Yes, Virginia: Hitler really was a socialist

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Much hay has been made of late regarding a decades-old debate as to whether Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were socialists.

On the face of it, the argument may seem ridiculous. … After all, the name of the party was National Socialist German Workers' Party. For some, it should be as simple as that. They called themselves socialists, so they were socialists.

However, proponents of the idea that Hitler and the Nazis were diametrically opposed to socialism point out numerous reasons that this simple explanation is, by itself, insufficient, and in fact can point out several facts, which clearly demonstrate that the Nazis were socialist in name only, but not in ideology.

As is generally (and gloriously) true, the truth behind this debate is extremely nuanced and takes effort to discover. But it is very clearly there.

RELATED: Hitler's Quest for the Holy Grail? New Book Explores Nazi Obsession With the Occult

For those of you looking for the Cliff's Notes version, here is the answer: Yes, Hitler and the Nazis were socialists, for the simple reasons that they were staunchly anti-capitalist and believed that the means of production in their society should be controlled by a centralized state power. That is very clear from their writings, their words and their actions. Done and done.

Much hay has been made of late regarding a decades-old debate as to whether Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were socialists.

On the face of it, the argument may seem ridiculous. … After all, the name of the party was National Socialist German Workers' Party. For some, it should be as simple as that. They called themselves socialists, so they were socialists.

However, proponents of the idea that Hitler and the Nazis were diametrically opposed to socialism point out numerous reasons that this simple explanation is, by itself, insufficient, and in fact can point out several facts, which clearly demonstrate that the Nazis were socialist in name only, but not in ideology.

As is generally (and gloriously) true, the truth behind this debate is extremely nuanced and takes effort to discover. But it is very clearly there.

For those of you looking for the Cliff's Notes version, here is the answer: Yes, Hitler and the Nazis were socialists.

For those of you looking for the Cliff's Notes version, here is the answer: Yes, Hitler and the Nazis were socialists, for the simple reasons that they were staunchly anti-capitalist and believed that the means of production in their society should be controlled by a centralized state power. That is very clear from their writings, their words and their actions. Done and done.

Now, for those of you looking for a more complete and nuanced analysis of the topic, please consider the following thoughts:

With a recent article in Vox as case-in-point, those who believe that Hitler and the Nazis were not socialists will generally put forward some version of the following arguments:

  • 1. The Nazis did not preach or practice pure, "classical" socialism, so they weren't socialists.
  • 2. The Nazis were not the true Socialist party in Germany — there were already socialist and communist political parties in Germany — when they adopted the term "socialism."
  • 3. The Nazis were fascists, not socialists. Everyone knows fascism is right wing, socialism is left wing.
  • 4. The Nazis only adopted the title of "socialist" for political reasons, not ideological ones.
  • 5. The Nazis were staunchly anti-communist and anti-Marxist, therefore they couldn't have been socialists.
  • 6. The Nazis were racists and nationalists, so they couldn't have been socialists.
  • 7. The Nazis did not seize all private property and money, so they weren't socialists.
  • 8. Hitler was only interested in power, in being a dictator, not in socialist principals of peace and love and equality…

I'll address each of these in turn, but the above arguments and themes all miss a central and critical reality … and demonstrates a lack of critical thinking as well.

What's missing from the simple question of "Was Hitler a socialist?" is this: When do you mean?

It's a vital component of any coherent discussion, for two reasons.

First, because when examined over a timeline it becomes perfectly clear that yes, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party was an extremely, very clearly socialist-aligned organization at the time of their founding. One could argue that over time the specific manifestation of Nazi-socialism did drift away from what is today viewed as "classical"' or archetypal socialism (also a misnomer, which I'll cover shortly) and toward a nationalistic, "Germanified" socialism. During the build-up to war, it then morphed further into economic-statist policies of fascism and eventually a fascist-dictatorship.

Second, it's vital to note the shift and migration "from" socialism "to" a dictatorship because this is almost always what ends up happening when socialism, communism and/or Marxism implemented in any country (as evidenced by Germany's Hitler, the Soviet Union's Joseph Stalin, China's Mao Zedong, Cuba's Fidel Castro, Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro, etc).

Marxist-collectivist systems devolving into brutal dictatorship with some elements of Marxist-philosophy remaining is the norm, not the exception. I'll leave what that says about Marxism to your own judgment.

So, with that said, let's start at the very beginning (a very good place to start), and review the historical record:

1. The Nazis did not preach or practice pure, "classical" socialism, so they weren't socialists.

Statements like this one are generally followed with quotes from Hitler or some other Nazi leader saying something negative about socialism, or examples of a policy like leaving most manufacturing in private hands as proof that the Nazi Party wasn't a socialist organization. But generally, those quotes and those policies were from much later in the Nazi-Germany saga.

What is conveniently ignored is the fact that Hitler joined the German Workers' Party in 1919, when he was 30 years old. Six years before he wrote "Mein Kampf," and 14 years before he was appointed chancellor of Germany.

So, at the time the political party was formed, what did it espouse and believe? And what did Hitler espouse and believe?

History is abundantly clear on this. As we know from "The Coming of the Third Reich"by Richard J. Evans, we know because Hitler joined the German Workers' Party, a party he'd initially been ordered to spy on and join by his Germany Army Intelligence handlers. It's key to note that the original name of the group was the German Socialist Worker's Party (italics mine), but party-supporter and journalist Karl Herrer recommended against including the word "socialist" because it might be confused with another local political party (the Social Democratic Party of Germany) and might make it more challenging to gain the support of his middle-class newspaper subscribers. Subsequently, the name was shortened to German Workers' Party. Author F.L. Carlsten makes that clear in his book, "The Rise of Fascism."

Hitler joined the party and within a few months had risen to a level of authority. Having spoken publicly for the first time at a party meeting just weeks after joining, by early 1920 he was appointed chief of propaganda, a period of party history covered in excellent detail in "The Rise and Fall of Nazi Germany" by T.L. Jarman.

As the party grew in prominence, Hitler believed they needed a public manifesto that clearly articulated the party's political beliefs and platform. He, along with party founders Gottfried Feder, Dietrich Eckart, and Anton Drexler, wrote a manifesto titled, The National Socialist Program. As explained in William Shirer's seminal, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich"(a work every American should read), on that same day, the German Workers' Party changed its name to the National Socialist German Workers' Party. Hitler arranged a public meeting at a large Beer-Hall and personally read the manifesto aloud to more than 2,000 attendees, receiving ever increasing applause as he continued.

You can review the entire 25-point plan here, and yes, it is a platform that is filled with anti-Semitic and nationalist themes, but a review of several of the key points of the manifesto are important to understand their political beliefs as they orient around socialist and Marxist philosophy.

"…We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens…"

"…The first obligation of every citizen must be to productively work, mentally or physically..."

"…The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality [the state], but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all..." [italics mine]

"…We demand the Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery…"

"…In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore, we demand the total confiscation of all war profits…"

"…We demand the nationalisation of all (previous) associated industries..." [italics mine]

"…We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries…"

"…We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare…"

"…We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation…"

"…We demand the immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality…"

"…We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death…" [italics mine]

"…We demand substitution of a German common law in place of the [existing] Roman Law serving a materialistic world-order…"

"…The state is to be responsible for a fundamental reconstruction of our whole national education program, to enable every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education…"

"…The comprehension of the concept of the state must be striven for by the school as early as the beginning of understanding…"

"…We demand the education at the expense of the state of outstanding intellectually gifted children of poor parents without consideration of position or profession…"

"…The state is to care for the national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young…"

"…We demand legal opposition to known lies and their promulgation through the press… Publications which are counter to the general good are to be forbidden… We demand legal prosecution of artistic and literary forms which exert a destructive influence on our national life and the closure of organizations opposing the above made demands…"

"…a lasting recovery of our nation can only succeed from within on the framework: "THE GOOD OF THE COMMUNITY BEFORE THE GOOD OF THE INDIVIDUAL." [All CAPS theirs in the original document]

"…For the execution of all of this we demand the formation of a strong central power… Unlimited authority of the central parliament over the whole Reich and its organizations in general…"

"…The leaders of the Party promise, if necessary by sacrificing their own lives, to support by the execution of the points set forth above without consideration…"

I apologize for the length here, but this was their "Declaration of Independence", and the length to which they spoke of these beliefs is strong evidence of how important these ideals were to them and their platform. That Hitler would dedicate the bulk of his written manifesto for his party to these indicates they were more than just a convenient political tool.

It's also worth noting that according to the US Holocaust Museum, the National Socialist Program remained the platform of the Nazi Party until Hitler's suicide in 1945, although clearly some of the specific tenets were ignored as the Third Reich matured and entered its "war" phase. In fact, we know from Big Business & Hitler, in 1924, party co-founder Gottfried Feder proposed an expanded 39-point plan that would include accommodation for Industrialists and large landowners with the National Socialists, but at the 1925 Bamburg Conference, then party leader Hitler refused to make any changes, stating that the manifesto was "inviolable" and would never be changed. Even after coming to power and declaring himself Dictator for Life, Hitler never modified a single word.

