Are the Democrats too radical for America?

I was just starting to think that because Trump had finally made so many missteps,  and because so many Republican legislators are bowing out of 2020 re-election bids, that maybe we Democrats had a chance to recapture the White House (and perhaps the Senate?) in 2020.  And then along comes New York Times columnist David Leonardt, a thoughtful and Left-leaning writer, to warn us that the Democratic candidates for President (well, at least two of them) are pushing policies that, as I’ve noted previously, weren’t popular with Americans in general. (This is a no-brainer; many people, as well as several polls, have noted it.)

The two areas are immigration and healthcare, as discussed in Leonhardt’s new column below.

So, on to Leonhardt’s views, and some depressing data:

Over the past two decades, incomes for most Americans have barely grown. Median wealth has declined. Americans are frustrated, and a majority supports a populist agenda: higher taxes on corporations and the rich, expanded government health care and financial aid, a higher minimum wage, even a Green New Deal.

The Democrats are on solid ground, substantively and politically, by pushing all of these issues. They should be casting Trump as a plutocrat in populist’s clothes, who has used the presidency to enrich himself and other wealthy insiders at the expense of hard-working middle-class families. It’s a caricature that has the benefit of truth. When pundits yearn for economic triangulation, they’re the ones confusing their own policy preferences with good political advice.

The mistake that Democratic candidates have made is thinking that just because they should activate their progressive id on some issues, they should do so on all issues.

Yep, it’s the familiar issues:

There are two main examples, both of which have received a lot of airtime during the presidential debates. The first is the idea of decriminalizing border crossings, so that the illegal entry into this country would be only a civil violation. Most top Democratic candidates — Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — support the idea. If illegal entry weren’t a crime, they say, Trump couldn’t lock people in cages.

129 Comments

  1. rickflick
    Posted September 9, 2019 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    I’ve cringed every time I hear the Dems expound on some hard left position. My hope has always been that they must be smarter than this. I hope they are just faking it so that the left wing of the party will help them stay high in the poles. When crunch time finally arrives and the general population starts paying close attention, they will, I hope, drop those unhelpful ideas.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 9, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Problem is, you can’t really just drop them. The GOP would be playing them on a loop for the entire campaign if the Dems do, saying ‘remember when they said this?’.

      • darrelle
        Posted September 9, 2019 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        A great illustration of the serious problems with US politics and the public’s perception of them is that Dems are indeed susceptible to being called on that sort of thing but Reps not so much. It has become SOP for Reps to take a position one day and then shamelessly behave as if it never happened the next. Even in the face of fact checking. Doesn’t faze them or their supporters. Fake news, don’t you know?

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted September 9, 2019 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

          “A great illustration of the serious problems with US politics and the public’s perception of them is that Dems are indeed susceptible to being called on that sort of thing but Reps not so much.”

          Why is that though?

          • darrelle
            Posted September 9, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

            In my opinion it is because there are some very basic, important, real differences between the parties. The Republican Party has long since abandoned all decency in favor of an enforced united front of “our greed for power and money justifies any means.” And the Democratic Party has not.

            By nature of the Republican Party’s decades long path of abandoning all decency it has attracted more ethically challenged and reality challenged marks (as in targets of con-men) among the voting population than the much less uniformly indecent Democratic Party. That’s basically it in a very thin nutshell, from where I’m standing. Republican politicians are now almost to a person scumbags and the majority of their supporters are either ethically challenged, are victims of the Republican decades long Big Lie Propaganda (BLP) efforts despite the not too difficult to find reality, or some combination of both.

            Oh, and I think there are plenty of Independents and Democrats that have swallowed some portion of the Republican BLP too. Anyone who decries how both parties are the same, anyone who thinks that if they can’t get their favorite progressive candidate in the general election then they aren’t voting or voting 3rd party because any other Democrat would suck so bad, anyone who stayed home or voted 3rd party and thinks we deserved Trump because what were the Dems thinking running Hillary, they’ve very likely been affected by the Republican BLP.

            • rickflick
              Posted September 9, 2019 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

              I have to agree with you on all counts. It’s astonishing to realize that the Republicans, today, are virtually chained (as in chain-gang) to Trump, a known con-artist, scoundrel, and BLP mouthpiece, of the first order. I never thought I’d live in such absurd times as these.

              • darrelle
                Posted September 9, 2019 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

                Neither did I. I wonder how many citizens of how many polities have said the same. Here’s to hoping we can make it through these absurd times and maybe get on a path to better ones.

              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted September 9, 2019 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

                We’re all caught in the same maelstrom. I sincerely, viscerally hope you vote that man out and return to some semblance of normality in 2020. Or at least start healing the societal wounds that scumbag has inflicted.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 9, 2019 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I just don’t pay much attention to the pundits or the polls. They are all in it for the money. It is their life, their living. Also, because a primary candidate is for something does not mean anything, like that it is going to happen. In the primary, people are competing with each other most of the time. After the primaries determine a candidate to run then things and priorities change.

    To me, the biggest mistake the democrats are making is not going after trump in the house they now own. They are dragging their feet and they have no agreement on what to do. I have never seen such a lame bunch and frankly they don’t deserve their positions when they act like this. So far they look like failures. If a few more democrats decide to run for president we could just shut down the congress altogether and forget everything.

  3. FloM
    Posted September 9, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    If something is unpopular with a public that has been systematically brainwashed and misinformed, perhaps that means they are onto something.

  4. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted September 9, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know how these things, particularly the healthcare issue which is just too complicated for me to fully get my head around, would directly affect Americans, so I can’t really comment on that.
    I would say that as a user of the NHS even the most apparently divisive and extreme Democrat healthcare propositions seem pretty unremarkable to me. A lot of people here listen to the ructions about healthcare across the pond and wonder what all the fuss is about.

    I certainly think talking about decriminalising border crossings would be the single biggest gift to the Republicans. I think it’s possible to at least explain the Democrat healthcare position to voters without turning them off, but decriminalising border crossing is an impossible sell.

    Having said all of that, I’m less and less convinced that a safe centrist candidate is the best bet against Trump, for much the same reasons Trump apparently feels the same way:

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-2020-president-privately-tells-confidants-that-socialism-wont-be-so-easy-to-beat?ref=home

    I think Biden is too shaky and flaky and…nice…to go up against Trump, and my personal favourite Mayor Pete is nowhere near the frontrunners, so I think it’ll be either Warren or Sanders. And I think either of them will eat him for breakfast, I really do.

    • darrelle
      Posted September 9, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      I like Mayor Pete too.

      On healthcare, I think a lot of the angst simply comes down to change always including an element of turmoil, and the greater the magnitude and the quicker it happens the more turmoil there is. Healthcare in the US is a virtual Gordian Knot level problem. It definitely needs to change. The relatively instant change that some of the Dem candidates propose does seem to me to be both unwise and unnecessary. Something like voluntary Medicare made available to everyone while allowing private insurance to continue sounds much better to me. That’s a pretty big step. Other steps can be taken later as things change in response.

