A recently released Gallup Poll shows that 43 percent of Americans think socialism is a good idea, while 51 percent do not. The timing of the poll coincides with an engaging, albeit non-scientific, video by TPUSA’s Benny Johnson exploring opinions about socialism in AOC’s congressional district.

Recently, Benny Johnson of Turning Point USA made a visit to New York’s 14th Congressional District. The 14th is the District that elected AOC, the politician formerly known as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to the United States Congress in 2018.

His purpose was to interview regular people on the street and ask them whether they are in favor of socialism — AOC being the most openly socialist politician in Washington — even stepping over Bernie Sanders to claim that mantle. Johnson’s efforts are summarized in a well-produced and entertaining video that can be found on YouTube.

Before sharing reflections on Johnson’s engagement with citizens, let’s recap some election facts. AOC was a bartender who was recruited to run for office through a group called Justice Democrats. This group is dedicated to recruiting, training, and helping candidates who embrace ideas of the government managing the economy and the social engineering of all citizen activities. They also want the United States to recede as a military superpower and surrender its’ role as the world leader.

In 2016, the Justice Democrats used social media to put out a call for candidates in order to find fresh voices to train for the 2018 election. According to them, out of over 10,000 recommendations, they found AOC. The rest is currently-being-written history.

AOC first defeated long-time Democratic incumbent Joseph Crowley in the Democrat primary. Crowley had occupied the Seat since 1998 and in the 2016 election, he beat his Republican rival with nearly 83 percent of the vote. A mere two years later AOC would beat Crowley in the primary 57 percent to 43 percent.

I had written at the time that a review of both AOC’s campaign site and Crowley’s side by side showed that they agreed on virtually every issue. The real difference was the plainness of AOC’s language that made it clear she wants centralized control over almost every aspect of citizen life.

Except, of course, for the part that gives you the right to kill a child right up to, and just beyond, the moment it is born. That’s up to you.

New York’s 14th, which encompasses parts of the Bronx and Queen’s County, elected a woman who embraces the notions of Rousseau, Marx, Saul Alinsky, and Margaret Sanger all rolled into one. To get more extreme than AOC would be to risk imprisonment over fomenting riots. What did Benny Johnson find when he went into her district?

Here is a sampling of the kinds of remarks Benny got to the question what do you think of socialism?

  • “I like capitalism. I like to earn my bucks and spend them on ‘moi.'”
  • “Why work if you are just going to give people everything without having to work”
  • “What if I work harder than someone else? Shouldn’t I be able to get more?”
  • “I left a socialist country (Yugoslavia). It was terrible. It is why I came to the United States.”
  • “I work because I choose to. I give to my church because I choose to. I should be able to make that choice.”

The only openly socialist interviewee was wearing a pair of designer Armani glasses (which he insisted were old) and drove away in a Mercedes. Both are products of free market capitalism.

With AOC having won nearly 80 percent of the vote in the general election, it is impossible to imagine that Benny didn’t interview some people who had voted for the openly socialist candidate. How can there be such a disconnect between personal belief and personal vote?

It is easy to say that voters just aren’t educated or aren’t very smart. But if we say that, it also means they aren’t very smart when they decry socialism. The answer has to be more complex.

We all are familiar with the idea that voters sometimes show up to vote “against” a candidate instead of voting “for” a candidate. They may not be enthused about the person they are electing, but they just don’t want the other choice. Something similar could be at work with candidates like AOC and socialist support, in general.

We assume that voters are always walking into the polls voting for themselves — voting for that which helps them the most. But in today’s America where there is so much emphasis on other people having advantages, wealth, “stuff,” that others don’t have, isn’t it possible that people are not voting for themselves but are really voting against others? When they hear the message of AOC they are not thinking about how their freedom will be limited, they are only thinking about how someone else who has more than they need will finally have that taken away by the state.

What they don’t understand is that the only way to take away property and rights from others is to also take away their own opportunity to acquire property and maintain their own rights. Socialism by its very definition cannot be applied selectively. The needs of the many must take priority over the needs of the one; of you. Rousseau told us this. Spock told us this!

The challenge for those of us who believe in liberty is to make voters understand that they need to walk into a voting booth and vote for themselves. They have to make the connection that voting for liberty means voting against envy. AOC and others like her can only survive if they are fed by the desire of people to punish those they perceive as having more than they need.

Every Democrat Presidential candidate is running on a variation of a message that can be reduced to the following two words: Get even. We need to make each voter understand that getting even, like seeking revenge, requires them to dig two graves.