Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez insisted Sunday that his party does not have a problem of division because Democratic socialism and "moral capitalism" are compatible.
Perez appeared on "Meet the Press" and argued Democrats have the best record on job creation and the economy because they make sure "everybody succeeds" through the shared prosperity of "moral capitalism." Host Chuck Todd inquired about the Democratic socialist movement, which boasts many of the most high-profile leaders on the left, such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.).
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"Can you be a Democratic socialist and for moral capitalism?" Todd asked.
"Absolutely," Perez responded, arguing former president Ronald Reagan was wrong to use the "label" of socialism to criticize Medicare. "Don't forget, when Ronald Reagan was railing against medicare in 1963 he said medicare—this is a quote—'will lead to socialized medicine and will lead to socialism in America.'"
Democratic socialists are calling for an entirely socialized healthcare system on the model of Medicare, which they call "Medicare for all." This left-wing proposal is backed by most of the Democrats running for president, but Perez didn't bring it up. He said he’s about "results" rather than labels.
"Medicare has led to security for our seniors and so some people want to try to use labels and misuse labels. Here's what Democrats are about. We're about results and we are about making sure you have a right to health care," he said.
Socialism is defined as "any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods," but a debate is ongoing about whether socialists can reinvent the term. Some have argued Democratic socialism is different from doctrinaire socialism and allows for some market-based solutions. This apparently left the term so vague that Perez felt comfortable saying it’s compatible with what’s been seen as its antithesis: capitalism.
Perez went on to say there’s much more the Democrats want to promise to all Americans, adding that health care in the country is "the real emergency."
"If you work a full-time job you ought to be able to feed your family, and you ought to be able to reduce gun violence," he said. "We have people across the country who will be marching tomorrow because they'll be talking about this fake emergency and making us focus on the real emergency and people who are diabetic who don't have access to health care."