      • max blancke
        Posted September 9, 2019 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

        Living in a house full of doctors, I get to listen to endless complaints about many aspects of the current system. Some of the discussion is over my head. But there are obviously serious problems that need addressing.

        My simplistic view is that what we need to do is find a way to eliminate the mass of people and companies who are getting rich off of the health care industry, but do not actually play a role in anyone’s medical care. If the cost of medical care was closely related to the cost of actually treating patients, we probably would not need insurance.

        My wife’s clinical practice has been sold three times in the last two years. Each time to a different multinational hospital group. vast amounts of money are changing hands, between groups of people we don’t even know. Each time the practice changes hands, a new group of people with no medical knowledge come in and start complaining about “metrics”.

        The costs to the patient continue to rise, but the people providing the care are not the ones getting rich.

        I think that a candidate who just offers “free healthcare for all”, but without specific plan details probably appeals to many folks. But they are assuming that “free” does not involve shifting the cost to you in different ways, and also that the free healthcare would meet our current highest standards of care.

        For many more pragmatic people, implementing a new system always has the potential to turn out much worse than the existing one.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 9, 2019 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      You are correct to be confused about the health care issue over here. The discussions are generally so far from reality they make little sense. The lucky millions who have a decent health insurance act as if anything would be a bad thing for them. Oh, I will lose my doctor or I will lose something. ME ME ME. It will make you sick.

      Also, the majority of people do not even know or understand Medicare as it is today. They just think, Whatever it is, it’s probably no good. I frankly do not know what the hell Bernie is talking about most of the time and I am not sure he knows. He is an old guy and should know exactly what Medicare is today but the Medicare he is talking about is way more than that. Just a couple of points I will make about Medicare today….

      It is not free. We pay for it. We paid into it all the years we worked. It comes out of the paycheck, just like social security. The monthly cost once you are on Medicare is deducted from your social security, if you get social security. So there is no FREE. On top of that, most of us on Medicare also take a commercial private health insurance as a supplement to Medicare. If you don’t you will find you pay for lots of stuff not covered by Medicare. Now, Bernie’s plan seems to just wash all of this under the rug. So I don’t know what he is really saying or doing. The only free care that I am aware of currently is Medicaid and that is only for the really poor with no insurance.

    • Posted September 9, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      “… even the most apparently divisive and extreme Democrat healthcare propositions seem pretty unremarkable to me”

      The proposal to *prohibit* private health insurance goes beyond anything in the UK. The UK version is simply to provide a good-enough “medicare for all” that few want private health insurance because of its cost.

      (Of course many Americans get it from their employers, so don’t see the cost.)

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted September 9, 2019 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        They may get it from their employer but not free. And it is becoming more costly all the time or worse coverage with higher deductables. I find it hard to believe they are so in love with their current public health insurance.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted September 9, 2019 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        Yes, and it still doesn’t make most Britons gasp in horror, probably because we all have free healthcare as it is.

        If a UK party offered to ban private healthcare, raise taxes slightly and put the resulting money into the NHS I have a feeling it wouldn’t be considered particularly extreme.

        • Posted September 9, 2019 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

          I think banning anything without a pretty good reason could be considered a bit extreme. It’s rare that we insist on a state monopoly.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted September 9, 2019 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

          Personally I think ensuring quality healthcare for everyone in the country would qualify as a very good reason for banning something, but I agree that the Dems would be wiser to go with the more moderate approach.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted September 9, 2019 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

            The NHS subsidises UK private healthcare in various subtle ways:

            Private stealing NHS trained medical staff while those staff still ‘owe’ the NHS for their expensive training [all branches/ranks of medicine including bottom rank auxiliaries in nursing/portering]

            Private kicking difficult cases to the NHS

            Private booking time on NHS equipment

            There needs to be a fuller accounting of the above & private should compensate NHS a lot more than they currently do. Compensation to include a healthy profit margin of at least 50% too].

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted September 10, 2019 at 11:48 am | Permalink

              +1

            • Nicolaas Stempels
              Posted September 10, 2019 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

              For your points one and 3 it is simple, make the private healthcare sector pay for it in realistic terms,
              Your point 2, kicking difficult cases to the NHS, is much more difficult, but that can, in theory, also be solved by imposing some rules -and funds- about transferring these cases to the NHS, methinks.

        • Posted September 10, 2019 at 7:25 am | Permalink

          I think that would be problematic.

          People in the UK pay health insurance in order to have a more “luxury” experience and to jump queues. As far as I can tell, private healthcare gets you a room to yourself, better food and amenities and more immediate treatment. In some cases you can get treatments not available on the NHS. In order to provide such levels of service to everybody, you’d have to raise taxes by a lot.

          • Posted September 10, 2019 at 10:01 am | Permalink

            I bet the UK market for private insurance is competitive and efficient. Since most can make do with NHS, they have to provide a decent product or lose their customers. Am I right?

            • Posted September 10, 2019 at 10:15 am | Permalink

              My experience of it is minimal, but my impression is that that is the case. I’ve heard good reports of the service from nearly everybody I know that has “gone private”.

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted September 10, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

              Yes, I think you’re right – anecdotally I rarely hear any grumbling when people try private.
              But also note Michael’s point elsewhere BTL about how the NHS effectively subsidises the private sector in a variety of ways that go unacknowledged.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 9, 2019 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think any Democratic candidate is actually proposing to “ban” private insurance outright. The primary dispute among Democrats is between a “public option” and a “single payer” system. Even under a single-payer system (what some call “Medicare for all”), people would still be free to purchase their own supplemental health insurance (or to have such insurance provided by their employer) if they wished to; they just wouldn’t be able to opt out of the public plan.

        Let’s recall that, according to pollsters, the Affordable Care Act was quite unpopular immediately after its enactment (primarily due to people’s trepidation over any change and Republicans’ unceasing dissimulation about what was actually in the bill). The Republicans ran hard against Obamacare in the 2010 midterms and won. Eight years later, by the 2018 midterms, Obamacare had become so popular that Republicans (overestimating the public’s gullibility) campaigned on being Obamacare’s saviors. How much support do you think there would be today to return to the system that excluded pre-existing conditions that predated the ACA?

        • Posted September 9, 2019 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

          The Republicans are very good at picking some slightly negative aspect of a Dem policy and amplifying it into a scary monster. For example, with Obamacare they made “losing your doctor” into something just slightly better than death. And having those that didn’t get health insurance pay a fine was the worst thing that has ever happened. They have no shame in doing this and are very good at getting all their members to stay on message. This is also very effective against any kind of policy requiring actual change as it is very hard to change anything without there being someone who gets hurt by it.

          “Universal healthcare is going to utterly destroy the private health insurance industry.” Ironically, the reason we need universal healthcare is that private health insurance sucks! However, I am sure the GOP will scare a lot of people with this.

