Vermont Democratic Candidate for Governor: 'I'm Not Sure I Even Know What Socialism Is'

Christine Hallquist: 'I just don't have the background to answer that question'

August 15, 2018

Vermont gubernatorial candidate Christine Hallquist, who secured the Democratic nomination Tuesday, was forced to admit she doesn't know what socialism is during an interview Wednesday morning.

CNN host John Berman mentioned a recent Gallup poll, which shows Democrats view socialism more favorably than capitalism, and asked Hallquist if she was surprised by the poll's results. The Vermont Democrat responded by focusing more on the use of the labels of socialism and capitalism, saying she's not "big on labels."

"Well, you know, I'm not a person that's big on labels because I've found labels are used to separate people," Hallquist said. "You know, I look at the platform of a living wage and health care for all–that's called civilized society. I don't even know how that became socialism or Republican or Democrat; let's be a civilized society."

"Do you support capitalism?" Berman asked.

"Obviously the long history of measuring ourselves by increasing gross domestic product is a flawed measure, because that just encourages consumption, and we can see what consumption is doing to our world," Hallquist said.

Berman pressed the candidate on the issue, noting it sounded like her ideas were more in line with socialism than capitalism.

"Again, I know you don't like labels, and this poll didn't ask people to choose between capitalism and socialism," Berman said, "but when faced with the choice between the two, it does sound like you look more favorably–again, labels you have an issue with–on the ideas behind socialism."

"Well, yes, and I'm not sure I even know what socialism is," Hallquist said. "So I just don't have the background to answer that question."

Hallquist, a transgender candidate who defeated three other Democrats in the primary, will face incumbent Gov. Phil Scott (R.) in November.