The point is that the original German Workers' Party as well as the National Socialist German Workers' Party, from its earliest roots, absolutely believed in and ran on many traditionally "Socialist" ideals, such as subordinating the individual to the "common good" and "the State."

Arguments as to whether the Nazi Party was "right wing" or "left wing" is what confuses most modern pundits and scholars.

Arguments as to whether the Nazi Party was "right wing" or "left wing" is what confuses most modern pundits and scholars. They clearly were nationalists, socialists, anti-capitalists and statists. Placing them on modern "right vs. left" political spectrum is an entirely different debate, and largely a semantic one. Whether they have more in common with the modern U.S. "right" or "left" is in the eye of the beholder.

2. The Nazis were not the true socialist party in Germany, there were already socialist and communist political parties in Germany when they adopted the term "socialism."

It's completely true that there were already socialist and communist political parties in Germany. Socialist parties had sprung up and gained popularity in Europe both before and during World War I. Russia had collapsed into a communist revolution during World War I, and there were communist political parties and organizations throughout Germany and Austria who had proven, friendly ties to the Russian communist parties responsible for the Russian revolution.

But the presence of other parties does not in any way indicate that Hitler's party wasn't also socialist. Just as today in America there are democratic socialists, socialist, Green Party and Communist parties, does not mean that I couldn't start up a new flavor of socialist political party tomorrow.

What is clear is that the founders of the Nazi Party did want a very different type of political party, one that was highly nationalist and one that sought an ethno-German racial ideal. In fact, as detailed in the already cited "The Rise and Fall of Fascism," the reason that Anton Drexler and others founded the National Socialist German Workers' Party in the first place was their rejection of the existing Social-Democratic Party and Communist Party's lack of nationalism. Hitler's flavor of socialism was staunchly anti-Bolshevik and anti-Semitic and he spoke against "Jewish-Marxism" and communism, as did key party leaders Alfred Rosenberg and Rudolph Hess. Existing socialist and Marxist parties were too globalist for them – they were after a purely ethno-German socialism.

3. The Nazis were fascists, not socialists. Everyone knows fascism is right wing, socialism is left wing.

Without turning this into a purely semantic debate, applying the modern "U.S.-centric" idea of the right vs. left political spectrum to political, economic and social philosophies such as socialism or fascism is truly an apples vs. Legos idea.

Of course, the origins of "right" vs. "left" political spectrum likely dates to the French Revolution and had to do with which side of the King's throne courtiers and lords were seated. At that time, those Loyal to the King were on the "right" and those who favored the people's independence and Democracy would be on the "left" …but clearly today's modern conservatives and libertarians would not support rule by a monarch or dictator, whether his name was Louis, Washington or Trump.

This is a key part of why there is so much cognitive dissonance for today's self-avowed socialists when someone dares to point out that Nazis were socialists and did support many socialist ideals. Nazis were also nationalists, were anti-immigration, often xenophobic and pro-militarism. Those are traits they associate with today's modern far-right.

As Jane Carlson points out in her recent Vox article, trying to put German-Nazis of 1930 on our modern U.S. political spectrum is a troublesome exercise. For our purposes, we'll simply note that the policies and platform of the early Nazi Party clearly aligned to socialist theory of the time, simply modified to fit the Volkish German tastes of the time.

Furthermore, claims that Hitler and the Nazis were fascists, not socialists, is again an inherently anachronistic view of events. It also clouds the issue of fascism and socialism, painting them as polar opposites on the political spectrum, when, in fact, they were close bedfellows in the 1920s.

Fascism didn't come to the Nazi Party and Germany until late in the 1920s or even early 1930s. Certainly there are no contemporary media references to the National Socialist German Workers' Party as "fascists" during the era of the party's founding in 1919, at the time Hitler wrote and presented the National Socialist Program in 1920, leading up to the Beer-Hall Putsch in late 1923, during Hitler's incarceration in 1924 and even leading up to the elections of 1928 and 1930.

During that entire era, no paper, across all of Germany, Italy, England or America can be found that refers to Hitler or to the National Socialist party of Germany as a "fascist" party. They were referred to as the national socialists or Nazis, a name meant to be a pejorative. It's also noteworthy that in his book, "Mein Kampf," Hitler did not refer to himself as a fascist or even use the word a single time.

It wasn't truly until the elections of 1932 that "fascism" could truly be applied to the policies espoused by Hitler and other Nazi politicians who held seats in the German Parliament. By then, it had been nearly a decade since Benito Mussolini, the publisher of a Socialist newspaper for more than six years, founded his own version of a violent nationalist-socialist party within Italy: fascism.

Fascist political ideology was the brainchild of another Marxist, a man named Giovanni Gentile. Gentile was an Italian intellectual and student of Marx, but whose criticism of the standard socialist model was based on the idea that the human mind was insufficiently pure to make communal socialism practical for industrial countries. As such, he advocated for a hybrid of a strong-centralized government with total authority (lead by intellectuals and experts) but leaving direct ownership of industrial production in the hands of the business elite. A Socialist-Corporate state.

Mussolini had seen in World War I, his countrymen were no longer fighting for some grand, socialist utopia as they had been toward the outset of the war. By the end of the war, they were fighting for their country. Under the tutelage of Gentile, he morphed that nationalist passion into fascism, but it was not a far-right movement. Mussolini referred to himself as a socialist in his own diary just 12 days before his capture, and it's worth noting that the party he was head of at the time of his capture was called the Italian Social Republic.

By the time Hitler had been named chancellor in 1933 and dictator in 1934, it would have been fair to start thinking of Nazis as having fascist ideas.

Hitler, seeing the success of Mussolini in Italy in the 1920s and wishing to curry favor with the Italian leader to help reinforce his southern flank, developed a warm and open relationship with him. By the time Hitler had been named chancellor in 1933 and dictator in 1934, it would have been fair to start thinking of Nazis as having fascist ideas. But even as late as 1937, Winston Churchill was still making speeches and writing essays about the "two" great "creeds of the Devil" in socialism and fascism, as threats faced by Britain.

The real difference between communists, national socialists and fascists is simply this: Communists are the international workers party and fascists are the national workers party.

In the end, it's reasonable to look at Hitler's adoption of some tenets of the fascist political-economic system of an authoritarian-central government but leaving private ownership of some industries as an indication that Hitler was not, in the end, a "perfect" socialist. But, as you'll learn below, that notion is itself, nonsense.

4. The Nazis only adopted the title of "socialist" for political reasons, not ideological ones.

As we have already cited from Carlsten's "The Rise of Fascism," the opposite is actually true. Anton Drexler had originally wanted to include socialist in the party's title, but its primary "publicist" at the time, Karl Herrer, had objected — not because they were opposed to socialist ideas, but because it would make it difficult to stand apart from the already existent Social-Democratic Party, and because it would make it more difficult to appeal to middle class readers of his newspaper.

In fact, as author Robert Spector covers thoroughly in his book, "A World Without Civilization," Drexler and others went out of their way to publish articles clearly delineating between Marxist-socialism and the German-socialism they intended to create, which would be a massive social-welfare state that would provide aid only to true ethno-Aryan Germans.

The ideals of the Nazi leadership were absolutely and significantly focused on German nationalism, anti-Semitism, racial purity, etc. It's also fair to say that Hitler's personal ideology and goals were built around German-idealized delusions of grandeur, and less around the philosophical tenets of socialism.

But a fair assessment of the progression of Nazi Party socialist doctrine cannot start in 1933 when Hitler became chancellor or 1938 when he invaded Poland. A more fair assessment might to be say that Hitler and the Nazis wanted to create a 1,000-year German Reich and a pure ethno-German race, and they were also socialists. More pure socialists when they started in 1919 than when they finished in 1945? Yes, certainly if our goal here is to measure Hitler against some 'perfect socialist' yardstick, then it might be fair to suggest that, by the end, he was less of a socialist than he was at the beginning.

But as I've already pointed out, the same could be said for virtually every socialist leader of all time. They all started with grand socialist ideals, tried them out, found that they didn't seem to work to achieve any practical real-world goals, so instead they became a tyrannical dictator wielding violence, torture and autocratic rule to maintain their vision. Ask Mao, ask Stalin, ask Maduro, Ask Xi, ask Castro, ask Che, ask Minh, ask Lenin…Hitler was just a me-too.

5. The Nazis were staunchly anti-Communist and anti-Marxist, therefore they couldn't have been socialists.

The idea that being anti-communist or anti-Marxist indicates one couldn't be a socialist is an anachronism, especially for post-Great War Germany. Let's not forget that Russia and Germany had fought ferociously during the war, including clashes before and after the communist revolution. Many Germans strongly blamed Germany's surrender at the end of World War I on communist sympathizers and/or spies within Germany, especially Marxist-Jewish political leaders, intellectuals and writers.

Leaders of the early Nazi Party, in particular, viewed the Treaty of Versailles not so much as a surrender to Western powers but as a surrender to international "Jewry", both the capitalist-Jews from America and England as well as the communist Jews from Russia. As Shirer points out in "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich," Hitler and other Nazi leaders frequently referred to being "stabbed in the back" by communist-Jewish elements in Germany and Austria.

As such, as we learned from Roger Griffin's epic work "Fascism," the anti-Marxism present in the early Nazi Party was strongly anti-Bolshevik, or, said more plainly, it was "anti-Jewish Russians and Germans who betrayed at the end of World War I and who profited from the war."

Recall as well that communism is merely one manifestation of Marxist political philosophy … one that could progress out of a Socialist foundation. Even today, communists and socialists can have lively debates on the topic, one rejecting or point out logical flaws in the "purity" of the other on the scale of Karl Marx's idea of "perfect" socialism. (Marx never really had such an ideal, see below).

The point is, the fact that Hitler was feverishly and passionately anti-Marxist (because he was massively anti-Semitic) and anti-communist doesn't indicate he wasn't some form of socialist.

6. The Nazis were racists and nationalists, so they couldn't have been socialists.

I would have hoped I didn't have to go too deeply into this topic, but many people seem to make some form of this argument.

The disconnect here is that most people today associate left-leaning or socialist-aligned politics to be also "globalist," for open borders and pro-immigration. On the other hand, many people associate right-leaning and even "conservative" groups with anti-illegal-immigration and "America-first" policies.

Again, let's not start a semantic debate about modern policies of those on the right vs. those on the left and whether one or the other group is more or less racist than the other (let's do that on Twitter instead!); for our purposes here, what is key to point out is that Marx himself was a fairly racist bloke, who wrote an essay in 1844 titled, "The Jewish Question" (wonder where Hitler got that?):

" What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money. … Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist. Money degrades all the gods of man—and turns them into commodities. The bill of exchange is the real god of the Jew. His god is only an illusory bill of exchange…The chimerical nationality of the Jew is the nationality of the merchant, of the man of money in general."— Karl Marx, The Jewish Question, 1844

In a letter to co-creator of Socialist doctrine, Friedrich Engels, Marx wrote:

"It is now completely clear to me that he, as is proved by his cranial formation and his hair, descends from the Negroes who had joined Moses' exodus from Egypt, assuming that his mother or grandmother on the paternal side had not interbred with a n—–. Now this union of Judaism and Germanism with a basic Negro substance must produce a peculiar product." — Karl Marx, Letter to Friedrich Engels, 1856

Many seem to believe that today's democratic socialism is inherently and not racist universally (unless perhaps, you happen to be a Jew … or maybe a white male, at least in some of the more vehement circles), so the fact of Nazi racism demonstrates simply that they could not have been socialists. But the socialism of the Nazi era was generally not-free of the every-day racism that was pervasive throughout that era.

To be sure, the Nazis were perhaps the most racist, anti-Semitic socialists who ever existed, but their racism, just like their nationalism, doesn't erase their socialism.

Furthermore, while socialism is not inherently racist, socialism and racism have been happy bedfellows numerous times.

One of the key and so-often-present-it-seems-to-be-required components of socialist movements is the presence of a bogeyman. An enemy of the people, or, in the case of Germany, the "volk."

In today's Americanized version of socialism, the bogeyman is the Gordon Gekko from "Wall Street,"Oh, wait, we have a more modern caricature of the same profile: Donald Trump. A self-made, unapologetic billionaire capitalist, flaunting both his wealth and ego across every TV screen and Twitter-feed 24/7.

For today's democratic socialist, that is the bogeyman. The rich (generally white) capitalist male who has more than his neighbor and doesn't feel bad about that.

Anti-Semitism and versions of socialism have often gone together because of the anti-capitalist and anti-wealthy-person ethos at the heart of Marxist ideology.

Hitler's bogeyman was also a banker — the Jew. Anti-Semitism and versions of socialism have often gone together because of the anti-capitalist and anti-wealthy-person ethos at the heart of Marxist ideology. Because Jews have tended to be industrious and have accumulated wealth, the Jewish people have been hated by many socialist and fascist groups throughout history. Socialist and totalitarian regimes in the Middle East also hated Jews, long before the founding of Israel after World War II.

In fact, after meeting with Hitler in the 1940s, Muslim regimes in Turkey and Syria planned on building Polish-styled death camps in the Middle East. During the war, Hitler also invited the creation of an entire Muslim division of Waffen-SS, such was the alliance between Islamic-Marxism and the National Socialists, all oriented around the anti-Capitalism and anti-Semitic ideals of Marxism.

As Richard Pipes detailed in "Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime,"Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin also implemented anti-Jewish (themed as anti-capitalist) programs in Russia and the USSR after the Communist revolution. Lenin ordered the Jews to be sent to the front lines of combat in battle, and ordered that no Jew should be given high-ranking administrative positions in government, as was detailed in "Time of Darkness: Moscow"by the great Russian political reformer and historian, Alexander Nikolayevich Yakovlev.

The argument that it is fascism that was the birth of Hitler's anti-Semitism also fails to hold water. Mussolini founded the fascist movement in Italy and had seized control of the Italian government well before Hitler's SS had started harassing Jews, but Mussolini protected Jews in Italy from persecution (as long as they swore political loyalty to him), until much later after his country was under Allied attack and he had to beg Hitler for German troops to fight off the Allied advance.

To this day, even in America, democratic socialists struggle with elements of anti-Semitism in their own ranks, because Jews are still being accused of hypnotizing the world via money by democratic socialist members of the U.S. Congress.

No, socialism is not inherently and always racist. But neither is socialism free from racist ideology, if that racist ideology serves as a bogeyman, any enemy of "the people" who is preventing the utopia of equality. Hitler's enemy of the "volk" was the capitalist, banker Jew, sucking the life out of his precious Fatherland. For freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), it's the un-woke white male, driving an SUV and drinking single-malt while hunting deer from a tree stand, making the world unsafe for women, children and minorities. Both were self-ascribed socialists. Both racist, too.

Racism isn't always about "race" either. The point is about dehumanization as a means to classify the enemies of "The People." In addition to murdering six million Jews, the Nazis killed additional millions of gypsies, homosexuals, blacks, Christians and Slovaks. Hitler and the Nazis used dehumanizing language to describe all of them… . Jews just happened to be his favorite target. But the techniques used by socialist were universal. Marx referred to capitalists or the bourgeoisie as "parasites" over 120 times in books, essays and speeches.

As recently as this past year, National of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan referred to Jews as "termites"… although luckily Chelsea Clinton was kind enough to write an article for the online progressive magazine,"Forward," politely correcting him and implying, emphatically, she'd never met a Jewish termite.

Today's democratic socialists are using the same techniques. How many times have Trump supporters been called "sub-human" or a "Basket of Deplorables"? Marxism requires an enemy of the people, but when push comes to shove, people don't like to kill other people. So, the enemies must be made sub-human in order to justify the "purging" and "liquidation" that must necessarily follow. What will Sen. Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez do when wealthy, white males won't go along with their gun and SUV confiscation schemes required under their green-collectivist state? The Weather Underground boldly let us know back in the 1970s, when they issued a news releaseclaiming that in order to bring justice to the U.S., up to 25 million white people would have to die.

Today, the Chinese Communist Party is rounding up Christians, Muslims and Uigars, placing them in concentration camps and re-education camps. More than 35 percent of the current Chinese population has been relegated to digital and travel-restricted ghettos, because their social-trust score is below Communist Party standards. Hitler had to go through the trouble of rounding Jews up and moving them into ghettos. Today, Chinese leader Xi Jinping does it with the help of Facebook and Google.

All part of creating the socialist utopia Marx dreamed would destroy the unfair inequality of capitalism.

Dozens of classical stars of the socialist firmament were ardent racists. Margaret Sanger, socialist and anti-black advocate…sorry, pro-black-abortion advocate. Bernard Shaw, famous socialist, was first to dream up and write about using gas chambers to 'gently, humanely' remove those societies that was determined to no longer have a productive use. " Sir or madame, please kindly justify your existence." Both Shaw and Sanger are still widely studied and celebrated by socialists today.

Perhaps a final lesson here can be learned by examining the ideology of Richard Spencer, self-proclaimed racist and white supremacist, and therefore branded by the media and political elite as a right-wing extremist. However, Spencer also rejects the U.S. Constitution, is pro-universal health care and pro-free (segregated) college education, and in favor of government-funded abortions. Most of the National Socialist program themes Hitler wrote about, he'd embrace in total. And he's a right-wing extremist? Take away just his virulent racism, he'd be a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, espousing purely leftist ideologies.

Hopefully you are getting the wider picture. Socialism doesn't guarantee racism, but neither does it offer any sort of protection from it. To claim otherwise is willful blindness to history.

7. The Nazis did not seize all private property and money, so they weren't socialists.

Again, it's vital to review the overall timeline of Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers' Party from the early and perhaps idealistic days of 1919 all the way through the fall of the Third Reich in 1945. For most of the 1920s, Hitler and the Nazis held little by way of political power through which they could have seized anybody's property, but that doesn't mean they didn't advocate for doing so, first in their National Socialists program cited extensively above, but numerous times after that. They did, after all, seize substantial privately owned property in Germany as well as conquered lands, including thousands of businesses, farms and bank accounts.

The fact that they focused first on Jewish businesses is irrelevant to the fact that private property was seized and transferred to the ownership of the state. The fact that Jewish property was at the top of the list of whom to target doesn't make it less Marxist or socialist to do, any more than it would be less socialist to target rich white males, as is currently being proposed by Bernie Sanders and others on the far left. Who you're targeting for confiscation schemes should be a moot point.

It's key to recall who Hitler and the Nazis were. They were socialists by way of economic policies, but staunchly nationalist and staunchly anti-Semitic racists who believed in a German super-race that could only be realized by way of physically purging inferior peoples and blood and by "reclaiming" lands stolen from their rightful Aryan-ancestors. Eric Kurlander powerfully and skillfully provided that history in "Hitler's Monsters," another book every American should read to fully understand the Nazi era.

It is true that once the Nazis came to power and started down their twin paths of political dominance within Germany and military conflict with external forces, Hitler's pragmatic side certainly overwhelmed any traditional or "classic" socialist ideals he may have once held. Surely after the powerful success he'd seen Mussolini seemingly achieve in Italy under fascism, the idea of communal socialism wouldn't have seemed the most efficient way for him to achieve his vision of a blood-pure and massive German super-state.

Note that the Nazis did nationalize dozens of industries and, by law, did have total centralized-control over the means of production … business owners and manufacturers had ownership of their property and factories in name only once the Waffen-SS and stormtroopers were fully in power. So, in his own way, Hitler did achieve Karl Marx-vision of control over the means of production by an all-powerful state. For Hitler, that state was simply imbued in him, instead of in a democratically elected central committee. Hitler's rejection of the authorities of labor unions or of workers' councils shouldn't, then, be viewed as anti-socialist. … Hitler was not in favor of giving any other person or group any authority over his own. Coincidentally, President Xi of China just recently declared himself dictator for life. History seems to love to recycle these themes, no?

Hitler was a pragmatist. He saw the favor of the German aristocracy and wealthy manufacturers (if they were not Jewish) as key to achieving his vision for the Third Reich.

Hitler was a pragmatist. He saw the favor of the German aristocracy and wealthy manufacturers (if they were not Jewish) as key to achieving his vision for the Third Reich. The fact that this meant not being a "perfect" socialist may have occurred to some, but certainly not to him.

8. Hitler was only interested in power, in being a dictator, not in socialist principals of peace and love and equality.

Before I dispense with the peace and love and equality BS … look, a study of Marx is a study about inequality! Marx was a racist, class-warfare-monger whom the average democratic socialist in America today would wholly reject from their social circles and political party.

So, I won't argue this last one, it's just beyond discussion. Socialism isn't nice and peaceful and filled with love and equality. Just stop it. Please pick up a history book and get back to me when you're ready to have a real conversation.

Yet, one final point should be made:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PERFECT "MARXIST" SOCIALISM!!

From the time Marx wrote "The Communist Manifesto" in the 1850s until his death in 1883, Marx never once espoused any version of "perfect" Socialism. As socialist professor Philip Gasper pointed out quite correctly in his 2005 book, "The Communist Manifesto: A Roadmap to the World's Most Important Political Document":

"Marx and Engels never speculated on the detailed organization of a future socialist or communist society. The key task for them was building a movement to overthrow capitalism. If and when that movement was successful, it would be up to the members of the new society to decide democratically how it was to be organized, in the concrete historical circumstances in which they found themselves."

So, for Karl Marx, the "father" of socialism, there is no thing as perfect, idealized, "do it this way or you're not a socialist" socialism.

The primary goal was building a movement to overthrow capitalism. In that Hitler and the Nazis viewed Jewry as capitalistic (as did Marx), it's very likely that Marx would have found them to be wonderfully and perfectly socialist. He did exactly what Marx advised: Take what you got and organize your own brand of socialism against the "concrete historical circumstances" in which they found themselves.

The very statement that "Hitler was not a socialist" by some imaginary perfect socialist checklist is itself a ludicrous notion. Marx never created one, it's only via the magic of a modern veil of anachronistic imagination that one can create such a yardstick by which to make such a claim. And so, we're back where we started, according to Marx himself: The Nazis, including Adolf Hitler, called themselves Socialists. The claimed an all-powerful centralized state power as having authority over the means of production. As such, they were socialists, by Marx' own definition.

In the end, the story follows the Occam's Razor theorem to the "T"…

A younger and idealistic Hitler returning from the Great War believed in and espoused many socialist ideas and political ideals and got together with a bunch of other young people also espousing socialist ideas. As he grew older and gained more political power, he found that those socialist ideas weren't much use when it was time to actually accomplish anything in the real world, so he did what all socialist rulers eventually do — he claimed power by force and used violence to try to achieve his political ends, killing millions of people along the way, all the while still calling himself a socialist. And Marx slept soundly in his grave.

Socialism is the building block that undergirds all forms of modern totalitarianism. But it should never be confused with a large welfare-state safety net. Charity and safety nets can be and should be created for those who cannot fully take care of themselves. As individuals, we have a responsibility to take care of and protect the weakest among us. If we fail to do this we revert back to the laws of the jungle, that leaves its weakest behind for the good of the "pride." Safety nets when done right are uniquely human and humane as still look to help individual.

The human "pride" knows that what ennobles man is that we refuse to leave the weakest behind to be eaten and we certainly could not call ourselves a noble species if our stated goal was to not only leave the weak behind, but to set out to purposely kill any group deemed "inferior" or slowing the pack down. A true safety net empowers anyone that has been kicked to the ground to stand back up. It gives them a hand up as an individual — while they regain their footing.

Socialism at its root is and always must be about the collective. Collective "injustice" in all of its forms. In opposition to a "safety net" for individuals, socialism looks for "groups" of victims and groups of villains. Socialism is at its heart a system that dismisses rights of the one for the gain of the many. Once those the in-group deems vermin, cockroaches, greedy, privileged or problems — anything is justifiable to provide "social justice" to the collective.

In western society, traditional western liberalism stand against the collective mob and as a protector of the individual. Once one understands why socialism is defined as a "stepping stone," you will begin to understand why the story usually ends in mass graves of enemies or starvation. Create a collective at the expense of the individual and it becomes a playground for those who seek power and riches at any cost, justifying every evil they commit in the name of the collective they are supposedly defending.

So yes, Virginia, Hitler really was a socialist. Tragically, a very successful one.

As we move along this endless primary season, we implement our first major adjustments to our power rankings model. Because of all the changes on the model itself, we'll keep the write ups short this week so that we can get an update posted before we hit the second round of debates.

There are now 40 separate measures of candidate performance which are summarized by the 0-100 score that helps us makes sense out of this chaos.We also have a new style of graphs, where the section highlighted in blue will show the progress (or lack thereof) made by each candidate over the life of their campaign.

In this update, we have our first campaign obituary, a couple of brand new candidates (when will it ever stop) and plenty of movement up top.

Let's get to it.

In case you're new here, read our explainer about how all of this works:

The 2020 Democratic primary power rankings are an attempt to make sense out of the chaos of the largest field of candidates in global history. Each candidate gets a unique score in at least thirty categories, measuring data like polling, prediction markets, fundraising, fundamentals, media coverage, and more. The result is a candidate score between 0-100. These numbers will change from week to week as the race changes. The power rankings are less a prediction on who will win the nomination, and more a snapshot of the state of the race at any given time. However, early on, the model gives more weight to fundamentals and potentials, and later will begin to prioritize polling and realities on the ground. If you're like me, when you read power rankings about sports, you've already skipped ahead to the list. So, here we go.

See previous editions here.

Campaign Obituary #1

The Eric Swalwell Campaign

California State Congressman

April 8, 2019 - July 8, 2019

Lifetime high: 20.2

Lifetime low: 19.5

I ended my initial profile on Eric Swalwell with this:

"There's a certain brand of presidential candidate that isn't really running for president. That's Eric Swalwell."

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It's now more true than ever that Swalwell isn't running for president, because he has officially dropped out of the race.

To any sane observer, Swalwell never had a chance to win the nomination. This was always about raising his profile with little downside to deter him from taking money and building a list of future donors.

In one of many depressing moments in his FiveThirtyEight exit interview, he noted that one of his supporters told him he definitely thought he'd eventually be president, but it wasn't going to happen this time. (This supporter was not identified, but we can logically assume they also have the last name Swalwell.)

Swalwell did outline a series of reasons he thought his ridiculous campaign might have a chance.

  1. He was born in Iowa. After all, people from Iowa will surely vote for someone born in Iowa, even if they escaped as soon as possible.
  2. He had what he believed was a signature issue: pretending there was no such amendment as the second amendment.)
  3. He's not old.

It was on point number three where Swalwell made his last stand. In an uncomfortably obvious attempt to capture a viral moment that would launch his fundraising and polling status, Swalwell went after Joe Biden directly.

"I was 6 years old when a presidential candidate came to the California Democratic Convention and said it's time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans. That candidate was then-Senator Joe Biden." This pre-meditated and under-medicated attack, along with Swalwell's entire campaign future, was disassembled by a facial gesture.

Biden's response wasn't an intimidation, anger, or a laugh. It was a giant smile that somehow successfully communicated a grandfathery dismissal of "isn't that just adorable."

Of course, headlines like this didn't help either:

Eric Swalwell is going to keep comparing the Democratic field to 'The Avengers' until someone claps

The campaign of Eric Swalwell was pronounced dead at the age of 91 days.

Other headlines:

Eric Swalwell ends White House bid, citing low polling, fundraising

Republicans troll Swalwell for ending presidential campaign

Eric Swalwell Latest 'Cringe' Video Brags About Omar Holding his 'White' Baby

Eric Swalwell's message to actor Danny Glover is 'the cringiest thing I've ever seen in a hearing'

Eric Swalwell's 'I Will Be Bold Without The Bull' Bombs

25. Joe Sestak 11.0 (Debut) Former Pennsylvania State Congressman

Joe Sestak is a former three-star admiral who served in Congress for a couple of years in the late 2000s. Besides his military service, his most notable achievement is figuring out a way to get Pat Toomey elected in a purple state.

With Arlen Specter finally formalizing his flip from Republican to Democrat in 2009, he was expected to cruise to reelection. However, Sestak went after him in the primary, and was able to knock him off in the by eight points. Sestak then advanced to face Republican Pat Toomey in the general election. He lost by two points during the Tea Party wave election of 2010.

Needless to say, losing to the former president of the fiscally conservative Club For Growth isn't exactly an accomplishment that is going to help Sestak in the Democratic presidential primary.

Unfortunately, with the current state of the party— his distinguished service in the Navy probably isn't helpful either.

Other headlines:

Joe Sestak on the issues, in under 500 words

Joe Sestak, latest 2020 candidate, says it's not too late for him to gain traction

Sestak aims to 'heal the soul of America' with presidential bid

Joe Sestak Would Move the US Embassy 'Back Out of Jerusalem'

24. Mike Gravel: 12.5 (Previous: 24th / 15.3) Former US Senator from Alaska

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Gravel was able to get celebrities and other candidates to send out pleas to raise funds in effort to get above 65,000 donations and qualify for the second debate.

We may never know if it was grift or incompetence, but Gravel probably should have known that crossing this line made no difference. He'll still be yelling at the TV when the debate starts.

Other headlines:

Gravel meets donor threshold to qualify for Democratic primary debate

Gravel spends a bit of cash to run an ad against Joe Biden in Iowa

Mike Gravel: Why the American People Need Their Own Legislature

Mike Gravel Is the Anti–Joe Biden

23. Wayne Messam: 12.7 (Previous: 23rd / 15.8) Mayor of Miramar, FL

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Messam has made no impact in this race so far, and has fundraising numbers that don't even get into the six digits, let alone seven. He's not really running a campaign at this point, so there's no real downside in staying in for now.

Other headlines:

Wayne Messam: Money Kept Me Out of the First Democratic Debate. Will It Keep Me Out of the Second?

22. Seth Moulton 17.2 (Previous 20th / 21.5) US Rep. from Massachusetts 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Seth Moulton is the invisible man on the campaign trail. Most people don't even know who he is when they're talking to him. His appeal to the Democratic party is heavily flavored with his military service and appeal to patriotism.

Good luck with that Seth.

Other headlines:

Moulton: Buttigieg Was a Nerd at Harvard

Moulton: Democrats shouldn't go on 'moral crusade' against Trump

Moulton talks reclaiming patriotism from Trump, Republicans

Moulton: 'Trump is going to be harder to beat than many Democrats like to believe'

Presidential candidates hear challengers' footsteps at home

21. Tim Ryan 18.4 (Previous: 18th / 24.3) US Rep. from Ohio

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Tim Ryan's first debate performance was so bad he lost about a quarter of his score with this update. He's not without a plan to get that support back though. He wants to bring hot yoga to the people.

Other headlines:

Tim Ryan on CNN: Trump 'clearly has it out for immigrants'

Ryan Falls Way Behind in Q2 Fundraising Race, New Poll

20. Marianne Williamson 20.7 (Previous: 21st / 20.6) Author, Lecturer, Activist

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Williamson is not going to be the nominee for the Democrats, but if you throw a debate watch party, she might supply the most entertainment. So much so, Republicans have started to donate to her campaign to keep her in future debates.

Other headlines:

"I call her a modern-day prophet": Marianne Williamson's followers want you to give her a chance

Williamson Uses Anime to Explain 2020 Candidate's Holistic Politics

What Marianne Williamson and Donald Trump have in common

Marianne Williamson's Iowa director joins John Delaney's 2020 campaign

19. John Hickenlooper 22.5  (Previous: 11th / 32.0) Former Gov. of Colorado 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Hickenlooper has been shedding campaign advisors at a relatively furious pace as he admits "there's just a bunch of skills that don't come naturally to me" when it comes to campaigning.

Probably best to pick another line of work.

Other headlines:

Hickenlooper defends campaign fundraising to The Onion: 'The race is wide open'

WP: 'You are who?' The lonely presidential campaign of John Hickenlooper

Gary Hart Warns John Hickenlooper Against Campaigning On Bipartisanship Message

Hickenlooper refuses to condemn protesters who hoisted Mexican flag at ICE facility


18. Michael Bennet 27.4 (Previous: 14th / 28.8) US Senator from Colorado

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Michael Bennet is a bit of a boring no name, but give him credit for actually trying to differentiate himself from the field. He's one of the only candidates willing to criticize his socialist opponents from the center, calling out the open borders crowd and student debt. Obviously this has no chance of success in the democratic party, but at least he's trying.

Other headlines:

George Will touts Bennet to beat Trump in 2020

Bennet: America doesn't know what the Democratic Party stands for

17. Steve Bullock 28.3 (Previous: 16th / 27.7) Gov. of  Montana 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Bullock's biggest moment of his campaign, and quite possibly his only important moment , will come in this round of debates. He missed the first round, but squeaks in for round two after Eric Swalwell decided to take his zero percent and go home.

Bullock has a theoretical argument that doesn't look half bad on paper, but it seems impossible for another "moderate*" to make noise with Biden still hanging around.

(*-None of these moderates are actually moderate.)

Other headlines:

For Democratic presidential hopeful Steve Bullock, it's all about the 'dark money'

Steve Bullock hates 'dark money.' But a lobbyist for 'dark money' donors is helping his campaign.

Steve Bullock looking to introduce himself as someone who won in Trump country

Bullock said he's not one to eliminate all student-loan debt

Steve Bullock raises $2 million for 2020 bid in second quarter, campaign says

Lowering of state flag at capitol draws criticism

15. John Delaney 29.5 (Previous 19th / 20.3) Former US Rep. from Maryland 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

The power ranking model likes Delaney more than voters seem to like him. He continues to pour his own money into the race and at some point you have to believe someone in his life stops him from setting his cash on fire.

He did steal a key advisor from Marianne Williamson's campaign, which doesn't seem like a path to success.

Other headlines:

Delaney: "Non-Citizens Are Not Covered By My 'Better Care' Plan, But…"

Delaney says he opposes decriminalizing border crossings

Undaunted by low polling, John Delaney keeps his show on the road

Delaney presidential campaign theme: fix what's broken, keep what works

14. Andrew Yang 30.0 (Previous: 15th / 28.3) Attorney and Entrepreneur 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Before the campaign started, if you would have said Yang would be in the middle of the pack at this point, he probably would be happy with that result. His embrace of quirky issues like banning robocalls, giving everyone free cash, and spending $6 billion to fix the nations malls is enough to keep him in the news.

His fundraising was decent, and he remains an interesting and thoughtful candidate. But, Yang has a better chance of dropping out and running on a third party ticket than winning in this Democratic Party.

You do have to wonder how long it will be before the word "Math" moves from his campaign slogan to the reason he needs to drop out.

Other headlines:

Andrew Yang Is Targeting The 'Politically Disengaged' To 'Win The Whole Election'

You can't turn truck drivers into coders, Andrew Yang says of job retraining

Yang's plan to give $1000 a month to everyone is popular with young, poor Democrats

13. Jay Inslee 31.4 (Previous: 12th / 30.4) Gov. of Washington state

CANDIDATE PROFILEf

Expect Inslee to capture the king-czar-chancellor role of the new climate police or whatever draconian nightmare the actual Democratic nominee creates if they win.

In the meantime, he should try to avoid cringe inducing nonsense like this.

Other headlines:

Presidential hopeful Jay Inslee says Trump's immigration policies will 'end his presidency'

Crowd roars for Elizabeth Warren, Jay Inslee follows to tepid applause

Inslee on listening to Carole King, wanting an anchor tattoo

Inslee Says He Tried to Arrest Fleeing Republicans


12. Tulsi Gabbard 33.4 (Previous: 13th / 28.8) US Rep. for Hawaii 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Tulsi Gabbard really wants to be Joe Biden's vice president. Or, at least, she wants to hold an important role in his cabinet, like Secretary of Defense.

Gabbard has been running interference for Biden, aggressively going after Kamala Harris for her very successful but substance free bussing attack, while hammering Harris as not qualified to be President. These have been among the harshest criticisms levied by any candidate in the race so far, and there is definitely a purpose to all of it. Her presence in the same debate as Biden and Harris should be something Harris prepares herself for. Expect incoming fire.

Along with Yang, Gabbard remains among the most interesting Democratic candidates to Republicans and Libertarians, which is not helpful to her chances of actually winning the Democratic party nod.

Other headlines:

Gabbard says Harris used "political ploy" to "smear" Biden on raced

Which U.S. Wars Were Justifiable? Tulsi Gabbard Names Only World War II

Tulsi Gabbard Says It's A 'Good Thing' Trump Met With Kim Jong Un

Gabbard Sympathizes With Amash, Says the Two-Party System Sucks

Tulsi Gabbard Files Bill To Study Hemp's Uses For Just About Everything

Gabbard: '14-year-old girl hacked into a replica of Florida's election system'

11. Tom Steyer 33.5 (Debut) Billionaire hedge fund manager

Tom Steyer is a Democratic billionaire that has spent millions plastering his face all over MSNBC for the past two years begging people to consider impeaching Donald Trump.

The campaign power ranking model loves Steyer's potential because of his unlimited money and theoretical ability to put together a serious campaign team.

All of this is theory at this point though, as the millions spent so far has lead to a giant pile of zilch. If he's serious enough, he should be able to buy his way into the low single digits, and squeak his way into a debate or two.

Steyer's billionaire status isn't an obvious fit as the party of inequality attempts to take down Donald Trump. But, he does have legitimate movement credibility, tons of cash to buy support, and a long developed immunity to embarrassment—so the sky is the limit.

Other headlines:

Tom Steyer on the issues, in under 500 words

Tom Steyer announces 2020 bid, reversing course

Why We're Not Treating Tom Steyer As A 'Major' Candidate (Yet)

Steyer banks on South Carolina in 1st presidential bid stop

10. Kirsten Gillibrand 37.1 (Previous: 9th / 36.7) US Senator from New York

CANDIDATE PROFILE

There is probably no candidate that enters the second round of debates more clearly in do-or-die mode than Gillibrand. With headlines like "The Ignoring of Kirsten Gillibrand" lighting up her feed, she needs something big to happen, and fast. Her performance in the first debate wasn't actually horrible, but still went unnoticed.

She has zero percent in lots of polls, and that includes all of the benefits she says she's received from white privilege. Imagine if she didn't have that going for her.

Other headlines:

Gillibrand: I'd Tell Concerned Coal Miner the Green New Deal Is 'Just Some Bipartisan Ideas'

Struggling in White House bid, Democrat Gillibrand seeks bump in Trump country

Gillibrand Annoyed by Question About Immigration 'Reversal'

9. Robert Francis O’Rourke 40.7 (Previous: 6th / 52.8) Former state Rep. from Texas

CANDIDATE PROFILE

The free fall continues for Betomania.

When campaigns show signs of death, reporters start to write long profiles that aim to tell the story of the demise, or launch the amazing comeback.

Politico's headline (What Beto O'Rourke's Dad Taught Him About Losing) probably wasn't all that helpful.

Beto did secure Willie Nelson's vote though, meaning he can now count on 2 votes, assuming his "Republican" mother votes for him.

Other headlines:

Welcome to America—It's a Hell Hole!

A desperate Beto O'Rourke goes for broke, claims America was founded on white supremacy

Beto O'Rourke finds 'personal connection' to slavery, argues for reparations to unite 'two Americas'

Beto boldly vows not to prosecute people for 'being a human being'Rebooto O'Rourke

Fact Checker: Has Beto O'Rourke visited the most Iowa counties? No.


Beto O'Rourke: Let's Forgive All Student Loan Debt For Teachers

8. Amy Klobuchar 42.9 (Previous: 8th / 41.9) US Senator from Minnesota 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Klobuchar has been a massive underachiever so far, but is still sticking around in that third tier of candidates. Along with Beto, Booker, and maybe Castro— they aren't exactly eliminated, but can't seem to catch fire. Or even get warm.

Klobuchar would serve herself well to focus on the fundamentals and avoiding desperate pleas for attention if she wants to remain in the Biden VP sweepstakes. Or she could totally shake things up by throwing binders at her opponents in the debate.

Other headlines:

Klobuchar: I Don't Support Open Borders Like Warren, Castro

Deportation raids are about distracting from issues: Amy Klobuchar

Klobuchar hoping 'nice' finishes first

Sports bookmakers put Klobuchar as "heavy underdog" in presidential race

7. Julian Castro 43.2 (Previous: 10th / 34.5) Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Castro is a good example of how overblown debates can be. His first debate performance was quite solid, but did more to sink Robert Francis O'Rourke than actually help his own candidacy.

One more good debate performance should be enough to get him into the next round of debates, as he has already passed the donor threshold. Polling, however, has been elusive. Perhaps there is a swath of America that is uncomfortable voting for a Castro for president, like say, all of south Florida?

Still, in a field of a zillion candidates that have shown no potential, he stands out as a long shot with a punchers chance to make some noise. This is reflected with a nice bump in his score for this update.

Other headlines:

Julián Castro Doubles Down On Decriminalizing Migration: Repeal Felony For Reentry, Too

Julian Castro: 'Instead of breaking up families, we should break up ICE'

Bill Maher rips Julián Castro for remark about abortion for trans women

Julián Castro declines to hold baby

Julián Castro can't speak Spanish

Julian Castro wants to solve homelessness by 2028

A consulting firm made specifically to prevent sexual harassment is providing Castro and other 2020 campaigns advice and training

5. Pete Buttigieg 65.8 (Previous: 2nd / 68.8) Mayor of South Bend, IN

CANDIDATE PROFILE

There probably isn't a campaign that has been more bizarre than Mayor Pete. He was a complete nobody to the public, though as we initially noted, he had support from a bunch of Obama era celebrinerds.

This helped him rise to a top tier candidate with all the money and momentum to make a run at the nomination. Since then we've seen a complete fizzle. He is using the cash to build the infrastructure to make himself a serious candidate, and he should last a while, but he probably must win Iowa to have a chance at the nomination.

Also, finding one African American who will vote for him would be nice.

Other headlines:

Pete Buttigieg goes on hiring spree after top fundraising quarter.

Buttigieg, Struggling With Black Voters, Releases Plan to Address Racial Inequities

South Bend police call out Buttigieg for sending pizza rather than apology after race comments

CNN's Axelrod Rips Buttigieg: Blacks Doing Worse Under His Leadership

Only Pete Buttigieg gets standing ovation from Corn Feed audience

New Republic Drops Out Of Climate Forum Over Backlash To Pete Buttigieg Op-Ed

Pete Buttigieg says it's "almost certain" we've had gay presidents

Pete Buttigieg Sets Hollywood Fundraisers With Ellen DeGeneres, Chelsea Handler and More

4. Elizabeth Warren 70.4 (Previous: 5th / 53.4) US Senator from Massachusetts 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Looking back at my initial analysis of this field, I'd say it's played out pretty closely to what I expected. Warren has surprised me though.

In an election where beating Trump is the most important characteristic for democratic voters, she seems to be grown in a lab to lose to him. She comes across as a stern elementary school principal who would make kids terrified to be called into her office, because she'd bore them to death by reading them the handbook.

Her DNA kit roll out was so catastrophic, I assumed democrats would see that her political instincts are awful. When put under the intense pressure Trump is sure to bring, she's going to collapse, and I figured democrats would recognize that.

Instead, she's in the top tier. This rise has been legitimately impressive for Warren.

It's also a dream come true for Donald Trump.

Other headlines:

The Activist Left Already Knows Who It Wants for President

Netroots Nation was the day Elizabeth Warren became president of the American left

Elizabeth Warren pledges to decriminalize border crossings

Warren plans to increase annual refugee admissions nearly 800 percent from FY2018

Warren, Biden Campaigns Appear to Find Loophole Around Paid Internships

Warren says she'll push to end Israel's 'occupation'

Warren staffer: 'I would totally be friends with Hamas'

Elizabeth Warren reintroduces legislation requiring corporations to disclose climate risk exposure

Elizabeth Warren Wants Reparations For Same-Sex Couples

Elizabeth Warren proposes executive orders to address race and gender pay gap

This is how Elizabeth Warren plans to close the pay gap for women of color

How much would a wealth tax really raise? Dueling economists reflect new split in Democratic Party

Elizabeth Warren Brings Ad Buying In-House

Elizabeth Warren says she raised $19 million in the second quarter of the year

3. Bernie Sanders 71.1 (Previous: 3rd / 67.2) US Senator from Vermont

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Sanders has fallen slowly but steadily in the polls the past couple of months, and while not every metric yet reflects it, the socialist wing seems more likely represented by Warren.

