Elizabeth Warren May Be the Strongest Democratic Candidate
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 ahead. He places 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 wants to abolish private health insurance. This is not a trivial issue. Her vagueness on what many Americans rank as their top concern (health care) 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
Democrats Are Closer to the Center Than Republicans
In a recent column, I argued Democrats in the United States have moved to the left but Republicans have moved farther to the right. The former, at least in their policies, are still more centrist than most center-left parties in Europe while the latter now have more in common with far-right populists than they do with Britain’s Conservative Party and Germany’s Christian Democrats.
Centrists (myself included) still worry that Democrats might become too left-wing for voters in the middle — who, the turnout fantasies of partisans on either side notwithstanding, tend to decide the outcome of national elections. Read more
Abolishing Private Health Insurance Is Bad Policy for Democrats
Four of the Democrats running for their party’s presidential nomination committed to replacing private health insurance with a government-run system in debates this week: Senators Kamala Harris of California, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts as well as Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York.
Harris later maintained she had misheard the question and supports Medicare-for-all with supplemental private insurance.
She, as well as Sanders and Warren, stand a real chance of becoming the nominee (de Blasio is a long shot), so it’s worth pointing out why abolishing private health insurance is such bad policy for Democrats. Read more