        • darrelle
          Posted September 9, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

          I’m not sure Ken. It may have just been the “fog of debate” and not enough time to clearly explain, but in the last debate Sanders, and maybe one other (memory unclear) really did seem to mean that their plan included making private health insurance illegal. This detail is something that any candidate should take the time to make perfectly clear.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted September 9, 2019 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

            Extant Medicare recipients can purchase supplemental private insurance. That’s what that damn Aflac duck is always quacking about. 🙂

            I can think of no public policy that would be advanced by — and thus no reason why any candidate would have reason to support — making supplemental insurance unlawful under a single-payer plan.

            And I think most leading Democratic candidates are realistic enough to understand that we will probably need to pass through the transitional-species-phase of “public option” before we reach single-payer status. Some of them simply don’t want to pull their single-payer chips off the table before the cards are dealt and the legislative wrangling commences in earnest (the way many of us feel Obama took the “public option” off the table too quickly in the negotiations over the ACA in a quixotic effort to gain some GOP support. As you may recall, Obamacare passed in 2009 with not a single Republican vote in the House or Senate.)

            • darrelle
              Posted September 9, 2019 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

              I think what some are taking issue with is making medicare for all compulsory which of course means no primary private health insurance. I too doubt supplementary plans would be disallowed by any of the candidates plans, but that isn’t what opponents are talking about. When this question was asked of Bernie, “Does your plan mean no private health insurance?” (paraphrasing), he said yes. That’s what they are talking about. I’m not sure compulsory medicare + suplemental plans will appease opponents.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted September 9, 2019 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

                Yeah, that’s why I think we need to go with a “public option” plan — a plan where people can opt into a system like Medicare — as an interim measure. If the people who opt in are satisfied with the system, fewer and fewer of the people who don’t will want to continue paying more for private insurance (or to accept lower compensation from their employers in exchange for company health insurance plans), and we can then adopt a single-payer system like just about every other modern democracy.

                We could have probably had a public-option plan in 2009 if Joe Lieberman — by then a Republican in Independent clothing, but still caucusing with the Democrats — hadn’t have put the kibosh on it as his price for providing the 60th vote to overcome a potential filibuster of Obamacare in the US senate.

      • darrelle
        Posted September 9, 2019 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        Employer provided healthcare has steadily become more rare. It’s is very rare for any kind of blue collar job to offer any. Even when they do it is not all it’s cracked up to be.

        A) In nearly all cases the employer healthcare will be a group plan of some sort. I have never come across a group plan that wasn’t more expensive for comparable coverage than an individual plan. This makes no sense in two ways. 1) Insurance is by its very nature already a group plan. That’s the whole idea. Everybody that buys some is part of the group. 2) Marketing group plans as being better because costs are distributed among the group makes no sense because of 1 and it’s more expensive anyway.

        B) Nearly all employers only pay for the employee’s insurance not spouse’s or children’s, and in most cases they don’t pay 100%. Of course, every bit does help. Employees can put their family members on the company plan but they pay for it. And like I said in A, it’s more expensive than if they go get an individual plan.

        C) For employer group plans insurance companies require that a minimum percentage of employees participate. If you work for a small employer it is quite common that you will be required by the employer to buy their group insurance plan so that they can comply with that requirement. Because of A above this often entails paying more for insurance than you were or need to.

        • Posted September 9, 2019 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

          A lot of people have trouble finding individual plans because they get turned down because of pre-conditions as simple as being overweight. This is not the case with employer-provided group plans, in my experience. If individual plans are cheaper, it is only because the individual is young and healthy.

          • darrelle
            Posted September 9, 2019 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

            There are no doubt many variables, but I’m not young though I am pretty healthy for my age. Last year I canceled an individual policy for myself so that I could pay more for a little bit less coverage by joining my wife’s employer’s group policy. Because they needed it to meet minimums. Group plans have always been more $ for less coverage every time in my life that I’ve had reason to compare them. Even when I was the employer.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 9, 2019 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      People fear change and Americans especially hate it when you tell them what to do. When Canada went for universal healthcare back in the late 60s there was a giant uproar and doctors went on strike. However, it was never made mandatory and it started in provinces (it’s still maintained at the provincial level). People pretty quickly saw for themselves that the public system was much better and abandoned their private systems. Granted, it’s a different ball game today in the US but telling people they must get rid of their private health insurance is a sure fire way to ensure that a public system will never have a change.

    • Posted September 10, 2019 at 4:41 am | Permalink

      I would say that as a user of the NHS even the most apparently divisive and extreme Democrat healthcare propositions seem pretty unremarkable to me.

      As a user of the NHS you are not banned from also having private healthcare insurance.

      The Sanders and Warren proposals for healthcare are more socialist than our system in the UK.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted September 10, 2019 at 6:08 am | Permalink

        I understand the proposals, it’s just for a lot of people in the UK not being able to use private healthcare would not make the slightest difference to them at all.

        • Posted September 10, 2019 at 7:16 am | Permalink

          Absolutely, but there are also plenty of people in the UK with some sort of private healthcare cover that would be quite upset if it was ruled illegal.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted September 10, 2019 at 11:50 am | Permalink

            True.

      • rickflick
        Posted September 10, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        I can think of one reasons you might want to eliminate private insurance. You avoid having a two tiered system, one for the wealthy and one for everybody else. Since the wealthy tend to run things in congress, support for everybody else could decline, ending up with the same system we have now. This would work out well for insurance companies who appear to be the big losers in a government system. I don’t think that really justifies such a radical approach, but what does Bernie actually say?

        • Posted September 10, 2019 at 10:12 am | Permalink

          I have no problem with a two tiered system, as long as the government one delivers reasonable healthcare, as I believe the NHS does for the most part.

          The most important point is that the wealthy do not get to opt out of paying their contributions to the government health service costs.

  5. Charles Jones
    Posted September 9, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    I’m baffled by Democrats jumping on the idea of forcing people into Medicare. No one wants to be forced into anything. Lots of people fear the unknown. The opposition ads just write themselves.

    It is so much persuasive to say, “Let’s give businesses and individuals the option to sign up for Medicare. Private insurance wastes 20% of your premiums on overhead and profits, and they love to figure out ways to deny payment for important care. Let’s force them to compete with a gold-standard insurer: Medicare. You won’t have to worry about which doctors you visit, and you won’t have to spend hours on the phone trying to get your insurer to pay for your perfectly reasonable medical expenses.”

    I’d even throw in a fraud hotline/website, so that if you think someone is somehow screwing the system, you can rat them out. I think a lot of people know relatives on disability that are defrauding the government, and the current governor of Florida ran a corporation that stole may millions from Medicare and Medicaid. So an easy way to report fraud seems like a nice way to emphasize a program that will do what it should and not waste money.

    • GBJames
      Posted September 9, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      I was overjoyed when I turned 65 and found myself “forced” onto Medicare.

      Please B’rer Fox, don’t throw me in that briar patch!

  6. pablo
    Posted September 9, 2019 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Yes Democrats are guaranteeing a second Trump term by proposing open borders and reparations.

    I’ll vote for any Democrat against Trump,, but I’ll do so uneasily if they continue down that path.

    • Harrison
      Posted September 9, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Notice how no one ever says “Trump is guaranteeing Democrats a victory by [insert latest absurd, terrible thing he’s said or done].”

