Thursday, June 27, 2019


Democrats had their first presidential debate last night, and the message in much of the "liberal media" coverage is Holy crap, are these candidates left-wing!

Here are Vera Bergengruen and Philip Elliott in Time:
That sound you heard in Miami on Wednesday evening? El partido demócrata dando un fuerte giro a la izquierda. The screech of a Democratic Party swerving hard to the left.
Here's Dan Balz in The Washington Post:
On a range of issues, including immigration, climate change, health care, the economy and more, the Democratic candidates were unabashed in their enthusiasm for more government activism....
And here's the lead New York Times story, from Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns (headline in the print edition: "Democrats Split on How Far Left to Nudge Nation").
The strength of the party’s progressive wing was on vivid display in South Florida, starting in the first minutes of the debate when Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts branded the federal government as thoroughly corrupt....

Joining Ms. Warren in driving hard from the left were two lesser known candidates — Julián Castro, the former housing secretary, and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York — who sought to jump-start their campaigns by confronting rivals who hesitated to match their progressive demands on immigration, health care and national security policy.

The debate ... underscored just how sharply Democrats have veered in a liberal direction since Mr. Trump’s election.
Deep in their story, Martin and Burns isolate what they believe was a key moment:
Ms. Warren’s repeated denunciations of economic elites and Washington’s governing class won repeated ovations. But her unabashed willingness to terminate private health care, a question she had evaded in the past, alarmed some members of her own party who fear that embracing a single-payer system would hand Republicans a political weapon in a country where nearly 60 percent of people are on private plans.
Two commentators, both putatively liberal, have all but concluded that if Warren wins the nomination, she sealed her general-election doom in that moment. First, New York magazine's Jonathan Chait cites polling that shows most Americans don't want Medicare for All if it means the elimination of private insurance:
Warren might think she can talk the public into it, but the other side gets a chance to talk too, and the history of using the bully pulpit to move public opinion is short and discouraging.

... Warren ventured boldly, perhaps foolishly, onto a shaky limb. She may have just filmed the most effective attack ad against herself.
And then there's Jeff Greenfield in Politico, who notes that elimination of private insurance was denounced by fellow candidate John Delaney on the debate stage as dangerous for the health of hospitals:
This raises the specter of a serious threat, should Warren or Sanders emerge as the nominee. You can call it the “your own man says so!” rule, named after schoolyard ballgame disputes, where the acknowledgment by a member of one team that his or her teammate was out settles the argument.

... a year from now—an eternity in campaign time, but not too long to keep the issue warm in a big oppo file—it wouldn't be hard at all for Donald Trump, on Twitter and in ads and on a debate stage, to point out that a member of Warren's own party, sharing the same stage, implied that her health care ideas would be dangerous for America....

Republicans have spent most of the last hundred years leveling Democratic social programs as “socialist” or “dangerous." As a general proposition, those attacks have fallen on barren ground. But in suggesting that a major plank of two potential nominees could wreak havoc on the system, John Delaney may have left ticking time bomb on his party’s hopes for the White House.
Elizabeth Warren has plans. She can explain in detail how she wants to take on the powerful in the interests of ordinary people.

But what's her plan for taking on the media? The press is highly critical of Donald Trump, but the right-wing caricature of mainstream journalism as radically left-wing is preposterous. The press wants the next president to be a centrist -- culturally tolerant, maybe, but hardly a boat-rocker in any other area. The "liberal media" doesn't want someone like Elizabeth Warren to win. What's her plan if she gets the nomination and the press -- as I feel is inevitable -- routinely denounces her? Democratic voters trust mainstream news outlets. What's Warren's plan when those outlets set out to sanbdbag her campaign?

No comments: