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If we want to have a social democratic society, a big political change will have to happen. A major political party will have to adopt social democracy as a guiding principle, push very hard for it, and win enough elections to implement it. This actually happened during the days of Franklin Roosevelt. But the successes of the New Deal were taken for granted for such a long time that the Democratic Party forgot to maintain the ideal behind them.
The modern Republican Party is of course totally opposed to the concept of social democracy. The underlying emotional driver for this opposition in the conservative rank and file is the fear that someone somewhere might get something that they do not deserve, with whatever socially conservative definition of undeserved they use.
The modern Democratic Party is not as clear on what it is for. What advocacy for social democracy there is comes from Democrats. But all too many are ambivalent or fearful over that idea. They have internalized the fear that somehow we can't afford it, or that people are too conservative to support it, or they have grown too dependent on the rich and powerful who oppose it. The decades long pounding of the conservative message has gotten to them, even if they say they are opposed to the conservative movement.
So we need a party that is explicitly committed to the idea of social democracy. Its candidates, for offices from President to city council, should support it. Those that do not should face opposition in primaries.
If the Democratic Party cannot do this, then I reluctantly think we have to consider starting a new party. The cost would be the years that it would take to start a new party would be lost years for American politics. The best hope is that the Democratic Party would go in the right direction. That means that people in the party have to insist it do so.
I'm pessimistic by nature, but would be very happy if the Democratic Party and the people of our nation would prove me wrong and really make progress towards this ideal.