      That narrative only ever goes in the one direction.

      • pablo
        Posted September 9, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        I wished it worked both ways, but as they say, “wish in one hand…

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted September 9, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        Yes, it’s odd isn’t it? Maybe it’s just that liberals are born worriers and sceptics.

        I get the impression, from my occasional visits to conservative sites, that the right are pretty much unanimously focused and united on the issue of Trump.
        There are holdouts, like Rick Wilson, Sully, David Frum, etc. but they’ve been excommunicated from the Trump-hive, and mainly turn up in liberal/centrist publications.

  7. Posted September 9, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    It’s hard to know just who the Dems are trying to impress or what they hope to gain with these two wrong-headed policy issues. It’s not just that open borders and mandatary health care are bad ideas, it’s that they’re obviously bad ideas.

    And yet some of my most intelligent liberal friends (I live in Portland, so I don’t have any conservative friends) have jumped on the “There’s no such thing as an illegal human being” bandwagon. I’d say it’s like “Invasion of the Body-Snatchers” except that they’d probably reply “There’s no such thing as an illegal body-snatcher.” In their attempt to distance themselves from Trump, they’ve also inadvertently distanced themselves from anything resembling rational thought.

    • Jon Gallant
      Posted September 9, 2019 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      The drift of Democrat presidential aspirants to extreme, unrealistic positions could be called “Portlandization”. Here is an acute, mordantly funny account of how that happens, by a couple who moved to Portland when its rep made it seem attractive–and are now preparing to bail out: https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/287751/good-luck-portland

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted September 9, 2019 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        Isn’t this just what tends to happen in primaries?

        You have a ‘who’s furthest left?’ game-theoretic situation, where unless everyone tacitly agrees to remain moderate the whole field can be undermined by a single candidate moving to the left to get progressive support. Then everybody has to move left to keep apace, and then someone moves further left still, and then the whole field moves with them again, etc.

        Really, the only candidate who can afford not to get pulled into this is Biden because he started out so strongly, but eventually he might start moving to the left too, as his numbers drop.

        Candidates’ positions tend to become less extreme once the primaries are over and election campaign is underway.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted September 9, 2019 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

          I seem to be changing colour on WEIT every now and then. Not sure why.

          • Adam M.
            Posted September 10, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

            Those images are calculated based on the personal information (e.g. email address) you enter. Perhaps a typo?

    • max blancke
      Posted September 9, 2019 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

      There is no sense to the “no such thing as illegal” philosophy, except it makes those making the assertions appear to have large amounts of empathy and virtue.

      A shop owner probably does not want too many undocumented shoppers. Certainly undocumented pharmacists are a big problem.

      People do illegal things all the time. Sometimes they are in a place where their presence is against the law. Trying to find some stupid euphemism for the activity does not really change anything.

      • GBJames
        Posted September 10, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        “People do illegal things all the time.”

        The point is that the things are illegal, not the people.

  8. Mark R.
    Posted September 9, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I would hazard a guess that the advantage Dems had a year ago has cooled because the base is pissed that Pelosi and Schumer haven’t been forceful enough in the impeachment investigation(s); they look weak. I don’t see that as an advantage for the Republicans though. Just because the base is frustrated with the lack of accountability doesn’t mean they’ll vote for Trump or even stay home; not by a long shot. I’m guessing this recent poll reflects that Democrats are frustrated with the lack of action. The 2018 blue wave was clearly a referendum on everything Trump (impeach), meaning the base had Pelosi’s back on this, but nothing much has happened (or at least that’s what it looks like, and the media doesn’t often mention how much legislation has actually passed the House only to die at the feet of Moscow Mitch).

    All in all, this doesn’t bother me…at least not at the moment. I thought the town hall on climate change was excellent. It’s still way too early to hang one’s hat on “open boarders” or “reparations” are going to kill Dems chances in 2020. While I agree that those are losing issues, in the larger picture, they’re not anywhere near the importance of ridding the world of Tr*mp and his henchmen. I think the majority of voters would agree.

  9. Posted September 9, 2019 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I agree with others who believe that the Dem candidates are currently pandering to the activist wing of the party in order to win the nomination. This has the obvious problem that whoever wins will likely have to backtrack on some of their wilder positions and take the resulting flak. Still, they can say some combination of (a) they are listening to the voters or (b) their former radical position is still an objective but we’ll have to get there gradually.

    Once our nominee engages directly with Trump and the GOP, their positions will look so much more sane than Trump’s regardless of the details. Once in office (fingers crossed), their plans meet reality and won’t survive the encounter intact so we shouldn’t worry too much about their policy details.

    For all these reasons, we should still pick the Dem that is most likely to beat Trump. Nothing else matters.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 9, 2019 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      “For all these reasons, we should still pick the Dem that is most likely to beat Trump. Nothing else matters.”

      Strongly agree with this. Trouble is, it’s not at all clear any more who is ‘most likely to beat Trump’. For a long time Biden would’ve been most people’s guess for who would fare best, but he looks less and less capable, and pretty enervating in terms of any kind of positive message.
      Whereas there’s just…something…about Warren and Sanders, an energy, a message that you’re voting _for_ them rather than just against Trump.

      And more and more I think Trump would get vaporised in debates with anyone sufficiently canny and likeable. He’s got a crappy, typical-Republican record to defend now, and let’s see him do it against a populist from the opposite side.

      …In a way the roles have switched from 2016. Now Trump is in the Hillary role; he’s now the representative of corporate America with the crooked track record, the dodgy dealing, the nepotism, the pandering to billionaires; and it’s his opponent(if it’s Warren/Sanders) who is the populist with momentum and a bunch of bold and popular propositions. Trump’s the one with the dismal record of non-achievement and broken promises, cronyism and corporate double-dealing, while his opponent can just rip into that record like Trump did with HRC.

      It’s another reason why I think Sanders or Warren would be a better bet than Biden or any of the other frontrunners: they can pull the old switcheroo and use Trump’s populist tactics from ’16 against him.

      • Posted September 9, 2019 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        I also worry about Biden. But I also worry about Warren and Sanders. I don’t trust them to get off the revolution bandwagon and simply offer a sane, thoughtful alternative to Trump. I want to get rid of Trump but have yet to hear of a revolution I want to support. Biden offers a “let’s get back to sane government” promise that I like but he doesn’t seem like he has the energy to deliver it. Mayor Pete has the energy and the brain but I doubt he can win the nomination.

        I also have my doubts about Warren or Sanders going head-to-head with Trump. Will they attempt (and fail) to rise about the fray and stay presidential? Hillary tried that and I don’t think anyone can make it work. Warren and Sanders would approach his jabs too seriously. Biden has the humor and ability to ridicule but, again, I worry about his energy. I also worry that he’ll suffer some kind of health issue 6 weeks before the election.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted September 9, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

          In that case, where all the candidates are flawed, I think the aforementioned switcheroo approach would be the most effective. I agree that the two, Sanders and Warren, are unpredictable, but not in a disastrous way. Warren bounced back from the whole DNA test bollocks pretty handily.

