As Democrats struggle over the direction of their party, Gov. Gavin Newsom may have highlighted a slogan that can bridge not only intra-party differences but also find acceptance in a broader populist context. In response to a question about Democrats who support a democratic-socialist approach to policy, Newsom expressed support for “inclusive capitalism.”
Newsom doesn’t own the phrase “inclusive capitalism.” In fact, one can find a discussion of “inclusive capitalism” that reviews roots to varied political thinkers throughout history. There is a non-profit organization that hopes to drive the idea of “inclusive capitalism” forward. It has backing from both business and labor and its conference last year heard from speakers across the political spectrum.
But, Newsom, as he has a wont to do, can push concepts into the spotlight.
Political labels have particularly found acceptance in presidential campaigns over the last century. Theodore Roosevelt’s “Square Deal,” Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” John Kennedy’s “New Frontier,” Lyndon John’s “Great Society,” and George W. Bush’s “Compassionate Conservative” all were meant to promote the president’s or presidential candidate’s policy choices and shape the way the people would talk about those policy choices.
Newsom’s acknowledgement of being an inclusive capitalist covers both his history as an entrepreneur and his policy plans to help raise all Californians to participate in, and benefit from, investments focused on the long-term to build a strong economy. The question is can he do so with the push from allies who believe distributive policies are the answer to society’s woes.
What promoted the question to Newsom is the drive by many in his party to support socialistic solutions and another popular slogan of the times, the “New Green Deal.” The proposal is chock-full of expensive government programs and directives. Originally, it was considered a take off on FDR’s “New Deal,” which at the time of its introduction was a big turn toward welfare programs and government involvement in business affairs.
However, the chief advocate of the Green New Deal, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocosio Cortez, severed the connection to the New Deal by claiming it was racist. An interesting charge, considering the New Deal was a major reason African-Americans started to register Democratic after being Republican for decades as homage to Republican president Abraham Lincoln.
Newsom isn’t the only one that is using the phrase “inclusive capitalism.” In his Orange County Register column, Joel Kotkin, well-known public policy commentator and presidential fellow at Chapman University, discussing the appeal of democratic socialism, wrote: “My fellow capitalists, please remember that only a broadly inclusive version of capitalism can exorcise the ghost of socialism.”
The slogan “inclusive capitalism” could find broad acceptance in these politicized times.
Newsom adopting the phrase has the feel of a presidential slogan. But Gavin is not running for president, is he?