Elizabeth Warren assails corruption, promises change as Democrats swarm to Texas – The Dallas Morning News

Elizabeth Warren assails \corruption,\ promises change as Democrats swarm to Texas - The Dallas Morning News

Democrats Campaign Travel Reveals 2020 Priorities

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is showing strength as a candidate by asking 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for advice, according to Dana Perino.

Warren was notably one of the more progressive lawmakers to endorse Clinton's primary candidacy against Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Perino said Monday on "The Five."

You could argue—as some did in defense of Hillary Clinton in 2016—that Biden was a product of the times, that he isnt just evolving but showing his true colors as a progressive who was stifled by the Democratic Partys decades-long lurch to the right. That argument might have some play if it wasnt Biden himself who played a significant role in moving the party away from its New Deal roots and towards the kind of tough-on-crime new kind of liberal (theres a word for that, I think) that was his stated goal going back to his first term in the Senate. It might have more play if there wasnt another equally old white guy in the race, whos been in politics for roughly the same amount of time, who represents everything Biden has fought against for his entire career.

"I think this is a sign of strength by Elizabeth Warren. She's acting and talking like a general election candidate," she said.

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Perino added Warren's decision to back Clinton in 2016 now seems like more of a strategic move than initially imagined.

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"She decided to back Hillary Clinton in 2016 over Bernie Sanders because, I think… she knows she's got that left side locked up," the former press secretary for ex-President George W. Bush added.

If youre on the left and view electoral politics as a way to enact some degree of social change, there are two ways to view this. One is the optimistic view, which is that the center of gravity in the Democratic Party has moved so far to the left since Bernie Sanders run in 2016 that its pulled not just other progressives (Elizabeth Warren) and mainstream liberals (Kamala Harris) along with it, but Joe Biden—the current frontrunner, and the portrait of American centrism for the past half-century—to the left as well.

In addition, Perino's other co-hosts offered their take on Warren's reported conference with Clinton.

That climate change plan earned a minor endorsement from an unlikely source. Joe Bidens climate plan—Im going to get canceled for this—is quite ambitious, Data for Progress founder Sean McElwee told McClatchy. (McElwee also told McClatchy that such an ambitious plan would go exactly nowhere if Biden didnt push for a number of structural reforms, like making Puerto Rico a state and packing the Supreme Court.)

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According to a report by NBC News, Warren and Clinton have been open to contacting each other since the former declared her 2020 candidacy.

Joe Biden is not the man! It seems Bidens only reason for running is to remove President Trump from office. He doesnt appear to have a coherent platform or a program to offer – or even really to want the job. What he does offer to the American people is very much the same bipartisan governing he and President Obama tried to implement unsuccessfully for eight years. Neither Obama nor Biden was able to overcome the uncompromising Republican Congress on key issues, and we remained stuck in limbo until Trump was elected. The bipartisan idea proved to be pure fantasy, given who were entrenched in the Senate. We dont need more fantasy government.

Video: Elizabeth Warren gains ground over Biden and Sanders in new CBS News poll

A source close to the former secretary of state told the outlet the correspondence has been "substantial enough to merit attention."

The Earth is on fire, and Donald Trump has a pocket full of matches which he gleefully uses on a daily basis. Mark my words: If Joe Biden is the Democratic candidate, he will lose terribly to Trump. We need a Warren or a Sanders or an Ocasio-Cortez. We Democrats need to wake up, stop palavering and do what it takes.

This year, a progressive populist may finally get the Democratic nomination. Why did it take so long?

The Two-Income Trap, the 2003 book Warren co-authored with her daughter, has been described as reactionary in a number of respects. Matthew Walther summarized the book as arguing that generally speaking, the exodus of women from the home into the workforce that began in the 1970s has been a disaster for women, who find the infinite responsibilities of child-rearing compounded with the drudgery of wage labor; for families, who are now twice as vulnerable to the pitfalls to unemployment — a disaster for everyone, in fact, except corporations who have benefited from the vast pool of cheap and readily exploitable labor provided by women over the last four or so decades.

How is it that not just one but two of the top three Democratic contenders this year are progressives, and both seem to be gaining on centrist corporate Democrat Joe Biden? Why is this election different from all other elections?

Three reasons, I think: First the American economy has become so totally rigged against ordinary working families that the political logic of a progressive populist nominee finally broke through the usual blather about needing moderation to win, especially after Trump rode the fake populist horse to victory in 2016.

First, both Reagan and Obama were running in favorable environments. By the end of the Carter administration, unemployment and inflation were both serious economic problems, the country suffered an energy crisis, Russia had invaded Afghanistan and Iran had taken American embassy staff hostage. By the end of George W. Bushs second term, the Iraq War was widely unpopular, his administration was seen as not competently addressing the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and a crisis in the financial markets was destroying peoples retirement savings and putting mortgages underwater.

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Second, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, each in their own way, are unusually gifted leaders. Sanders is revered as a truth teller who tapped pent-up frustrations in 2016 to the point where he very nearly wrested the nomination from Hillary Clinton, one of the best bolstered front runners of all time—this despite the liability of being a 74-year-old professed socialist.

However, were she to win the Democratic nomination, the limits of her strategy would become more obvious. President Trump ran and won as a heterodox candidate. He was seen as a more moderate candidate than not only Hillary Clinton, but also past GOP nominees. Heterodoxy also served George W. Bush well as a compassionate conservative appealing to so-called soccer moms, Bill Clinton running as a third way Democrat, and even Jimmy Carter running as a moderate and a born-again Christian.