          When I try and imagine the best way to neutralise Trump’s appeal, the most obvious approach is to simply _steal his role_. He has set himself up as a populist outsider, and that’s the role that allows him to get away with half the hypocritical horseshit he pulls on a daily basis. Because he’s a ‘different kind of politician’, he’s an outsider, he’s ‘shaking stuff up’ so he doesn’t need to know whether or not you need ID to buy a cabbage, or whether or not nuking a hurricane is a good idea. He’s a maverick populist, fighting against negativity.

          So…steal that role from him, and for good measure cast him into the role he cast Hillary in.

          • Posted September 9, 2019 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

            I think carefully calculated ridicule is the best anti-Trump weapon. As I’ve said before here, if I were managing the Dem candidate, I would have them memorize a long list of zingers. He has done so many bad or ridiculous things while in office, he is a much bigger target than any of the Dems. In such an onslaught, Trump’s “Pocahontas”, for example, will come off tired and lame. It is important to make fun of Trump, not his voters lest we have “deplorables” all over again.

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted September 9, 2019 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

              Yes, I agree very strongly with this too. I thought the perfect example of the kind of comeback that works is Buttegieg’s reply when he was told about Trump’s stupid Mad Magazine insult(the details of which, tellingly, I can’t remember, because it made so little impact). Buttegieg just laughed and said he didn’t get the reference because he was too young.

              I don’t think anyone but Mayor Pete is really capable of going down that route, unfortunately. Sanders can be quite caustic I suppose, but what you want is a kind of dry wit combined with contempt and anger. You need to turn Trump into an annoying child, and turn yourself into the only adult in the room.

              I would say that insulting him takes real skill and care, because he has turned himself into an avatar for his supporters. They really see themselves in him, and they take criticism of him as criticism of them.

              So any insults have to avoid portraying him as a stoopid redneck, or a dumbo racist, or as impolite. Half the country will take it personally.

              That’s why Pete’s comeback was perfect – gentle but dismissive.
              He’s so rhetorically gifted it pains me to see him languish in this race.

              • GBJames
                Posted September 9, 2019 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

                Agreed. It takes a special sense of humor to take that approach. Mayor Pete could pull it off. Sanders never could. (Policy matters aside, he doesn’t seem to have a great sense of humor. Or humour, either.)

              • Posted September 9, 2019 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

                I think Trump’s Mad Magazine insult of Mayor Pete was to point out that he looks like Alfred E. Neuman, which he does a little:

            • rickflick
              Posted September 9, 2019 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

              I think once a candidate is nominated, those zingers will begin to have their intended impact. One reason I like Pete Buttigieg is because he has the focus to employ zingers accurately and most effectively. Not that I think a gay candidate could win this time around. Unfortunately.

              • Posted September 9, 2019 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

                I have seen some of Pete Buttigieg’s husband’s tweets and I worry that he’ll be a liability if Major Pete actually wins the nomination. He’s been hinting stuff like voters will get two for the price of one if Major Pete wins. Sure but that’s not a reason someone should vote for him.

                I get the need to be supportive but he’s overplaying it by a lot, IMHO. Winning the Presidency ought to be more important than furthering the gay agenda. I think other people have got that sufficiently covered. Obama understood that being the first black President was sufficiently furthering the cause. Doing much more would have angered a lot of people. An argument can be made that it did and it gave us Trump.

              • rickflick
                Posted September 9, 2019 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

                I agree.

  10. Steve Gerrard
    Posted September 9, 2019 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    The thing with medicare for all is that once that is available, employers would not have to provide healthcare, and many would phase it out. They could still provide private supplemental benefits, similar to Medicare Advantage that is currently available to the retired.

    The intent (I think) of decriminalizing border crossing is not to say “everyone gets in”, but to say that the people will not be treated like criminals and stored in cages. They can still be stopped and denied entry.

    Hopefully the messaging will improve. I think they can get the wording right to avoid the worst of the implications. Can’t say that for sure, though, until it happens.

    • GBJames
      Posted September 9, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Regarding the Medicare comments… Yes, that is a “thing”. But it is a good thing.

      Private Medicare supplemental insurance works well because it is well regulated and operates within the broader Medicare rules. I can think of few businesses that wouldn’t love to move toward such a system.

      • Steve Gerrard
        Posted September 9, 2019 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        I meant the remark on medicare to be a good thing, though I wasn’t that clear about it. I just meant they are saying “for all” because that is what it would move towards anyway. Once you can identify the risk pool as everybody, you can manage the risk more effectively.

        I also agree businesses would presumably like it, and the supplemental system should take care of those who want more.

  11. Posted September 9, 2019 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Bernie Sanders proposed government-run health care on a townhall event in front of a Fox News crowd, of all places, and got a round of cheering applause.

    “Six-in-ten Americans say it is the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage” according to Pew Research in late 2018.

    I don’t like to read conflicting information without as much as handwaving why their information is somehow different. It comes across as deceptive, or highly ignorant.

    I consider “total open borders” and “no private insurances at all” fake straw-man positions, invented by the Right like the Red Scare to continue the eternal feet-dragging.

    The USA is always alarmed about “Socialism” and “Communists” and you still don’t have elementary health coverage as is common in about every First World country. Americans now beg on crowdfunding platforms to not die from a condition.

    Americans throw perverse mountains of money into a giant military apparatus, yet yell about “small government”. Mistakes were made, and the good money always mysteriously disappears into the pockets of some billionaires.

    Let’s suppose one time, just one time in all of American history, the error turns out beneficial for the Common American. Would that be so bad?

    • pablo
      Posted September 9, 2019 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      How is decriminalizing crossing the border without going through the proper channels, not open borders? Civil penalties? That’s a joke.

      • Posted September 9, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        The New York Times also wrote:

        Crossing the border without permission is a crime, but the law prohibiting it has often gone unenforced since it was passed in 1929. […] But a debate is growing over whether the criminal law should be eliminated entirely — fueled by an increase in prosecutions that began under President George W. Bush

        That would mean, the USA had mostly “Open Borders” before Bush. But that doesn’t make sense: the rhetoric is hyperbole.

        Further, the article asks:

        Why repeal a law that isn’t widely enforced?

        They argue that his law relies on a sensible government, which is stress-tested by Republicans, and that’s what’s driving the proposed changes.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 9, 2019 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        I believe the proposal is to deal with illegal entry, which is currently a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months’ imprisonment, as an administrative matter, subject to civil penalties, for ease of administration and to relieve the current strain and backlog on our federal criminal court dockets and detention facilities.

        I don’t think there are any presidential candidates who have proposed to decriminalize the felony offense of illegal re-entry by a previously deported alien. That’s a fundamental difference from any notion of “open borders.”

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 9, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Elections involving an incumbent US president serve as referenda on the incumbent’s first-term performance, not on the policy proposals of the opposing party’s candidate.

    Donald Trump has demonstrated himself unfit for the office of the US presidency by every applicable measure — character, temperament, competency, and the incoherency of his policies. Moreover, his performance is growing more unhinged by the week.

