January 30, 2019

2020 Election Update

On Monday, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) endorsed Medicare-for-all and other progressive policies at a CNN town hall. She is one of a slew of Democrats contemplating or having already announced a 2020 run.

On Tuesday, former Starbucks CEO and potential independent candidate Howard Schultz wrote, “The choice in 2020 does not have to be between two parties, but about choosing country over partisanship… To suggest that either party’s candidate could lose because of a third choice is intellectually dishonest. I am considering a run because members of both parties are not yet doing the job they were elected to do. And to those who insist a third choice cannot succeed, I say that to insist something cannot be done is as un-American as you can get. Together, we have what it takes to reimagine ‘us.’”
USA Today

See past issues

From the Left

The left is confident about beating Trump, but sees challenges ahead.

“The high levels of hyperpartisanship and polarization in the electorate have profoundly affected the political behavior of Americans and, by extension, made the outcome of our elections highly predictable. Always powerful, partisanship has become the be-all and end-all for American voters… the 2020 presidential election is shaping up as a battle of the bases, and the Democrats’ base is simply bigger.”
New York Times

With an already crowded field, many are calling for structural changes to the primary process. Under current DNC rules, “a candidate [has] to win 15 percent of the primary or caucus vote in each of the state’s congressional districts to get any pledged delegates… [there is the possibility that] only one candidate narrowly clears the 15 percent threshold… that candidate would win all of a district’s pledged delegates, even though 85 percent or more of the Democratic electorate preferred someone else.”
Washington Post

“With dozens of Democrats lining up to run for President in 2020, now is the time to adopt ranked choice voting [“RCV”, where voters can select multiple candidates in order of preference]… Because voters’ backup choices matter, candidates with RCV tend to run more positive campaigns, seek common ground, and respect their opponents’ supporters. That means primaries will see less of the divisive rhetoric that can weaken nominees in the general election… [RCV] is the best way to allow greater voter choice without wasted votes and unrepresentative winners.”
The Hill

Regarding Harris’s candidacy, while she “is the most high-profile and politically connected black woman ever to run for president… she will have to persuade black activists skeptical of her record as a prosecutor; overcome sexism and a bias on the part of some voters that a female candidate cannot beat President Trump; and work to gain broader support from black men, who generally expressed more wariness about Ms. Harris in interviews than black women.”
New York Times

“What stood out in Harris’s answers to audience questions was her unequivocal support for progressive positions… In past cycles, Democrats have flirted with more-progressive candidates and then ultimately landed on the safer choice, such as John F. Kerry over Howard Dean or Hillary Clinton over Sanders. When they didn’t go with the conventional pick in 2008 — though some progressives would argue Barack Obama was not nearly as liberal as they imagined he would be — the Democrats won.”
Washington Post

Regarding Schultz’s potential independent candidacy, many contend that “this is a bad idea, and not just because it could siphon votes from the eventual Democratic nominee or because we should probably stop letting rich people with no government experience run the country… It’s a bad idea even on Schultz’s terms…

“If Schultz’s goal really is, as he says, to get people talking and thinking about his ideas, doing so in the Republican primary is the best way to achieve it… he would have a pretty captive [audience] among Republicans who are sick of Trump. Public interest in a Republican challenger would obviously be tremendous, especially among ‘NeverTrump’ party and media elites.”

From the Right

The right is heavily criticizing the Democratic Party’s move to the left.

The right is heavily criticizing the Democratic Party’s move to the left.

“Given [Trump’s unpopularity], Democrats can be said to have just one job for 2020: Don’t be crazy. And they are failing at it… [They are offering] an agenda not just for big government, but for gigantic, enormous, jumbo, super-colossal government. In fact, the rapidly growing Democratic field has collectively moved so far to the left that it is about to fall off the edge of the political charts.”
National Review

“While socialist ideas have always existed in the Democratic Party, they are now moving from the fringe to the mainstream, and it seems as if any candidate who wants to play in 2020 has to outdo everyone else with the amount of free stuff they plan to give away.”
Washington Times

Don’t expect Democrats’ new taxes to stop with the wealthy… If Warren’s wealth tax hits only the uber-rich, it will rake in $2.75 trillion over a decade… Yet Warren is backing a list of social programs — including government-run health care for all, free college, student loan forgiveness and guaranteed jobs programs — with a total tab of $42.5 trillion. Fifteen times what taxing the uber-rich would produce.”
New York Post

“Once upon a time, voters were worried that they might lose their insurance plans. Now candidates openly campaign on the promise of cancelling every American’s insurance plan, and handing the entire project over to a centralized government bureaucracy.”
The Federalist

“Democrats, honing in on President Trump’s personal unpopularity, apparently mistake the public rejection of Trump’s personal foibles for public warmth toward full-scale Leftism. There’s simply no evidence of that… [Democrats] may find out the hard way that when forced to choose between a vulgarian who doesn’t want to take away their health insurance and a media darling who does, the American people aren’t sure to choose the latter.”
Daily Wire

“Along with banning private health insurance, Harris also wants to ban for-profit colleges, assault weapons, fossil fuels, personal cars, and presumably members of the Knights of Columbus serving as federal judges… we will eventually see a challenger to Harris’s right… Whoever it is, this will be the telling tension of the Democratic primary, a largely urban base that likes socialism, against a more suburban and rural constituency that’s slightly more in line with traditional American values.”
The Federalist

Regarding Schultz, the outrage from Democrats “indicates they fear that he'd pull more from their constituency than from Republicans. If that's the case, maybe the party should get serious about nominating someone who isn't trying to nationalize one-fifth of the economy and run job creators out of the country… If Democrats want to kneecap Schultz's run, they need to offer better.”
Washington Examiner

What should concern Democrats the most is Schultz’s motivation for running as an independent: The modern Democratic party has moved so far to the left that even a progressive businessman such as Schultz, who checks all the boxes on liberal social issues, doesn’t think he has a home in the Democratic party.”
National Review

“I don't think Schultz has any real shot at becoming the next president and I don't agree with him on many things, but for god's sake, he is staging exactly the sort of conversation we desperately need to have as a nation… he hit any number of great notes beyond fiscal responsibility. He stressed the need for economic mobility, made a practical and humanitarian case for immigration, questioned both Trump's and earlier presidents' foreign policy as often reckless and open-ended. Mostly, though, he was raising topics for actual debate, rather than as occasions to bark out increasingly shrill or stupid talking points.”

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