If you asked Americans if they think you should be paid enough to pay your bills working a full-time job (a living wage), most would likely say yes.
But for Fox Business, whose slogan is “Capitalism lives here,” that’s apparently a frightening concept. On Monday, the network aired a segment entitled “Dems in Disarray,” featuring clips from rising Democratic star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s recent speech at a rally in Kansas with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).
“We are a nation that will not stop until every child is born with the opportunity to go to college or trade school free of cost,” Ocasio-Cortez said in the clip featured on Fox Business. “We will not stop until every person in this country is paid a living wage to lead a dignified life.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: "We will not rest until every person in this country is paid a living wage to lead a dignified life." pic.twitter.com/6u73x2kyVI
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) July 23, 2018
In the actual segment itself, Fox Business invited Hillary Clinton pollster Douglas Schoen — who worked on a campaign that lost to a former game show host and accused serial sexual predator with zero political experience — to explain why Democrats won’t win the midterm elections with socialist candidates.
“Bernie Sanders, Ortiz — uh, Ocasio-Ortiz, in Kansas of all places, where there are at least one marginal House seat, this is self-destructive behavior,” Schoen said, mispronouncing the candidate’s name. “Most Americans who vote in midterm elections are not socialist, don’t want socialist policies, and would like to know how we’re gonna pay for programs. As attractive as they may seem, we gotta be able to pay.”
However, Schoen’s perception of rural voters and what they think of socialism may not be entirely accurate. A 2016 poll conducted by Selzer & Co. of Iowa Caucus voters found that 43 percent of Democratic caucus participants personally identified as “socialist,” compared to just 38 percent of voters who identified as “capitalist.” Bernie Sanders split the state’s delegates with Hillary Clinton, with some precincts so close they were decided by a coin toss.
Support for a higher minimum wage is also a widely popular idea across the political spectrum, despite what Schoen may think. As early as 2015, the National Employment Law Project found that 75 percent of Americans supported raising the the current federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour to at least $12.50/hour by 2020, including a majority of Republicans.
If nothing else, Ocasio-Cortez’s surprise victory against a powerful, well-funded Democratic incumbent that political insiders never saw coming is a strong signal that the conventional wisdom of DC pollsters is becoming more and more obsolete.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.