July 30, 2019

Debate Preview

Whereas the right focused mainly on Biden and Harris, there were articles on the left about many of the Democratic candidates. Our choices were based less on the candidate(s) being discussed, and more on the viewpoints we think you might not yet have come across. For example, we don’t think ‘Is Joe Biden too old to be president’ is a particularly interesting question. Neither is ‘Can Gillibrand / Beto / Booker make a swing for it.’ ‾\_(ツ)_/‾

On the eve of the second Democratic primary debate, according to a new Quinnipiac poll “Former Vice President Joseph Biden reverses his slump following the first Democratic presidential debate and now leads the pack with 34 percent of Democrats and independent voters who lean Democratic… Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has 15 percent, with 12 percent for California Sen. Kamala Harris and 11 percent for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.” Quinnipiac

On Monday, Kamala Harris released a healthcare plan. Her plan would set up an expanded Medicare system over ten years; private insurers would still be allowed, but would have to offer plans “that adhere to strict Medicare requirements on costs and benefits.” KamalaHarris.org

See past issues

From the Left

The left is urging Democratic candidates not to alienate moderates in swing states by adopting far-left policies.

“Progressives are promoting policies on health care (end private insurance and cover undocumented residents), immigration (abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcementand decriminalize illegal entry), education (pay off student loans and make public college tuition-free), race relations (study reparations for slavery and relitigate court-ordered busing) and the environment (remake the whole economy) that appear tailored to repel moderates and anti-Trump conservatives… Just because Trump is catering to his base doesn’t mean that Democrats should follow suit.”
Bill Sternberg, USA Today

“There’s no reason practically to insist on weighing down the ticket with ideas (‘free health care for illegal immigrants’) that won’t pass anyway, [when] Democrats could focus on a narrower list of progressive ideas that are popular (a path to citizenship for the undocumented would, among other things, help them get health care) win the election, and then implement those ideas.”
Matthew Yglesias, Vox

[One] big issue among likely [Iowa] caucus-goers is climate change. Nearly all the Democrats have put up plans that would pay farmers to capture carbon in the soil by converting corn acres to conservation acres. Even the Farm Bureau likes the idea. The candidates are changing the conversation rapidly around agriculture and extreme weather, as the corn got planted six weeks late this year amid epic flooding. Trade wars that pummeled commodity markets have Iowans rethinking their commitment to export markets, and that perhaps we are growing too much corn, and that we can’t sustain this petrochemical model for much longer. It’s a remarkable thing to hear.”
Art Cullen, The Guardian

Some also note that “a rising China presents the stiffest challenge to American global supremacy since the fall of the Soviet Union. The unraveling U.S.-China relationship could touch nearly every aspect of American life, from the future of U.S. industry and the global influence of Silicon Valley to our military priorities and diplomatic alliances… The 2020 campaign offers a chance to forge a consensus on how Washington can contend with Chinese power.”
MiIchael Schuman, The Atlantic

Regarding Harris’s plan, “Harris has clarified her stance on health care. But you have to wonder how committed she really is to it… It’s kind of refreshing to see a presidential campaign implicitly admit that it’s just playing with numbers that only a few budget nerds will care about. And there’s obviously some lol-nothing-matters political logic to it; the chances of Congress ever passing something as ambitious as full-on ‘Medicare for All,’ or even a modified version like what Harris is pitching, are slim. So what’s the point of committing yourself to the unpopular tax hikes that are probably necessary to make such a bill a reality? Impressing policy reporters doesn’t get you that far in the Iowa caucuses, after all.”
Jordan Weissmann, Slate

Meanwhile, there's a “2020 Dem who may actually know how to fix health care… [Jay Inslee] created both the nation’s first public option and universal long-term care benefit — albeit a limited one — has run a successful Obamacare market, and expanded reproductive rights. His administration has also pushed forward a new plan for controlling drug costs, expanded Medicaid coverage to transgender patients and added programs for school children aimed at preventing chronic diseases later in life… While the debate for now is about what could be done, Inslee can boast he actually got something done.”
Dan Goldberg, Politico

Finally, many are optimistic about Elizabeth Warren. “Successful candidates have a clear, consistent, and compelling point of view, delivered over and over again regardless of the audience, that allows them to build a coalition of voters, raise money, stay on the offense, and avoid the hourly traps presented to them by the media and online outrage merchants… Warren is the only serious Democrat running for president who has steadily grown her support over the duration of the campaign, a better indicator of success than any sugar-high bump in the polls.”
Peter Hamby, Vanity Fair

From the Right

The right is generally positive about Biden’s prospects and critical of Harris’s healthcare plan.

