At a press conference today, the Democratic nominee for governor of Maryland, Ben Jealous, snapped at a reporter who asked if he identifies as a socialist:
In the video, Jealous repeatedly described himself as a venture capitalist. Later this afternoon, he made the same point on Twitter:
I do not know why he did this. I generally understand why a Democrat would say they’re not a socialist, though I don’t like it. I get that we’re not yet at the point where Democrats can run as socialists in every race, though it would definitely hurt Jealous way less than he thinks it would, and probably not at all. But I can’t figure out why Jealous thinks it’s appealing or good messaging to say, “don’t worry guys, I’m actually a venture capitalist—you know, one of those guys who really, really sucks.”
It’s arguably even worse than when Nancy Pelosi responded to a leftist student’s question about whether the Democrats should move left on economics by saying, “We’re capitalists, that’s just the way it is.” Yes, most voters still prefer the idea of a “free market” (which doesn’t exist, but whatever), but that’s an economic system and not a person. Jealous specifically called himself a “venture capitalist,” saying that his job is to “invest in growing businesses.”
A venture capitalist is not the opposite of a socialist. You’re not a venture capitalist if you like being able to purchase products on apps. You’re a venture capitalist if you have a shitload of money and you invest it in apps and other businesses, making you even more money. (They’re also not even good at that.) Most people probably don’t know what exactly a venture capitalist is, but it sure sounds a lot like “incredibly rich guy who throws money at businesses he thinks can make him richer.” It’s one step above saying, “don’t worry guys, I’m a banker.”
The voters that Democrats should be going after do not want Rich Business Guys to run their state; they hate Rich Business Guys, because Rich Business Guys fucked up the financial system, charge them interest on their student loans, make it harder to get healthcare, and charge them overdraft fees on their bank accounts. Anyone who wants a Rich Business Guy in charge is probably not going to vote for Democrats, and anyone who is a Rich Business Guy shouldn’t want to run as a Democrat, because the Democrats should be for taking all the Rich Business Guy money and spending it on everyone else.
Venture capitalists are the guys who thought Juicero was a good idea, to the tune of $118 million. No venture capitalists in the Democratic party, thanks.