That being said, Bernie holds her off for third place. Warren and Bernie have reportedly struck a truce to not attack each other, an arrangement which benefits Warren far more than Sanders.

Bernie's machine and name recognition continues to keep him near the top of the heap, but one wonders how long that lasts as name recognition for other candidates get higher, and Iowa gets closer.

No matter if he wins or loses, he's moved the Overton window of the party in a dramatic way. And don't underestimate the appeal of his Medicare-for-all-humankind dream. Bernie may be too old and cranky to see socialized health care into the end zone, but he has advanced that ball much further than he had any right to.

Other headlines:

Bernie Sanders has 'deep sense of satisfaction' his positions are now 'centrist' among Dems

Bernie Sanders: I Will Cancel All $1.6 Trillion Of Your Student Loan Debt

Sanders hits back at Biden over criticism of 'Medicare for All'

Bernie Sanders: Nancy Pelosi shouldn't 'alienate' freshmen House Democrats

Why Sanders Wanted His Meeting With a Rabbi Kept Secret

Bernie Sanders Says Being the First Jewish President Would Be 'Another Barrier Broken Down'

Liberal billionaire calls Bernie Sanders a 'Communist' and 'a disaster zone'

Blackstone's Byron Wien: Markets are terrified of far-left Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

Antiwar candidate Bernie Sanders faces backlash over the $1.2 trillion war machine he brought to Vermont

The time Bernie Sanders ranted about baseball in a low-budget film

Bernie Sanders shows off sword Ross Perot gave him

Bernie Sanders Raises $18 Million in 3 Months, Trailing Buttigieg

2. Kamala Harris 79.2 (Previous: 4th / 65.9) US Senator from California 

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Harris has given back a good chunk of her post debate bounce, which is to be expected. While she rockets to number two in the power rankings, there are a few things to worry about.

The difference between Warren and Harris is notable. The candidates are nearly tied in most polls, but much of the strength of Harris is based on one spectacular moment. Warren alternatively seems to have a lower ceiling, but a stronger foundation.

The good news for Harris is she does incredibly well among voters that are actually paying attention, while her weakness lies with those who haven't really tuned in yet.

At some point, Harris has to clean up her mess of a policy package, which includes supporting a Bernie style Medicare for All without the Bernie style middle class tax hikes-- a combination that even the left admits makes no sense.

Quotes like this still feel way too accurate, "She's the easy-to-listen-to, poorly defined identity candidate." This needs to be sorted out eventually if she's actually going to win.

Other headlines:

It's Hard To Have A Conversation With Kamala Harris When She Doesn't Even Know What She's Talking About

Kamala Harris: Immigration Raids Are 'A Crime Against Humanity', there are 'babies in cages'

Harris doubles down on criticism of Biden's busing comments on The View

Mother Jones: Kamala Harris Wants to Bring Back Busing? Really?

Kamala Harris's Call for a Return to Busing Is Bold and Politically Risky

Race is 'America's Achilles' heel,' Harris tells African-American group

Kamala Harris claims her campaign is being targeted by Russian bots, also says she's not a plan factory

Harris proposes $100 billion plan to increase minority homeownership

What's Kamala Harris's record on Israel?

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1. Joe Biden 80.8 (Previous: 1st / 82.3) Former US Senator from Delaware and Former Vice President

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Biden's polling has mostly rebounded to his pre-debate status and he remains the favorite to be the nominee.

He can't survive too many more performances like his first debate however, and he needs to show voters that he can stand up to the heat President Trump is going to bring. In other words, don't get smoked again, fall over on your walker, or look like your dentures are going to fall out in the middle of a debate.

This is a real test for Biden's candidacy. He's had time to prepare, and he's had time to stretch the old muscles. No more excuses.

If Joe can get spry, he probably wins the nomination. But, that is far from a sure thing.

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No, stealth Obamacare won’t fix the failed status-quo

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Another day, another proposed fix to a pressing national problem by a Democratic presidential hopeful. Former Vice President Joe Biden has positioned himself as the "moderate" leader of the Democratic Party, putting pressure on him to come up with a "sensible" alternative to Sen. Sanders' (I-Vt.) Medicare for All plan. But Biden's healthcare proposal, released July 15, doubles down on flawed, top-down solutions without offering any new ideas. Presidential hopefuls should instead pledge to unleash market innovation and lower healthcare prices for all.

Of course, a former vice president will inevitably find it difficult to make a clean policy break from the administration he has repeatedly hailed and defended. Biden's tenure as vice president made him into a second-tier political rockstar, and it makes sense that he's reluctant to separate himself from former President Obama's Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare"). It's also no surprise that "Bidencare" preserves Obamacare's disastrous expansion of Medicaid, the federal government's insurance program for low-income Americans. His plan even provides a public option for residents of states that have not expanded Medicaid. Perhaps more surprising, or just disappointing, is how thoroughly the Democratic orthodoxy has embraced government medical insurance even at gargantuan cost, despite little evidence that it'll work.

RELATED: Medicare for all: Obamacare was only the first step

Back when he was a heartbeat away from the presidency, Biden vigorously defended Obamacare, criticizing Republican governors for failing to expand Medicaid and predicting that all states would eventually see the light. That never quite happened (as of now, 17 states wisely refuse to expand health insurance targeted at low-income Americans). But the Obama administration tried to cajole red and purple states into expanding the Medicaid eligibility threshold "up to 138 percent of the poverty level." Nevertheless, states such as Texas, Florida, and North Carolina wisely considered the evidence that Medicaid was breaking the bank — without helping the poor get access to the care they needed.

This evidence isn't just based on one or two stray studies produced by the "right" think-tank. In June 2018, Health Affairs published a blockbuster analysis of 77 studies on Medicaid's effectiveness, and the results may be disappointing for fans of government-provided insurance. Around 60 percent of the studies included in the meta-analysis found that health status and quality of care failed to improve for low-income patients after Medicaid expansion. The analysis also finds that a majority (56 percent of studies) found no improvement in the financial performance of hospitals post-Medicaid expansion. This finding contradicts claims by Obama, Biden and co. that Medicaid expansion would shift patients from the emergency room to doctor's offices, lowering system-wide costs.

These findings are scandalous for an expansion program that costs federal taxpayers at least $70 billion per year. How could all of this money be failing to improve outcomes? Plausibly, the types of institutions that accept Medicaid are larger facilities that aren't as great at delivering quality health-care as smaller offices? The copious paperwork and documentation required by the program don't really allow smaller facilities the bandwidth to deal with Medicaid in an efficient manner. Yet this documentation is necessary to curb rampant fraud in the program that costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars each year.

Greater Medicaid funding and corresponding anti-waste measures fail to address the cancer undermining the healthcare system: sky-high drug prices and expensive medical equipment.

Greater Medicaid funding and corresponding anti-waste measures fail to address the cancer undermining the healthcare system: sky-high drug prices and expensive medical equipment. Instead of pushing for ever-higher government spending, a President Biden could push for a streamlined Food and Drug Administration approval process for drugs and medical devices, which would keep medical costs down and give a green light to innovators everywhere. The cost to develop a single medication is now more than $2 billion, and an onerous FDA approval process costs lives by being too risk-averse.

Presidential hopefuls such as Biden should also pledge to work with states to roll-back "certificate of need" laws, which force medical institutions to jump through countless barriers to expand their facilities and invest in new services. It's not just hospitals and their patients that suffer from these needless laws; Harvard medical scholar David Grabowski sums up the evidence that these laws make nursing homes far worse and costlier than they need to be. Getting rid of these laws nationwide would give patients and consumers far more options when shopping around for the care and facilities they need.

The price problem gripping the American healthcare system simply won't go away while regulatory barriers and onerous approval processes continue to stifle the sector. Presidential hopefuls such as Biden can make a dent in this problem by supporting market reforms, instead of doubling-down on failed government healthcare.

Ross Marchand is a Young Voices contributor and the director of policy for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both fulfilled their goal of living to see the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Then, both died later that day — July 4, 1826. Adams was 90. Jefferson was 83.

Because of their failing health, Jefferson and Adams each declined many invitations to attend July 4th celebrations. Adams sent a letter to be read aloud at the 50th Independence Day celebration in his local town of Quincy, Massachusetts. He wrote that the Declaration is:

... a memorable epoch in the annals of the human race, destined in future history to form the brightest or the blackest page, according to the use or the abuse of those political institutions by which they shall, in time to come, be shaped by the human mind.

It's remarkable how well the Founders understood human nature and what could happen to the United States. It's the postmodern mindset that increasingly rules the U.S. now. It has infected our institutions and untethered us from the bedrock principles of the Declaration. In its place? Hypocritical and vitriolic partisan righteous indignation.