The right is generally positive about Biden’s prospects and critical of Harris’s healthcare plan.

“All eyes will be on Biden – to determine whether he can address doubts that arose after his lackluster performance in the first debate, as well as the challenge to his support among African Americans. One reason to bet on Biden: He’s historically done better when he’s fighting uphill – and he has two opponents that have been directly attacking him (Harris and Booker), potentially giving him a chance to attack back in a way that he’s done well – see the 2012 vice presidential debate against GOP Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan.”
Arnon Mishkin, Fox News

“If I had to float a theory for why [voters are] reverting to Biden it’d be pure, clean, simple electability: Uncle Joe blows the field away when Dems are asked who stands the best chance of beating Trump, taking 51 percent of the vote when no one else does better than 10. Every day that Democratic voters are focused on the latest Trump outburst instead of the daily squabbling among Dem candidates is probably a good day for Biden inasmuch as Trump’s antics remind liberals that winning next fall is all that matters, which naturally leads them back to the safest, supposedly most electable choice.”
Allahpundit, Hot Air

During the debate, “Biden doesn't have to go low, but he does have to treat Harris like the disingenuous, bad-faith political actor she is. If Harris tries to ding him on gender, he just has to point out that while she was locking up sex workers and endangering them, he was spearheading the Violence Against Women Act. If Harris tries to attack him on race, he just has to point out that his career began as a public defender and ended as the sidekick to the nation's first black president…

“Biden can fight Warren, Sanders, or whoever comes to dominate the left lane of the primary. That will be a noble battle, and one that the Democratic electorate clearly wants to wage. But the cheap character attacks from Harris degrade the primary and the party, and it's up to Biden to put an end to it.”
Tiana Lowe, Washington Examiner

Many argue that “Harris’ [healthcare] plan is just as revolutionary as Sens. Bernie Sanders’ or Elizabeth Warren’s. It would sweep away our healthcare system — confusing, disorganized, and messy as it may be — and replace it with a government-run program. Harris might think she’s being politically savvy, appeasing her voter base while appealing to moderates skeptical of socialized healthcare, but she’s not fooling anyone. Private insurers would be pushed out and removed entirely from Harris’ system. It might just take a little bit longer.”
Kaylee McGhee, Washington Examiner

The “question for individuals is not whether, a decade from now, they may be able to purchase a plan that is issued by a private company. The more relevant question is whether they will be able to keep the insurance that they've purchased either individually or through their employers, and under the revised Harris plan, the answer is no… just like Obamacare led to the cancellation of private plans that did not meet the requirements dictated by Washington, Harris' plan would lead to the cancellation of Obamacare plans as well as employer insurance.”
Philip Klein, Washington Examiner

Finally, some note that “Warren, Sanders and Harris all back decriminalization of illegal immigration in some form. Among the top candidates, only former vice president Joe Biden seems to have reservations about the idea—and those reservations seem weak…

“Presumably, the point of holding Democratic debates is to publicize the candidates’ positions to the widest possible audience. Border security was a top issue for Democratic voters before the first debates… The Democratic candidates are all vying for the chance to debate President Trump, whose opinions on border security are well-known. Democrats, and Americans generally, have a right to know whether Trump’s opponent intends to draw a sharp contrast on the key issue of decriminalizing illegal immigration, or to try to take it off the table. In this second round of debates, if the candidates are shy about taking a position, CNN ought to make them squirm for it.”
Warren Henry, The Federalist

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