Democratic Race Stable as Ten Candidates Qualify for Debate

Former American vice president Joe Biden campaigns in Iowa City, Iowa, May 1, 2018
Former American vice president Joe Biden campaigns in Iowa City, Iowa, May 1, 2018 (Biden for President)

Ten candidates have qualified for the third Democratic presidential debate, to be held in two weeks’ time, putting pressure on the low-polling candidates to drop out.

New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who failed to qualify, ended her campaign on Wednesday, joining John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, Seth Moulton and Eric Swalwell.

Michael Bennet, Bill de Blasio, Steve Bullock, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Tim Ryan, Tom Steyer and Marianne Williamson remain in the race, although they have failed to attract support.

The ten candidates who qualified are: Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang.

Of those, Biden is the clear frontrunner while Sanders and Warren share second place in the polls. Read more

Democrats Back Away from Abolishing Private Health Insurance

Democratic senator Kamala Harris of California listens to voters during a town hall meeting in Los Angeles, April 21, 2017
Democratic senator Kamala Harris of California listens to voters during a town hall meeting in Los Angeles, April 21, 2017 (Office of Senator Kamala Harris)

Good news: Democratic presidential candidates are coming to their senses on health care.

Senators Cory Booker, Kirstin Gillibrand and Kamala Harris have all backed away from abolishing private health insurance in favor of Medicare-for-all.

Even Senator Elizabeth Warren has given herself wiggle room, saying “there are a lot of different pathways” to achieving universal coverage.

The exception is Bernie Sanders, the author of Medicare-for-all and a self-declared democratic socialist. Read more

Down in the Polls, Sanders Echoes Trump on Media Bias

Vermont senator Bernie Sanders gives a speech in Des Moines, Iowa, January 9, 2016
Vermont senator Bernie Sanders gives a speech in Des Moines, Iowa, January 9, 2016 (Gage Skidmore)

First, Bernie Sanders suggested the Democratic Party teamed up on him in 2016 to deny him the presidential nomination. (Of a party of which he is not even a member.)

Now he is suggesting The Washington Post is giving him unfavorable coverage because he has been critical of its owner, Jeff Bezos.

America already has one party that regularly calls the legitimacy of institutions like universities, the FBI and NATO into doubt. It doesn’t need Democrats to do the same. Read more

How We Talk About Our Opponents Matters

President George W. Bush speaks at a memorial ceremony, September 11, 2008
President George W. Bush speaks at a memorial ceremony, September 11, 2008 (US Navy)

Remember when George W. Bush was a fascist? When he signed the PATRIOT Act and launched the Iraq War, reasonable left-wing Americans voiced reasonable objections. The far left reached for Hitler.

Republicans dismissed this as over-the-top, because it was. (And it made it easier for them to dismiss reasonable objections as well.) So when the real thing came along, and this time not only the far left but commentators on the center-right warned that Donald Trump had a lot in common with the worst leaders in European history, many Republican voters once again shrugged.

If anything, it made them support Trump more. As one voter told The Atlantic in 2016:

Give people the impression that you will hate them the same or nearly so for voting Jeb Bush as compared to voting for Trump and where is the motivation to be socially acceptable with Jeb?

The left continues to make this mistake — and so does the right. Read more

Don’t Count on Turnout

Americans wait in line to vote in Fullerton, California, November 6, 2018
Americans wait in line to vote in Fullerton, California, November 6, 2018 (Shutterstock/Matt Gush)

It used to be Republicans in the United States who fantasized about raising turnout to win national elections.

As recently as 2016, Texas senator Ted Cruz, then a presidential hopeful, suggested that there were millions of evangelical voters waiting to be activated by the right candidate. (No prize for guessing who he thought that candidate was.)

Now the left is falling for the same delusion. Read more

Democrats Are Not Talking to Swing Voters

New York mayor Bill de Blasio, Ohio congressman Tim Ryan, former housing secretary Julián Castro, New Jersey senator Cory Booker and Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren participate in a Democratic presidential debate in Miami, Florida, June 26
New York mayor Bill de Blasio, Ohio congressman Tim Ryan, former housing secretary Julián Castro, New Jersey senator Cory Booker and Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren participate in a Democratic presidential debate in Miami, Florida, June 26 (Getty Images/Joe Raedle)

Imagine you’re an American swing voter and you listened Tuesday and Wednesday night to the twenty Democrats vying for their party’s presidential nomination. What did you hear?

  • Three of the four highest-polling candidates want to abolish private health insurance and replace it with a single government program.
  • Virtually all candidates would decriminalize illegal entry into the United States and all of them praised immigration.
  • Many would give free health care to undocumented immigrants.
  • Some, like Bernie Sanders, would even give them a free college education.

This is not a winning program. Read more

Elizabeth Warren May Be the Strongest Democratic Candidate

Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts speaks at a campaign event in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 27
Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts speaks at a campaign event in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 27 (Gage Skidmore)

If 2016 taught me anything, it is not to make predictions. I don’t know who is going to win the Democratic presidential nomination in the United States, so take what follows with a grain of salt — and remember that we’re still more than half a year out from the Iowa caucuses, which will kick off the official nominating process in February. A lot can (and almost certainly will) change.

Former vice president Joe Biden is currently ahead. He is first in the national polls and the early voting state polls. He is also first in the endorsement primary, which measures support from elected officials. For Democrats pining for a restoration of the Obama era, Biden is the obvious choice.

I would put California senator Kamala Harris in second place. She is second in the endorsement primary and shares second place in national polls with Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. She made a strong impression in the first debate, but she has flipflopped twice on whether or not she would abolish private health insurance. This is not a trivial issue. Her vagueness on what many Americans rank as the number-one problem in their lives is worrying.

Sanders is probably in third place, but I don’t think he has a lot of potential for growth. I’m biased, though. I don’t like Sanders’ style. Whenever he is pushed for detail, he argues that a “political revolution” will make his far-reaching policy proposals somehow feasible. I prefer plans over slogans.

If I had to bet right now, I would put my money on Warren. Read more