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.