Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ted Cruz got into a Twitter feud. Guess who won.

Republicans are showing how desperately they want voters to believe that Democrats are “crazy socialists” determined to destroy the capitalist nature of the United States. Trump’s recent fundraising emails warn that the Democrats’ “radical agenda of open borders, tax-hikes, and job-killing regulations would be a DISASTER for America… Let’s stand against radical socialism and continue to Make America Great Again!” An email from the America First Action PAC ramped up the rhetoric, asking for “help to ensure that the TRUTH is heard over the screams of the Socialist Mob.”

The truth is that socialism is not a dirty word requiring a government takeover of everything. The truth is that no candidate has proposed policies that could reasonably be interpreted as “radical socialism.” The truth is that the United States has long incorporated socialism into our society in big ways, such as with Social Security, the military, fire departments, public libraries, public roads, and even public toilets, and yet we remain a proudly capitalist society. As Bill Maher put it on HBO’s “Real Time” on Friday, “We don’t want ‘long lines for bread’ socialism, we want ‘you don’t have to win the Lotto to afford brain surgery’ socialism.”

As Democrats flood the airwaves with strong, positive messages about our country, Trump’s defenders are bending over backward to force their fear-mongering nonsense about socialism into the public conversation. Yesterday’s Twitter exchange between Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ted Cruz is a perfect example. AOC tweeted about how LaGuardia Airport sells croissants for $7, yet “some people think getting a whole hour of personal, dedicated human labor for $15 is too expensive.” AOC was simply arguing for increasing the minimum wage, and so Cruz could have taken the opportunity to present a convincing counterargument. Instead, Cruz jumped at what he thought was a perfect opportunity to brand the Democrat as a crazy socialist. He tweeted back: “Oh the humanity! Here’s the answer: government-mandated FREE CROISSANTS FOR ALL. And we’ll just force the bakers to give all of their time for free.”

The thing is, AOC was not complaining about the price of the croissants, let alone the idea of paying for them. She handily shut down Cruz and his flawed socialism attack in her next tweet: “GOP taking every tweet so earnestly, making my point for me. It’s not an argument against the price of a croissant – it’s about the value of human worth. But I guess that idea is foreign to them since their policies treat people as disposable anyway.”

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