Monday, November 18, 2019

The Wisdom of Crowds (of Democrats)

Far be it from me to interrupt the ongoing weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth among many Democrats about the current conflicts within the party. But it's worth pointing out: some of these debates are actually winding up in the right place!
Perry Bacon Jr. at 538 has been following these internecine debates closely and has attempted a typology of the different kinds of Democrats fighting it out. In his most recent piece, he takes stock of which wings of the party seem to be faring the best on the various issues under discussion. On two key ones, health care and wealth/corporate power, it seems to me that the winners in his scrupulously fair assessment also correspond to the positions the Democrats would do well to advocate in the general election against the Evil One. So that's a good thing!
Health care:
"On M4A, I would argue that the more moderate wings have the upper hand for now. You can see that in the Buttigieg and Harris campaigns, in which both felt the need to shift their rhetoric away from M4A. Polling suggests Democratic voters have fairly positive views of M4A, but Democrats also really like more incremental approaches (like building on Obamacare or “Medicare for all who want it”). And full-fledged M4A is fairly controversial with the broader electorate.
If Sanders or Warren makes it to the general election, he or she will face a lot of pressure from the broader Democratic Party to soften his or her health care stands. In fact, Warren is already doing so, putting out a plan last week that essentially would put off a full push to put all Americans under Medicare for All until her third year in office."
Wealth/corporate power
"If the more progressive wings of the Democratic Party have lost ground on health care, I think they might be winning the intra-party debate over how Democrats should approach the wealthy and corporations....
We don’t have a lot of polling on say, whether voters want their candidates to attend big-dollar fundraisers. But a number of polls, like the Marist one above, suggest the wealth tax is fairly popular. And the broader concept that the wealthy have too much power is even more popular — basically unifying Democrats and even getting some Republican support. And politically it’s hard to really defend the wealthy. No candidate wants to say, “If I am president, I guarantee my big donors will have special access to me.”
So in terms of taking on wealthy individuals and big companies, the center-left is generally moving toward the left’s positions (at least publicly)."
Maybe Democrats aren't so dumb after all!
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Back in March, before the 2020 Democratic primary contest really ramped up, I wrote an article about the divides in the Democratic Party at the level of activis…

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