    According to the 538 tracking poll, Trump has been mired with an approval rating between 40-43% (and a disapproval rating over 50%) for essentially his entire presidency. He is the only incumbent president since pollsters began keeping track of such numbers never to have topped a 50% approval rating even once during his first term.

    Donald Trump’s chance of winning a majority of the votes of the American electorate in the next election is virtually nil. His only path to a second term is to again win the electoral college with a minority of the popular vote (and with even greater assistance than he received last time from interference by a hostile foreign power).

    However progressive the platform of the next Democratic Party presidential candidate may be, if that candidate is elected, he or she will have no chance of having those policies enacted into law, since the Democrats (despite having a much more favorable map this time around) are no better than even money to retake the US senate (and have no chance at all of obtaining a filibuster-proof majority in that chamber). Any policies a Democratic successor to Trump might see become law will come out of the legislative sausage grinder in a much modified and more-moderate form.

    The only real relevance of the platform the next Democratic presidential candidate runs on is the grist it might provide Donald Trump to use to excite his own base and to dispirit moderates into staying home on election day. But Trump will lie and demagogue to foment the fear and anger and resentment he sees as his winning formula no matter who his 2020 opponent turns out to be or what the policy positions that candidate actually espouses.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 9, 2019 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      I see the democrats in Congress, specifically Nader has finally issued a 5 page document that seems to say they are moving forward with hearings. It contains a lot of Whereins and Herewiths that lawyers love to say but who knows what is next. I think Trump has committed more impeachable offenses outside of the Mueller report that should at least be added to the pile. The criminal activities at the boarder breaking all sorts of laws. Stealing money from the military for his wall that Mexico was going to pay for. Using the military and tax payer money to prop up his golf course at Turnberry by attempting to save the airport close by. That is corruption of the most obvious so far. His loose talk with classified information got one agent extracted from Russia last year. Withholding funds for the Ukraine attempting to blackmail them for the money they are suppose to get. And now he almost brings the Taliban over to Cp. David for lunch and a little peace treaty. I am sure there are many more I have left out.

      • rickflick
        Posted September 9, 2019 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        It looks like impeachment is off the table – unless DT goes totally off the rails. Any hearings would simply serve to help publicize his corruption, which could help to influence the election.

    • Historian
      Posted September 9, 2019 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      As you indicate, these presumably politically damaging positions taken by the leading candidates have done absolutely nothing to improve Trump’s poll ratings. The polls indicate that he is losing in the key battleground states. Whether this will change when the Democrats nominate a specific person remains to be seen. My guess is little will change because those people who don’t like Trump will be more turned off by him than Democratic policy positions. But, I would agree that the Democratic candidate would be wise to reign in what could be classified as extreme positions. I am not convinced that these positions would lose the candidate the election, but it could happen. It is a cliché in American politics that candidates almost always move to the center once gaining the presidential nominations. I hope it happens here. Of course, Trump was an exception.

      American politics has generated what seems to be an infinite supply of pundits. You can find those who think Trump will win easily to those who think he will be easily defeated. The beauty of being a pundit is that there are no consequences for being consistently wrong. Only time will tell if Leonhardt’s fears are justified.

      For another analysis of whether Democratic positions will hurt the candidate, I refer you to a Tom Edsall column from April. Edsall, whom I respect deeply because most of the time he quotes academics, also acknowledges the risk of the Democrat going far left on some issues. He concludes that “three years ago, Trump threw out conventional wisdom and went on to win the nomination and the presidency. Maybe, this time around, Democrats can gamble successfully on a similar strategy and win. Or maybe not.” So, the Democrats are taking a risk regardless if they stay left or move to the center. In the former case, they will retain the support of their activists, but may lose some centrists. In the latter case, they risk the opposite. I think the Democrat should move to the center, but not so far as to lose the Party base, whom I hope are not so stupid as to take their marbles and leave the playground because they will not get everything they want. They should also be smart enough to understand, as you point out, the leftist agenda has virtually no chance of becoming law. Still, even moderate legislation in many areas would be a big advance over the current situation. Above all, the political strategy of the Democrat must be aimed above all else to get rid of Trump. The Democrat must not risk defeat on the altar of political purity.

      • Posted September 9, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        Agree. Right now, Trump is losing but his opposition is the whole collection of Dems arrayed against him, rather than a specific nominee. It is easy for voters to imagine that they’re going to get all the positive aspects and none of the negatives. When it is Trump vs a single Dem, I predict that he’ll get a bump because he and his henchmen can direct attention to the nominee’s negatives.

    • Posted September 9, 2019 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      While I agree with some of what you say here, I do think it is possible for the Dem nominee to lose the election by advocating some crazy policy. If they assume they have some kind of mandate for a radical progressive agenda, it won’t go well.

  13. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 9, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    How is it that we all believe the democrats are going to throw the boarders wide open? I don’t think so. The immigration system need an overhaul and it needs to make sense. They just can’t get it done in congress along with everything else. What the pundit should be concerned with as everyone should is how come Trump gets away with all the human rights violation all across the boarder. That is what all democrats should be up in arms about but I don’t see it. Maybe the fact is, most democrats are just like republicans, they don’t give a damn.

  14. Posted September 9, 2019 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Of course Trump’s going to win. Expect an increased majority.

    I just saw on twitter Bernie Sanders retweeting Linda Sarsour’s endorsement of him. Again, walking straight into a trap. Of course Trump is going to split the left between the anti-Israel/antisemite faction and the rest. And the rest includes a huge percentage who haven’t really got a clue what it’s all about and will “stay neutral” while the rift increases.

    Again Bernie walks straight into a trap and does exactly what the Repubs would want him to do.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 9, 2019 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      I’m not entirely sure that people care about that stuff as much as you think.
      And anyone who legitimately refuses to vote for Sanders over Trump because he retweeted Linda Sarsour is just morally deranged. Yes, she’s ghastly. But shall we set her name against the names of the people Trump has _explicitly_ endorsed, like Duterte, or Kim Jong Un, or a horse-riding deep-south pedophile, or…etc.?

      It does annoy me slightly when I hear people say ‘just one more reason Trump will win’ about some small infraction by one of the Dem candidates. Harrison made the point upthread that the same is never said about Trump when he, say, invites the Taliban to a get together at camp David, or talks about firing atomic bombs into hurricanes.

      • Posted September 9, 2019 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Maybe I’m overstating it. Having seen what’s happened to UK Labour is perhaps making me get carried away with it, but I think it’s certainly one of the many ways Repubs will split the Dems again.

        (And yes, anyone who would vote for Trump over Sanders, or whoever the candidate is, is mentally deranged. And morally culpable.)

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted September 9, 2019 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

          The difference is no-one in that list of Dem candidates is anywhere near as simultaneously useless and stubborn as Corbyn.

          That’s why I keep saying the situation in America seems slightly more positive to me than the situation in the UK does. In the US, the liberal side of the aisle at least has plenty of people standing in their corner. In the UK OTOH, our opposition leader spends his time fannying about on an allotment and making Victor Meldrew faces whenever the press asks him what his position is.

