Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all ~ Adam Smith (6/16/1723 to 7/17/1790) a Scottish moral philosopher and pioneer of political economy who is best known for two classic works: The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776).
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, appearing on MSNBC's Hardball on Thursday 7/30/2015, was asked by Chris Matthews what the difference is between a Democrat and a Socialist. Instead of answering the question Debbie dodged it and spoke about the difference between the Dems and the Repubs.
The reason she didn't answer is because the response would not look good for Democrats. Because, as Bernie Sanders himself explained, democratic socialists are for The People.
|[If] one takes a hard look at countries around the world who have successful records in fighting and implementing programs for the middle class and working families... Finland, Norway, Sweden, and other countries that have had labor governments or social democratic governments... what you find is that... health care is a right of all people and their systems are far more cost-effective than ours, college education is virtually free in all of those countries, people retire with better benefits, wages that people receive are often higher, distribution of wealth and income is much fairer, their public education systems are generally stronger than ours. (No Really—What's the Difference Between a Democrat and a Socialist? by Arit John. Bloomberg Politics 7/31/2015).|
Republicans are the corporate party that fights for the large corporations and the wealthy, and Democrats are the corporate party that tries to strike a balance between fighting for the large corporations/the wealthy and the "lower classes" (and small businesses). Although they do have an entire caucus (the Progressives, which is Congress's largest caucus) that fights for The People.
This "balance" was laid out officially by Bill Clinton, who called it the Third Way. The First Way being fighting exclusively for The People and doing what is best for The People in all cases. While recognizing that what is beneficial to The People will also benefit corporations and the wealthy. Because when The People are doing well the economy does well. And that is beneficial to everyone. This describes the Progressive caucus. And I'd be hard pressed to say what the differences between Progressives and democratic Socialists are.
The Second Way is to sell out totally to the wealthy and corporations and work hard to feed their greed. Even though the wealthy and corporations do well when The People are doing well, for many greedy rich a-holes doing well (and sharing the wealth) is not good enough. They want more, and they want it at the expense of The People. They want the economy run exclusively for their benefit... and screw the "lower classes". They will be harmed in order that the wealthy do FAR better than the rest of us. This is the Way the modern Republican Party has chosen.
The Third Way was a path taken by Bill Clinton and is still the strategy to win elections that the Democratic Party (by and large) follows today. This strategy panders to the corporations and wealthy in order to get cash to fund their elections, while doing less to help The People. Pandering to the wealthy and corporations comes first, while doing what is best for The People comes second. Bill Clinton determined that this Third Way was necessary in order to combat the Republican advantage (of donations from the corporations and the wealthy going mostly to them).
Libertarians, FYI, stand with the Republicans (and follow the 2nd Way). Although they do it with a slight twist, which is their jettisoning of the social conservatism that the Republicans use to trick "lower class" bigots into voting for them. Because the corporations and the wealthy don't care about social conservatism. It simply does not affect their bottom line. In fact, being bigoted might cost a business money (and they'll say NO to Social Conservatism for that reason).
But this explains why the Libertarians are a very minor party. The Republicans have their dupes in the bigots, the Democrats have their dupes, although many vote Democrat simply because there is no better option. Except for the Progressives. They're the better option, and people who aren't duped will vote for them when they can (if a Progressive is running).
Libertarians have their dupes, but they are significantly less of them. They don't have the bigots and they don't have the non-dupes who realize that Libertarians, Repubs and 3rd Way Dems are fighting for the wealthy. The voters who remain, the non-bigoted dupes who believe that fighting for the wealthy will benefit all, work out to be a very small group.
There is another twist in how the Libertarians wish to serve the wealthy that I didn't mention yet. This second twist is that they profess to want to get government out of the way by decreasing regulations significantly. And they also profess to oppose bailouts and crony capitalism. Because they hate government and believe that the wealthy should have all the power (which they do not wish to share with government).
Although (excepting the true believers) this is a somewhat lie. I say somewhat because this is their true desire, but they will not spurn government help so long as it is available. The Koch brothers being an example of plutocrats who say they are Libertarians but fight for handouts from government. (How Koch Industries Makes Billions By Demanding Bailouts And Taxpayer Subsidies 3/1/2011).
The Koch Brothers might prefer to get government out of the way, but so long as the system exists as it does (a system where bailouts and crony capitalism exist) they will get in line and shamelessly beg for these gifts paid for by taxpayers.
But back to Wasserman Schultz... she obviously could not lay out this distinction... because it would look bad for the 3rd Way Democratic Party. Which the Democratic Party is; in spite of the existence of the Progressive caucus. Most Progressives have to go along to get along. They TRY to serve The People primarily, but simply are not able to. Because the alliance between the corporate Republicans and the corporate Republicans prevent them from working for The People alone.
As for WHY Chris Matthews asked this question in the first place... he was acting as the "tip of the spear" in the 3rd Way Democrat plan to take down Bernie Sanders (for more on this see DSB #16).
Video: Matthews "Dumbfounds" DNC Chair: "Tell Me the Difference Between You and a Socialist". (1:24).