Is ‘Socialism’ Something To Be Feared In Buffalo’s Mayoral Race?
Mayor Byron Brown launched his write-in campaign for a fifth term on Monday painting Democratic nominee India Walton as a “radical socialist”.
“People are fearful about the future of our city,” Brown said. “They are fearful about the future of their families. They are fearful about the future of their children. They have said to me that they do not want a radical socialist occupying the mayor’s office in Buffalo City Hall.”
Walton, the self-described democratic socialist who shocked Buffalo by beating Mayor Brown in the Democratic primary, immediately fired back on Tuesday.
“The only thing that is radical about this campaign is that this is a radical act of love,” she said.
Jacob Neiheisel, a political science professor at the University at Buffalo and an expert in symbolic politics, was asked by NEWS 4 (WIVB-TV) about the "socialist theme" believes this will linger throughout the campaign in the lead-up to November 2nd.
“It is a bit of a critical case study,” Neiheisel said. “It has a lot of the trappings where you would expect the label to be at issue.”
Do people fear the term socialism?
A recent article from the Stanford Law School put it this way...If you want to destroy a program, call it “socialist.” Unfortunately, most people who invoke this term of late have no idea what it means.
Socialism, merely means that the government manages the production or distribution of certain goods.
Public education is socialist. The preservation of streams and clean air is socialist. Public libraries are socialist. Requiring car insurance is socialist. Disaster relief is socialist. Medicare is socialist.
A 2019 Monmouth poll found that 10% of Americans viewed socialism favorably. 42% had a negative view of socialism. Neiheisel suggests those numbers are fluid and could differ in the Queen City.
“Not surprisingly, the further we get away from the Cold War, the more that number changes, and it changes between generations,” he said. “It has been a moving target, if you will. But America at large is not Buffalo. It’s not the largely Democratic electorate in the city.”
Election Day is November 2nd.