Excerpt from FiveThirtyEight
Written by Andrew R. Lewis and Paul A. Djupe
For over a century, scholars have wondered why the United States has never had a viable socialist movement. Socialist parties in other Western democracies, such as Britain’s Labour Party and Germany’s Social Democratic Party, are regularly in and out of power, but the best socialist showing for president in the U.S. was Eugene Debs’s 6 percent in 1912.
Bernie Sanders has made socialism relevant again in this country. But will the U.S. join much of Western Europe in developing a successful socialist political tradition? Short of that, will the Sanders campaign ignite a new movement? Both are unlikely, at least for now, and a big part of the explanation why may lie in religion — religion inhibits socialism’s spread and explains its lack of political mobilization.