In the aftermath of the 2016 election, CNN has started hosting several town halls with major political figures. Next week will feature a debate between Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz, and this past week Nancy Pelosi had a town hall of her own. At one point during Pelosi’s town hall, the difference between old and young Democrats was put on stark display.
At one point during her town hall, a young questioner who described himself as a socialist asked her a question that began with him pointing out that “fifty-one percent of people between 18 and 29 no longer support the system of capitalism.” The questioner then stated: “I wonder if there’s anywhere you feel that Democrats could move left to a more populist message the way the alt-right has sort of captured this populist strain on the right wing.”
Pelosi began her response to this question by simply saying “I thank you for your question, but I have to say we’re capitalists. That’s just the way it is.” From there, she “went on to say that there were issues with income inequality and defended the social safety net, but made it clear the Democratic Party supported capitalism.”
Unsurprisingly the questioner, an NYU student who supported Bernie Sanders in the primary and who voted for Jill Stein in November, was unsatisfied, citing how Pelosi didn’t understand socialists who are “drowning under capitalism.”
This exchange encapsulates some of the problems that are clearly on display for the Democratic Party: its younger voters prefer socialism to capitalism and its more liberal activists are itching to topple incumbents they view as too accommodating of Republicans.
Time will tell if Pelosi or her questioner wins the battle for the Democratic Party (although the fight for its Chairman’s race will be a critical bellwether).