          • Posted September 9, 2019 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

            I had to look who Victor Meldrew is… LOL

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted September 10, 2019 at 11:20 am | Permalink

            I never saw a Victor Meldrew episode, but from what I gather from Wikipedia, Mr Corbyn is hypocritical by making a Victor Meldrew face.
            Which politician with even a remote possibility of becoming PM in the UK is a remainer?
            I also don’t understand why Mr Johnson is so keen on Brexit: he is very aware that none of the UK problems are due to “Bwussels”, as he scathingly mentioned five years ago.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted September 10, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        The same is never said about Mr Trump, because he is your ultimate ‘Teflon President’, he has become a cult leader to his followers, and has converted a lot of sycophants in the Senate, Mr Graham being a good example.
        As long as the public opinion in rural ‘red’ states continues to support him, the Senate will not convict and an actual impeachment is useless, if not counterproductive.
        I think the Democrats approach in the Pelosi line is the best they can do, expose more and more of his crimes until a breaking point is reached. I’m not 100% sure that point is even reachable. When these Deutsche Bank Oligarch subscriptions turn out to be true, which the probably are, might that be enough? I’m not even sure.
        One hopes that one of his crimes will eventually catch up with him, turn the Senate, possibly overnight, as they did with Mr Nixon, but I’m not holding my breath.

        • Posted September 10, 2019 at 11:59 am | Permalink

          Trump has somehow turned bad government from a bug into a feature. His followers seem to like the fact that he’s screwing around with everything. He has redefined revolution as merely breaking things. Every time he breaks something new, his followers say “Yes. Isn’t he wonderful?”

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted September 10, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

            Yes, and although his following is only between 36 and 44%* (at present 41%) it is remarkably stable. Sadly most of these 490 % live in sparsely populated ‘red’ rural areas, which have a stronghold on the Senate….

            *in fact, since March 20 2017 (two months after inauguration) his approval ratings have never been above 42.7 %, and his disapproval rating never under 51.7%
            Conversely, his approval rating was never under 36.4%, so the margin between highest and lowest approval rating is just 6.4%! That is an extraordinarily, stunningly narrow margin, not shown by any president in living memory, not even close! It also means that the prospects of the Senate condemning him, whatever the investigations find, remains slim.

        • rickflick
          Posted September 10, 2019 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

          “…expose more and more of his crimes until a breaking point is reached. I’m not 100% sure that point is even reachable.”

          I think many Democrats in the House with Peloci have pretty much given up on impeachment due to the factors you point out. What they think they can do, however, is continue committee investigations exposing more corruption as the election approaches. That should help to sway some number of voters – maybe not Trump’s core, but some who could be persuaded. They are attempting to limit Trump’s support to the smallest possible number.

  15. tomh
    Posted September 9, 2019 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Since it’s likely that the election will turn on the outcome in only four states, and quite possibly come down to a single state (Wisconsin), I don’t get the anguish that the column exhibits over national polls on issues that most people tune out. Trump won each of those four states by less than 1%, which means, IMO, that the only issue that matters is getting out the Dem vote in those states. That means fighting voter suppression in those key states, and getting people to the polls. Everything else is just window dressing.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted September 10, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Yes, that is right, and a particularly sharp and jaundiced eye should be kept on states where Ms Clinton won in the exit polls, but lost the count, and where that discrepancy was well outside the margins of error: NC, WI and PA, or just within the MoE : FL.
      Of course, a large voter turnout will make it just that much more difficult to ‘tweak’ the results (as -I’m convinced- was done in 2016).

  16. ladyatheist
    Posted September 9, 2019 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    The only people who really matter are swing voters in Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Polling anyone else is pointless.

    • Historian
      Posted September 9, 2019 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      You and tomh (#15) are correct. National polls mean nothing. I would add that North Carolina and Iowas are purple states and therefore winnable. Texas is possible, although that would be long shot. Increasing turnout as opposed to converting members of the Trump cult is the key to victory.

      It is also likely that between now and the election Trump will do more lunatic things that will convince previous non-voters to turn out at the polls.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 9, 2019 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, the 270 to Win website map has 232 electoral votes leaning Dem, 219 leaning Republican, and four states as toss-ups — FL, PA, MI, WI, and AZ.

        Gotta like those odds. But like everyone else once-bit, twice shy after 2016, I won’t rest easy until Wed., 11/4/20, IF all of us do everything we can to defeat Donald Trump.

        • Posted September 9, 2019 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

          +∞ Or should it be ×∞?

        • Steve Gerrard
          Posted September 9, 2019 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

          Golly, looks like five states are toss-ups to me. 🙂

          Massive Dem turnout would be good nationwide, even if the presidential result is all on the swing states. The more people who vote Dem for president, the more the Dem governors, senators, representatives, state legislators, and dog catchers will get votes too. I’m hoping for a big coat-tail effect, in other words.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted September 9, 2019 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

            Yeah, five. Thanks, Steve. I might not be a STEM guy, but can still usually keep track of numbers that can be counted with the fingers of one hand. 🙂

  17. Adam M.
    Posted September 9, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I can’t bring myself to vote for a buffoon like Trump, but neither can I bring myself to vote for someone who wants to give free health care to all illegal immigrants (which is pretty much every Democrat candidate), decriminalize illegal immigration, etc. I guess I’ll be abstaining again…

    • GBJames
      Posted September 9, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      “neither can I bring myself to vote for someone who wants to give free health care to all illegal immigrants”

      You do know how communicable diseases work, don’t you?

    • Historian
      Posted September 9, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      “I guess I’ll be abstaining again…”

      You’ll live to regret this if Trump wins. Unlike Trump who aspires to be a dictator, the Democrat will abide by the norms of government, meaning that the agenda, as radical as you may think it is, will never become law. Something more moderate, although quite worthy, could become law.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 9, 2019 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        Trump is also incompetent, incurious, and uninformed, as well as being a dangerously unstable narcissist prone to fits of tantrum.

        Differences over potential policies that will never see the legislative light of day strike me as a piss-poor reason to sit out such a momentous election.

    • Posted September 9, 2019 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      The Dems in the Presidential Debates did kind of sound like that’s what they were advocating but I suspect all they meant was that hospitals would not require proof of citizenship for access to services. They’re not in favor of illegal immigration. They certainly could have made it clearer though.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted September 9, 2019 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      None of my business… Won’t…post mean…comment… Must resist urge to…say something…critical…

    • pablo
      Posted September 9, 2019 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      That might be the perception but it’s not the reality. There’s still over a dozen candidates,surely you can find someone you like. This guide is slightly dated but check it out. It shows where the candidates stand on issues like reparations and immigration.

      https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-lists/2020-democratic-candidates-issues-policy-positions-820811/

      • Posted September 9, 2019 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        It should be noted that the candidate can also change their mind before the main election. I can see no reason for anyone to sit out this election.

      • Adam M.
        Posted September 10, 2019 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the list. I’ll definitely take a closer look at things when we get to the general election.

