Monday, May 6, 2019

The Five Don'ts of the 2020 Democratic Campaign (Updated)

Recently Bernie Sanders called for giving the right to vote to all prisoners. This is--how can I put this delicately?--not very popular. As Nathaniel Rakich notes on 538:
"[T]he idea of allowing all felons to vote does not have much public support. In a March 2018 poll for HuffPost, YouGov found that 24 percent of U.S. adults supported restoring felons’ voting rights while they are in prison and 58 percent opposed it, including 41 percent who were “strongly” opposed. And a Quinnipiac poll conducted just last week found that only 31 percent of registered voters support allowing prisoners to vote — 65 percent were opposed."
So, in Bernie's honor, I am revising my "Four Don't of the 2020 Democratic Campaign" to include five don'ts. As I said earlier, whoever the Democratic nominee is going to be in 2020, that nominee has to avoid unforced errors to maximize their chances of beating Trump. Advocating giving the vote to all prisoners would be another one of these errors.
Here's the current list of five (and counting!):
1. Reparations for the descendants of slaves. Preferred: social programs that disproportionately benefit blacks because of their income, education or geographic attributes.
2. Abolish ICE. Preferred: Reforming ICE + a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants + an actual immigration policy that includes border security and policies about future immigration levels.
3. Medicare for All that eliminates private insurance. Preferred: Medicare for Anyone or Medicare for All (Who Want It). Currently embodied in the DeLauro-Schakowsky Medicare for America bill.
4. A Green New Deal that commits to 100 percent renewable energy within 10 years. Preferred: A Green New Deal that focuses on jobs, infrastructure, research and promoting clean energy in all forms.
5. Giving the vote to all prisoners. Preferred: Restoring voting rights to all felons who have completed their sentences, as in Florida's Amendment 4, which passed easily.
I still haven't up my mind about Biden but one of his great virtues is that he has a perfect record on the five don'ts. Of course, he still needs a strong positive case, but his avoidance of these pitfalls is a real strength. Democratic voters--and Biden's Democratic rivals--should take note.
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Last month, during a CNN town hall featuring several Democratic candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders helped reignite a national conversation when he said people in p…

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