Liberal Democrats Are Least Bad Option in British Election

Jo Swinson unveils the Liberal Democratic manifesto at a party conference in London, England, November 20
Jo Swinson unveils the Liberal Democratic manifesto at a party conference in London, England, November 20 (Liberal Democrats)

British politics hasn’t given liberals hope in recent years.

In 2015, we called for another Conservative-Liberal coalition. When the Conservative Party won an outright majority that year and veered to the right, embracing Brexit with a gusto, we switched to the Liberal Democrats. We still supported Ruth Davidson’s Conservatives in Scotland in 2017, but she is gone and with her any hope of moderation on the right.

Boris Johnson, who once described himself as a liberal, has made common cause with the reactionaries in his party to take power; forced out 21 principled moderates who opposed his Brexit policy, including ten former cabinet ministers, two former chancellors and one former deputy prime minister; and unlawfully suspended Parliament in an attempt to prevent debate on his Brexit deal, which, for all his bluster, is essentially the deal the EU offered two years ago.

Worst of all, Johnson frames this election as a choice between “the people” and Parliament. That is the sort of insidious rhetoric which paves the way for the erosion of liberal democracy. Read more

Democratic Primary News

Democratic senator Kamala Harris of California visits the aircraft carrier USS Teddy Roosevelt, June 2, 2017
Democratic senator Kamala Harris of California visits the aircraft carrier USS Teddy Roosevelt, June 2, 2017 (Office of Senator Kamala Harris)
  • California senator Kamala Harris has ended her presidential bid.
  • Support for Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren has fallen from a high of 26 percent to under 15 percent since she announced her Medicare-for-all plan.
  • Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is officially in the race and trying an unconventional strategy: bypassing the first four primary states.
  • Former vice president Joe Biden remains at the top of the field with 25 to 30 percent support. Read more

Democratic Party Elites Worry Candidates Aren’t Up to the Task

Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama meet in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, August 27, 2014
Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama meet in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, August 27, 2014 (White House/Pete Souza)
  • Deval Patrick, the center-left former governor of Massachusetts, and a friend of former president Barack Obama, has entered the Democratic presidential primary.
  • Obama himself has warned candidates to “pay some attention to where voters actually are.”

    The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it. They just don’t want to see crazy stuff.

  • Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, a centrist, has filed paperwork in Alabama, which has an early cut-off date, just in case he decides to run.
  • Even Hillary Clinton, who lost to Donald Trump in 2016, is not ruling out another bid, telling the BBC, “I’m under enormous pressure from many, many, many people to think about it.”
  • Democratic Party officials have been slow to endorse candidates this year. Read more

Republicans Won’t Allow Trump to Face Competition

American president Donald Trump arrives in Salt Lake City, Utah, December 4, 2017
American president Donald Trump arrives in Salt Lake City, Utah, December 4, 2017 (ANG/Annie Edwards)

Remember when Trumpists were up in arms in 2016 about internal Republican attempts to deny their man the presidential nomination?

I defended such attempts at the time, arguing that Republicans had every right to use every method at their disposal to stop a candidate so patently unfit for high office and one who didn’t even share their views on foreign policy and trade. (Most Republicans have since come around to Trump’s views.)

But Donald Trump’s supporters saw an “establishment” plot and demanded that the “democratic” will of the Republican electorate be respected. (No matter that only 45 percent of primary voters supported Trump.)

Not anymore. Read more

Romney-to-Clinton Voters Prefer Biden

Former American vice president Joe Biden campaigns in Des Moines, Iowa, August 8
Former American vice president Joe Biden campaigns in Des Moines, Iowa, August 8 (Gage Skidmore)

In the six states that could decide the outcome of the 2020 election in America, Joe Biden outpolls his Democratic rivals, in particular among minority voters and white voters with a college degree.

The New York Times reports that middle-income voters in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin prefer the relatively centrist former vice president over the more left-wing Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

The head-to-head figures against Donald Trump are mostly within the margin of error and probably not predictive a year out from the election.

But they do give Democratic primary voters vital information as they make up their minds about whom to nominate. Read more

Democratic Primary News

Former American vice president Joe Biden campaigns in Clear Lake, Iowa, August 9
Former American vice president Joe Biden campaigns in Clear Lake, Iowa, August 9 (Gage Skidmore)
  • Beto O’Rourke has dropped out.
  • Joe Biden has pulled ahead of the other candidates in the endorsement primary.
  • Elizabeth Warren has released a plan to pay for Medicare-for-all.
  • Kamala Harris has pulled out of New Hampshire and is focusing entirely on Iowa.
  • Biden is at 27 percent support in recent polls, followed by Warren at 21, Bernie Sanders at 17, Pete Buttigieg at 8 and Harris at 5.
  • Biden is down from a high of 40 percent in May, when Warren was polling at just 8 percent. Read more

Who Pays for Medicare-for-All?

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)

Replacing private health insurance with a single-payer, government-run system is hugely unpopular in the United States, but that hasn’t convinced two of the Democrats’ three top-polling presidential candidates — Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — to back away from it.

In the most recent televised debate, Warren, who is polling neck and neck with former vice president Joe Biden, couldn’t say how much “Medicare-for-all” would cost or who would pay for it. She has since promised to release a detailed plan.

Sanders, to his credit, admitted it would require tax increases. But by how much, and for whom, he didn’t say.

He can’t. Nationalizing health insurance for 327 million Americans is such a huge and complex undertaking that nobody knows how much it would cost.

Which calls into question the wisdom of doing it at all. Read more