Trend Watch

Ocasio-Cortez Sparks 'Socialism' Lookups

Searches jump over 1500% after victory

Lookups for socialism spiked on June 27, 2018, following the Democratic primary victory for a congressional seat in New York City by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, defeating 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley. CNN’s headline was typical:

A 28-year-old Democratic Socialist just ousted a powerful, 10-term congressman in New York

Socialism is defined as "a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies," and democratic socialism is a form of government in which state regulation (without state ownership) would ensure economic growth and a fair distribution of income.

One of Ocasio-Cortez’s signature issues is her advocacy for universal health care. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA are all programs currently in place that resemble socialist policy, but socialism has been a hot-button word in American politics since the 1930s, when it was often conflated with communism.

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