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New Alabama senator struggles with basic WWII history and says US fought ‘socialism and communism’

The Independent logo The Independent 14/11/2020 Josh Marcus
AOC says progressives have won the 'generational moment'

Tommy Tuberville, the incoming Republican senator from Alabama, doubled down on his erroneous grasp of World War II history in comments on Thursday, telling a news site his father, a US soldier, fought to “free Europe of socialism.”

“I tell people, my dad fought 76 years ago in Europe to free Europe of Socialism,” he told Alabama Daily News. “Today, you look at this election, we have half this country that made some kind of movement, now they might not believe in it 100 per cent, but they made some kind of movement toward socialism.”

Last week, he made a similar remark in a speech to supporters, recounting that his father was part of “liberating Paris from socialism and communism.” 

Tommy Tuberville wearing a suit and tie: Tommy Tuberville, the incoming US senator for AlabamaTuberville for Senate, Inc. © Provided by The Independent Tommy Tuberville, the incoming US senator for AlabamaTuberville for Senate, Inc.

Though the full name of the Nazis was the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, they were fascists, not socialists. And the Soviet Union, a US ally during the war, was communist.

During the campaign, in which Mr Tuberville, the former football coach of Auburn University, defeated Democratic incumbent Doug Jones, the Republican had another factual mix-up, appearing not to understand what the landmark Voting Rights Act is.

Calling Democrats socialists is a longstanding canard that has resurfaced in recent years thanks in part to the growing prominence of progressives like senator Bernie Sanders and congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who describe themselves as “democratic socialists.”

But as she told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, despite attacks from the right and the left that Democrats are going socialist and losing voters, she’s not aware of anyone in office who fits the description of a true socialist

“If you look at some of the arguments that are being advanced, that ‘Defund the Police’ hurt or that arguments about socialism hurt, not a single member of Congress that I’m aware of campaigned on socialism or defunding the police in this general election,” she said.

The arguments over the label reflect a broader discussion going on in the Democratic party about how liberal it should be, following its presidential win and disappointing run in congressional elections.

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