    • Posted September 10, 2019 at 5:07 am | Permalink

      When I see statements like “why should x get free healthcare?” I see “I’d be happy to watch x die just because they haven’t got enough money”.

      That is what you are saying.

      • Adam M.
        Posted September 10, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        In cases where life is at risk, hospitals are already required to provide free care to everyone, including illegal immigrants.

        No, I just oppose the continuing normalization of illegal immigration. Various states and municipalities already give driver’s licenses, education, and welfare to illegal immigrants, allow them to vote and hold office, and protect them from deportation. Now all Democrat candidates raised their hands when asked and said they want free, federal health care to be given to illegal immigrants, and we hear about defunding ICE in whole or in part, stopping most deportations, etc. Where is all this leading? In effect we say “Don’t cross the border illegally! But if you do, we’ll protect you from deportation and take care of you at taxpayer expense.” I do have an “America first” outlook. Let’s take care of our own people first, and only if we have resources left over should we talk about taking care of illegal immigrants. I think most people would agree, but in any case it doesn’t mean I want them to die.

        • Posted September 11, 2019 at 8:12 am | Permalink

          Healthcare is not just about immediate risk. If somebody has a chronic condition that will kill them eventually, or even just significantly reduce their quality of life, they deserve the care they need.

          I regard healthcare as a basic human right and I wouldn’t restrict it based on nationality.

          I have no problem with the USA keeping illegal immigrants in custody until they are deported them, assuming they are not in need of asylum, but while you have them, they deserve the basic human rights the USA accords to its citizens.

  18. Posted September 9, 2019 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    I did a quick review of some economic data (On my blog, if anyone cares.

    In a nutshell Trump has not “buggered” up the economy (yet). The trends are continuing from Obama’s last term.

    The interesting thing is incomes increased linearly over the last forty years and stocks continue to increase exponentially. So if we have spare cash we can increase our wealth by investing (or at least in the past we could). Incomes seem to be keeping up with inflation … depending on the moment in time.

    • Posted September 9, 2019 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      While Trump hasn’t destroyed the economy, he has done damage that will take a little while to be registered by most voters:

      1. The tariffs hurt practically everyone but probably not enough to really, really notice. After all, who can compare actual prices with those we would have been paying without tariffs? People are used to prices fluctuating.

      2. Those who sell to China have lost some of their customers (soybeans, instruments) to other countries. Once a supply chain is disrupted, it seems unlikely many will come back after tariffs are lifted.

      3. Green technology was a potential huge business for America. At a minimum, Trump’s policies have resulted in 4-year delay in realizing that promise. At a maximum, it will be a market we will never get back.

      4. Many companies have spent years to establish a foothold in China are losing it. That’s probably a huge amount of business.

      5.Every promise Trump has made to workers in dying industries (coal, etc.) has delayed the adjustment they all are going to be forced to make.

      6. Trump has created a lot of market uncertainty. This has caused companies to delay or change their plans which undoubtedly results in costs, though they are hard to measure.

      The cost of Trump to the economy will be recognized years after he’s gone.

      • rickflick
        Posted September 9, 2019 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        I’m hoping his replacement will be able to make a quick turn-around.

      • GBJames
        Posted September 9, 2019 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        ”The tariffs hurt practically everyone but probably not enough…”

        Come to the Midwest and talk to farmers.

        • Posted September 10, 2019 at 9:46 am | Permalink

          Save me the trip. What would the farmers tell me? That they are hurting from Trump’s tariffs? That they support Trump because telling China where to go is worth a little short-term pain? I suspect a little of both but the important question is where the trend is going.

          • GBJames
            Posted September 10, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

            The trend is for tariff-pain to be changing their views of their dear leader.

      • Posted September 14, 2019 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        I don’t disagree … Paul … there’s likely even more.

        • Posted September 14, 2019 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

          Yes, I’m sure my list is not complete. Besides, Trump is making new ones as we speak.

  19. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted September 9, 2019 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    “Are the Democrats too radical for America?”

    ‘Radical’ in this case meaning ‘something that would be middle-of-the-road in every other developed country’ ? 😉

    cr

  20. cbranch
    Posted September 9, 2019 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    For the record, Yang is not for open borders although he is for a pathway to citizenship. Likewise he is for Medicare for all, but not for forcing anyone to give up private insurance.

    Again, my logic is this: _all_ of us Democrats would pick Yang over Trump in the general election, right? And Yang also has demonstrated support of some Republicans and independents – they’re literally switching their registrations Democrat to vote for him in the primary! Sure, it’s not a huge number, but it’s nonzero. Can Biden or Warren or Pete say that?

    If there’s a flaw in my logic I’d be glad to hear it. Anyone who hasn’t made up their mind yet, check our his policies.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 9, 2019 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      He’s also atheist friendly.

      • cbranch
        Posted September 9, 2019 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

        Yes, he is. He demonstrates intellectual integrity that sets him apart from the more typical politicians (and of course from Trump). I hope he starts getting more media attention; he really deserves it!

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted September 9, 2019 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

          Yeah I saw him on Real Time with Bill Maher and he was really fantastic in his answers.

    • Harrison
      Posted September 9, 2019 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      My response to the issue of people switching party registration to vote for someone would be that Trump is already a lock on the Republican nomination so it’s not like they risk anything to do that or cannot undo it later, and people already use this tactic to “spoil” primaries. So it may not represent real, enthusiastic, and lasting support.

      • cbranch
        Posted September 9, 2019 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

        Maybe, but if you take them at their word, they say that they are disillusioned Republicans, including Trump voters, who say they would rather vote for Yang over Trump this time but likely won’t vote for another Dem candidate except maybe Gabbard.

  21. Posted September 10, 2019 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    By the way, Intelligence Squared has an upcoming debate that I believe is live streamed for free but pay to be in the auditorium in NYC:

    “Replace Private Insurance With Medicare for All”

    https://www.intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/replace-private-insurance-medicare-all

  22. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted September 10, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I think any Democratic candidate should -and probably will- take that Marist poll to heart once nominated as candidate.. It spells out clearly what and what not.
    Be careful during the primaries not to pin yourself too much to the first four policies, but do stress the others, much of which the more radical Democrats would also support.

    I have this feeling Ms Wzrren is going to e the Democratic candidate, : Mr Biden is too old, and it shows. Don’t take me wrong, I think he would have been a great candidate 10 years ago. M Sanders a bit the same, he appears really an angry, grumpy old man. That leaves us with Ms Warren, unless some other candidate can make serious inroads. One advantage Ms Warren has is that she is economically savvy, she knows about economy, contrary to many others. I think she would make a great POTUS.
    That being said, I think any of the remaining candidates would make an infinitely better president, that nearly goes without saying.
    Buttigieg? Great! although I doubt the US electorate is ready for an openly gay president: I doubt he would get the black vote out. Klobuchar, Gabbard, Booker, O’Rourke, Yang, or even Harris (did I forget someone?), they all would make good and possibly great presidents.
    Alas, my favourite candidate, and one guaranteed to have routed Mr Trump if he had been nominated, Mr Inslee, was realist enough to retire from the race.


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