bow before wealthy heads of corporations.
*


No, communism will not gain a foothold in America. You have to have a united front of the masses to promote communism. The USA public can't see to agree that government for this people and by this people is waning. They are so overtaken by their own current event particulars that they would never come to the point of the self sacrifice required to re-establish the United States Consitution. What would ever make anyone think communism would stand a chance.
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theironman
post Feb 28 2006, 03:41 AM
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Could the US EVER elect a communist or socialist leader without major fraud or tampering in the elections, or even military rule or a take over??

Considering the predominant voting bloc in the U.S. was exposed to such intense anti-communist fervor throughout their early, developmental years, and further considering the dark connotations already attached to that term in America, I can't see a nominally communist candidate ever successfully winning an election.

Or even more importantly, could a "leader of the people" ever get enough exposure to run for president?

Well, if you infuse a particular candidate with socialist politics while simultaneously avoiding the labels of "liberal", "pinko" or "commie" and focusing on a populist agenda, that candidate could potentially run a modestly successful campaign.

This post has been edited by theironman: Feb 28 2006, 03:44 AM
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A left Handed pe...
post Feb 28 2006, 04:31 PM
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Could the US EVER elect a communist or socialist leader without major fraud or tampering in the elections, or even military rule or a take over??

No. The people don't want communism, plain and simple.

Communism has mainly thrived in areas of mass poverty, and we simply don't have that here. The middle class is larger then the lower the class in America, and communism dictates that the lower class (which used to form the majority of even first world societies in Marxes days) rise up against the rest of society.

People here also have an intellectual objection to it. Mainly that it assumes with much evidence to the contrary, that people aren't innately selfish. It cites the noble savage, but there has never been such a thing, and this is proven by observation of virginal hunter gatherer communities. Egalitarianism exists in them to be sure, but that is simply because there is not enough food support class distinctions, and homicide rates are insanely high, as conflict resolution can only be done via personal action, as there is no governing authority.

In practice, communism has proven to be corrupt, economically degradating, dogmatic, and precarious. It has killed millions through poor management, and the out right genocide of the middle and upper classes.

Thus, why would anyone think communism would be good?

Philosophers define the worlds problems with variable degrees of accuracy, but where they all blunder, is in thinking there is a solution.

Or even more importantly, could a "leader of the people" ever get enough exposure to run for president?

We already have a socialist party don't we? I've never heard of any of their canidates, so I assume the answer to your question is no.

The corporations love China because they've created a skilled, well regulated, uncomplaining, low cost work force which makes corporations just drool with the opportunity to invest. Maybe we'll get envious and decide to follow the Chinese model just to keep the money here.

364 day work years, periodic 24-36 hour work shifts, frequent employee death via machinery, starvation wages, beatings, a government which makes unions illegal...

Yeah...

China is a pretty great place for business, mind you, i'm not particularly envious of the Chinese.

This post has been edited by A left Handed person: Feb 28 2006, 04:36 PM
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Cookie Parker
post Mar 4 2006, 03:29 PM
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[
QUOTE
I guess my question is more about the leaders of this country and what would they do, not necessarily would America approve of a communist.

Let's say hypothetically that at least 60% of the people wanted someone that say would increase minimum wages, cap earnings for execs, increase taxes for the wealthy, etc. etc. To a large degree, not just small measures.

Right not the corporations and big money run the gov't. No question about it. I often wonder if Paul Wellstone were murdered just so they could get a majority and pass those tax cuts.

But lets say a person who 60-65% of the people wanted to take power with the above mentioned causes were running. Do you think he would be taken out if elected? Do you think there would be a large effort to commit fraud?


I think since the wealthy have enjoyed enormous gains in profits, price gouging, and tax funded corporations, there is a possibility that anyone looking to threaten that would be "taken out". Face it, nothing begets greed more than greed.

However, I agree with the statement on here that the middle class is what runs any nation economically and I think with a revolt against the impoverished working conditions, wages, and benefits, that the wealthy will have to make concessions. The only way to bring down the wealthy is to boycott, IMHO. I'm not so sure Americans can give up their conspicuous consumption long enough to look forward to the common good of our nation.
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