Less than a century after Adams' and Jefferson's deaths, the most serious attempt to undermine the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution came from America's 28th president — Woodrow Wilson. He wrote:

Some citizens of this country have never got beyond the Declaration of Independence.

As if that's a bad thing.

During Wilson's career as a college professor, he thought deeply and wrote extensively of his contempt for our founding documents. His issue with them formed the core beliefs of Progressivism that are still alive today.

In 1911, before he was elected President, Wilson said in a speech:

I do not find the problems of 1911 solved in the Declaration of Independence ... It is the object of Government to make those adjustments of life which will put every man in a position to claim his normal rights as a living human being.

See what he does there? He completely inverts the Declaration — he's saying, you don't have inherent rights until government puts you in a position to claim them. That's the heart of Progressivism.

In a later speech, Wilson said:

If you want to understand the real Declaration of Independence, do not repeat the preface.

Wilson did not think the equality, natural rights, and consent-of-the-governed parts of the Declaration defined the proper role of government. He preferred the Declaration's list of grievances because they addressed specific problems. That's what he thought government existed to do — solve problems for people. And since people's problems change over time, so should the Constitution and government to keep up with the times.

Wilson said:

No doubt we are meant to have liberty; but each generation must form its own conception of what liberty is.

We hear this sentiment echoed all the time today: follow your heart, find your truth, etc.

Another key to Wilson's Progressive theory of government was human evolution. He thought that because humans were now more enlightened, they could be trusted not to abuse government power. The Declaration's committee of five (Adams, Sherman, Franklin, Livingston and Jefferson) would've laughed Wilson out of the room.

It's hard to believe that less than 150 years after the signing of the Declaration, the U.S. president — Wilson — was saying this:

We are not bound to adhere to the doctrines held by the signers of the Declaration of Independence: we are as free as they were to make and unmake governments. We are not here to worship men or a document. Every Fourth of July should be a time for examining our standards, our purposes, for determining afresh what principles, what forms of power we think most likely to effect our safety and happiness. That and that alone is the obligation the Declaration lays upon us.

Wilson was so effective at imposing his philosophy on government that he forever diverted the U.S. presidency away from the Constitution. Progressives have kept Wilson's torch alive ever since.

Progressives are still hostile to the Declaration of Independence because of this idea of “historical contingency" which holds that truths change over time. Progressives think the “self-evident" truths of the Declaration are outdated and may no longer apply. And that means the Constitution based on those truths may no longer apply either. Wilson and Progressives especially don't like the whole separation of powers thing, because it hinders the fast action they want out of government. They want a justice warrior president who will bring swift change by fiat.

The current trend in attacking the Declaration and Constitution is to tear down the men who wrote them. In late 2015, students at the University of Missouri and the College of William & Mary, placed notes all over the statues of Thomas Jefferson on their respective campuses. The handwritten notes labeled Jefferson things like, “racist," “rapist," “pedophile" (not sure what that one's supposed to mean), “How dare you glorify him," “I wouldn't be here if it was up to him," and “Black Lives Matter."

That is the handiwork of students who are blinded by self-righteous victimhood and can't see the value and merit that the Declaration still holds for us today. After these incidents, Annette Gordon-Reed offered a reasoned defense of Jefferson. Reed is a respected history professor at Harvard Law School, who also happens to be a black woman. She wrote:

I understand why some people think his statues should be removed, but not all controversial figures of the past are created equal. I think Jefferson's contributions to the history of the United States outweigh the problems people have with aspects of his life. He is just too much a part of the American story to pretend that he was not there ... The best of his ideals continue to influence and move people. The statues should be a stimulus for considering all these matters at William & Mary and the University of Missouri.

At the opposite end of the spectrum from Woodrow Wilson's disdain for the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln loved it. If there is one overarching theme in Lincoln's speeches, it is the Declaration. Lincoln pointed the nation back to the Declaration as a mission statement, which ended slavery and preserved the Union.

Unlike Wilson, who recommended leaving out the Preamble, Lincoln considered it the most vital part. To Lincoln, the self-evident truths were universal, timeless, and more important than the list of grievances. Lincoln wrote that these truths were:

... applicable to all men and all times ... that today, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling block to the very harbingers of reappearing tyranny and oppression.

In a speech Lincoln gave in 1861, shortly after he was first elected president, he said:

I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence… I have often inquired of myself what great principle or idea it was that kept this Confederacy so long together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the Colonies from the mother-land, but that sentiment in the Declaration which gave liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but, I hope, to the world, for all future time.

Lincoln went on to say that he would rather be assassinated than see the nation forfeit the principles of the Declaration. His Gettysburg Address is a brilliant, concise renewal of the Declaration:

... that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

We cannot assume that this radical idea of freedom will always be embraced by Americans. It has found hostility on our shores every step of the way. The Declaration's principles must be continually defended. Because while humans do have certain unalienable rights that are endowed by our Creator, there is darkness in the world, and for some strange reason humans, while valuing freedom, also seem to have a natural bent toward tyranny. That's why we must understand and discuss the Declaration. It's not alarmist. It's not a quaint history lesson. It's a reality, right now, that the fundamental principles of the Declaration are under attack. The Founders would have undoubtedly shuddered at most of the rhetoric from last week's Democratic presidential debates. Left to its own mob devices, even America would turn its back on freedom.

Shortly before his death in 1826, 90-year-old John Adams was asked to recommend a toast that could be given in his honor on July 4th. Adams didn't hesitate. He suggested, “Independence Forever." The small group of visitors silently glanced at each other for a moment, before someone asked Adams if he'd like to add anything else. Adams shifted forward in his chair, leaned on his cane, stared intently at the men, and replied, “Not a word."

China is having its Boston Tea Party moment

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Freedom. It usually begins as a whisper. A secret passed on between patrons at a secluded bar or private meeting. And no matter how hard the tyrants may try and stop it, no matter how many dams they throw up to try and contain it, the whispers eventually become a flood. Sometimes it takes longer to break through, but it's the same EVERY TIME. Liberty and freedom always wins. It's an unstoppable force that knows no immovable object.

For us it was exactly 243 years ago to this month that those whispers became a flood. A group of ragtag colonists took on the world's only superpower —and won. Our forefathers proved it — freedom refuses to recognize tyranny as an immovable object. The world was forever changed.

And I can't help but see the poetic justice as more whispers became a flood, defying their own immovable object, just three days before all of us were buying fireworks to celebrate our Independence Day. But this time it was just off the coast of mainland China.

Last week over a MILLION protesters filled the streets in Hong Kong. Literally a FLOOD of humans looking for one thing — freedom. They stormed the government building that is the equivalent of their Congress. They smashed windows, broke down doors, and a photo was taken that I think just might be the picture of the year.

A British colonial flag, a symbol thrown out when Hong Kong was given back to China, was draped — BY THE PROTESTORS — over the chair of their head of government. I can't restate how historic this actually is. The people of Hong Kong, with a population that is over 90 percent ethnic Han Chinese, are saying to the mainland that they prefer colonial rule over the tyranny of the Chinese government. Leftists would tell you that communism is the remedy for colonialism, but for those living in the dark shadow of communism, they actually prefer colonial rule over what they now face.

The local Hong Kong government is caught between the immovable object of the Chinese communist government, and the unstoppable force of liberty.

When Hong Kong was given back to the mainland, China agreed to allow them a few freedoms that the rest of the Chinese don't enjoy. They're free to engage in protest against the government and they maintain a legislative body — both of which are outlawed on the mainland. But, as every tyrannical oppressor always does, China has been looking to reel that in. Most recently, China attempted to make it possible to extradite dissenters back to Beijing. The result? The quiet whispers of freedom, the secrets told in private at clandestine meetings, became a flood of millions in the streets.

On July 3rd, police began a crackdown. More than 13 people have been arrested so far. If China eventually gets their way, those 13 people will no doubt be the first of many to be extradited over to the mainland. Their crime? The dream of freedom. As of right now, the extradition law has been temporarily delayed. The local Hong Kong government is caught between the immovable object of the Chinese communist government, and the unstoppable force of liberty.

History has shown who will win in the end. Yesterday, over 200,000 protestors gathered at the high speed train station that links mainland China to Hong Kong. The message was just as clear as the British colonial flag hung inside their legislative building. For our forefathers it was symbolized with the Gadsden Flag and the phrase “Death To Tyranny." The message is simple: “we will not be ruled. Freedom knows no immovable object."

News of the protest movement has been censored in mainland China, but how long will they be able to contain THEIR OWN whispers with over two hundred thousand freedom lovers camped out at the bridge between Hong Kong and mainland China? How long before those whispers spread to secret meeting locations in Beijing or Shanghai? How long before that cascades to the Christian and Muslim minorities that are tired of being rounded up and thrown into camps?

We might have just witnessed the Chinese version of the Boston Tea Party. July 4th is still a long way away for them, but — as it does time and time again — freedom and liberty always win in the end.