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America's best known 20th Century democratic socialist, Michael Harrington, the author of The Other America, spent the last part of his life trying to push the Democratic Party in the direction of European social democracy (for real, and not as a right wing fantasy). Sadly, we all know how well that turned out. instead, across the developed world, socialist and social democratic parties all abandoned socialism (except as an occasional nostalgic memory). Now we have this:

Not only does a plurality (49-43) of young people hold a favorable view of socialism — and, by a tiny margin (47-46), a negative view of capitalism — so do liberal Democrats, who view socialism positively by a solid 59-33; and African Americans, 55-36. Hispanics are modestly opposed, 49-44, to socialism, but they hold decisively negative attitudes toward capitalism, 55-32.

Of course, the significance of these survey results depends on what's meant by the labels "socialism" and "capitalism," and whether these attitudes translate in progressive policies is very much an open question. But, still, Michael Harrington must be smiling down from wherever lapsed-Catholic secular humanists go when they pass from this world.

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