Bernie has fallen, can he get up?
For the past week or so we’ve been treated to a breathless media elated that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is “surging” in her bid for the 2020 Democrat nomination for president.
The problem? Her “surge” seems to be directly related to the cratering campaign of socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
Let’s be clear: Warren’s gains are modest at this point. But she is getting more attention on cable news, and more stories written about her in other media (see here, here, or here). While, nationally, she still trails former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in most polls, a new Economist/YouGov poll shows her passing Sanders into second place, and a Monmouth University poll in the key early state of Nevada also shows her in second place, as well.
Most notably, in the Des Moines Register poll that came out last weekend (the gold standard of Iowa polls), she moved from 9 percent in the newspaper’s March poll to 15 percent now, while Biden fell from 27 percent support to 24 percent, and Sanders went from 25 percent to 16 percent. Just as important, 61 percent of potential caucus-goers said they were considering supporting her, the same number Biden got.
Ultimately, Warren is “pulling support from Sanders now,” and that spells bad news for her in the long run. Her multi-pronged schemes to remake the American economy are one example of the sort of thing that appeals to Bernie voters but will not play well beyond that leftist-progressive-socialist audience.
Just this week, the New York Times gushingly enthused that “Elizabeth Warren Has Lots of Plans. Together, They Would Remake the Economy” and “Liberal Wonks, or at Least Elizabeth Warren, Have a Plan for That: The surprising power of evidence-based progressivism.”
Warren’s ambitious plans to “remake” the economy in some “progressive” image are a non-starter outside the Bernie bro enclave of “Democratic socialists,” and the left is wary of the way that Warren is soaking up Bernie voters.
For example, the Chicago Sun-Times suggests that “Warren, Sanders should agree not to doom each other’s chances.“
The two leading progressives in the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination race are on a collision course.
These left-leaning policy provocateurs are fighting for progressive love. Both have richly earned it.
. . . . The unabashed democratic socialist from Vermont is building on his unrivaled army of small-dollar donors and their devotion to “feeling the Bern.” He is calling for a Green New Deal, Medicare for all, free public college tuition, universal child care and pre-K.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the former Harvard University professor from Massachusetts, is toting a plethora of proposals. There’s her pitch to split up technology behemoths such as Amazon, a plan to jail misbehaving corporate executives, and yes, her own brand of Medicare for all.
You want the government to do more and make the wealthy pay for it? Her campaign T-shirts declare, “Warren has a plan for that!”
Both candidates are touting ideas that are, at turns, uber-progressive, radical, even revolutionary. They aim to alter the American economy in favor of the poorest, to the detriment of the richest. Their ideas could fundamentally change our culture and alter our democracy.
. . . . There’s one simple solution. Warren and Sanders must get it together, by getting together.
If they truly want to put a progressive in the White House, drop the arms race and forge an alliance. Cut a deal.
. . . . If they truly believe in their plans to bring radical change that can remake America, one of them must step aside.
Cranky Bernie is unlikely to accept this advice, of course. And I suspect that Warren won’t, either, so we’re going to be treated to increasingly wacky leftist plans that will be hard for them to shake if either actually gets the Democrat nomination.
Douglas Schoen, writing at the Hill, notes that Warren’s surge “spells bad news for the Democratic Party.”
Simply put, this recent momentum from Warren spells bad news for the Democratic Party. The lawmaker from Massachusetts has centered her run around liberal big government policies that once only appealed to the left most fringes of the party. To be sure, her jump in the polls is indicative of how far left the party has moved and suggests that the party will nominate a radical candidate who is unpalatable to independents and moderates, two groups essential to beating Donald Trump in the general election.
. . . . To be victorious in 2020, the Democratic Party must focus on pushing moderate economic policies that do not involve radical wealth taxes, on fixing the health care system without adopting extreme “Medicare for All” policies, and on compromises on immigration. To be sure, I believe in the Democratic primary process and that competing ideas and challenging the status quo is what we should do in a democracy. However, looking ahead to 2020, if the main goal of the party is to beat Trump, we must advocate for center of left policies that result in steady progress for the country, while still appealing to crucial moderates and independents.
Admittedly, the rise Warren in recent polls suggests that the Democratic Party is moving in the opposite direction towards more big government social and economic policies that will certainly turn away the majority of the general electorate. Ultimately, if Democratic primary voters moves towards supporting these policies and the candidates who advocate for them, the only thing they will end up with is four more years of Trump.
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