As for Warren, she may be the most effective leader at narrating the lived pocketbook grievances of ordinary people and at bridging schisms of race since maybe Bobby Kennedy in 1968. One of these two could well get the nomination, if they dont turn on each other, which is a topic for another column.

David Brooks, recently revisiting the book, notes that Warren was not arguing to turn back the clock on women in the workforce. Rather, she supported school choice and vouchers to free parents from a system of lousy public schools and economically burdensome private ones. She also criticized liberal, taxpayer-funded daycare proposals as punishing stay-at-home parents. Warren even recognized how taxpayer subsidies bloat the cost of higher education, and that housing is over-regulated.

But the third difference between this and other postwar elections is that the structural obstacles to nominating a progressive are at last being breached, and its worth taking a moment to review those structural barriers. After all, exactly one progressive managed to win the Democratic nomination in the past half century, and that was George McGovern in 1972.

During CNNs seven-hour climate change town hall last week, Biden endorsed the idea of the Green New Deal, the $93 trillion proposal that aims to eliminate the use of all fossil fuels, ban combustion-engine vehicles and air travel, and claims to guarantee every American a job, even those who are unable or unwilling to work. When asked if the Green New Deal went too far, Biden gave an unequivocal no, even implying that the deal does not go far enough with specifics. Bidens support for banning all fossil fuels isnt new, as he backed the very same concept during Julys Democratic debate.

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He was trounced by Richard Nixon, then at the peak of his wily powers. But the lessons of 1972 do not apply today because we have nothing comparable to the party schisms of the Vietnam era.

Though Democrats (and the country) have been crying out for a progressive nominee, as peoples economic prospects steadily dwindled since the late 1970s, all of the partys recent standard bearers have been centrist or at best tepid center-left. The reason is that all of the structural factors militate against nominating a lefty.

Bidens phony moderate shtick will only hold up for so long, as true moderate and centrist voters will begin to see his tendencies to move far left with the rest of the party on key issues. Heading into 2020, the media will continue trying to portray Biden as the level-headed moderate the Democrats need to beat Trump in the general election. Yet his continuous swing to the left will only alienate him from the very voters hell need to win over in 2020, only increasing Trumps chances of reelection to a second term.

Money talks loudly in politics, and the last thing big money wants is a progressive populist. Centrist candidates can gesture left to win votes, but do nothing serious to challenge business hegemony once nominated or elected.

Taxpayer funding of abortions is not something most Americans support, however. A Marist University poll showed that 54 percent of Americans oppose any taxpayer funding for abortions, compared to 39 percent who support it. Bidens leftward swing and flip-flop on the abortion issue demonstrates his out-of-touch mentality towards the majority of Americans, leaving him on shaky ground concerning an issue that will surely play heavily in the 2020 primary and general election.

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Further, the conventional wisdom reigns, with the media as echo chamber. Progressive candidates, like Dick Gephardt in 1988, get trashed by the press as protectionist demagogues. Everything Gephardt said that election about East Asian mercantilism was vindicated. He was too right, too soon.

Looking back at every nominating contest since 1972, the relative centrist won the nomination, and in three cases the election. Jimmy Carter won in 1976 then lost the presidency in 1980; Walter Mondale in 1984 ran as the candidate of budget balance, as urged by his adviser Robert Rubin. He lost 49 states. Michael Dukakis in 1988 had been a superb governor, part liberal, part technocrat, but didnt have a populist bone in his body. Bill Clinton in 1992 became the ultimate deregulator of Wall Street. Gore in 2000 kept tacking between his own moderately liberal instincts and the pulls of the DLC and the funders.

In 2004, John Kerry was liberalish, but his top adviser on economic issues was the same Robert Rubin. And in 2008, Obama ran more as a foreign policy progressive, but when it came time to govern he hired the Clinton economic team and bailed out rather than cleaned out the big banks. And then we got Hillary Clinton, which in turn led to Trump.

All the while, the economy was turning more and more brutally against working people, who accurately perceived that neither party was serving their interests. There were also some unfortunate accidents of history, from Bobby Kennedys murder, to the death of Paul Wellstone in a plane crash, to the fact that John Edwards, the self-appointed populist in 2004, turned out to be a fake.

As it happens, Ive written three books, beginning in 1987, warning that the Democratic Party was setting itself up for defeat by getting captured by financial elites and neoliberals. The first, The Life of The Party, explored just how the Democrats has been corrupted by the DCCC and the DLC and neoliberal ideology, and urged the nomination of a pocketbook progressive.

The second, Obamas Challenge, in 2008, observed that history had handed Obama a chance to be a transformative president a la FDR but warned that the Obama was at grave risk or being captured by the usual suspects. One chapter was called Audacity Versus Undertow. Thank God he didnt appoint Larry Summers and Tim Geithner to run economic policy. Whoops.

Now Im out with a new book, The Stakes: 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy. The fate that Id been warning about—the turning of exasperated working people to a neo-fascist—finally happened. But this time, we actually have the prospect of nominating a progressive and winning an election, not only to take back the economy but the democracy as well.

We had better succeed this time, because the stakes are higher then ever. A fourth book about democracy and the Democrats, written in Trumps second term (if we still have a free press), would be a real downer.  


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