Are the Democrats moving too far to the left? That says Bret Stephens, David Brooks and other real companions after last week's presidential negotiations. In some ways I agree. But the dichotomy between left and right – the idea that you have to go somehow – has become obsolete. The best course for Democrats in elections and government is to develop a new agenda that synthesizes progressive values with conservative wisdom. They can start by adopting the best ideas from the debates. Here are some of them.
first Medicare for anyone who wants it. In every debate – one on Wednesday, the other on Thursday-NBC's Lester Holt asked the candidates, "Who would abolish their private health insurance for a government competition plan?" Three of the top candidates-Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kamala Harris of California raised their hands. It's foolish. Polls show that most Americans oppose any system that would remove their current health insurance. Harris says she only thought she would give up her own insurance. But the question was whether the candidates would "abolish" it and not withdraw from it. Harris also supports Sanders & # 39; "Medicare for All" bill, which explicitly "illegally" for "a private health insurance company to sell health insurance coverage that duplicates the benefits under this law."
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, and former Texas Rep.
Beto O & # 39; Rourke offered a better approach. Buttigieg called it "Medicare for anyone who wants it." Instead of forcing everyone to Medicare, Buttigieg explained, "You make it available on the exchanges. [Obamacare] People can buy in. And then, if people like us are right – it will not only be a more inclusive plan, but a more effective plan than any of the company's responses out there – then it will be a very natural glide path to the single-payer environment. " Kirsten Gillibrand from New York, who supports the Sanders bill, made a similar point: that a state insurance plan offered as an alternative to private plans would "create competition with insurance companies." A system that allows private competition retains freedom of choice and maintains market pressure on the government to satisfy consumers.
2nd Healthy capitalism. Sanders spent a lot of time in this campaign, as he did in 2016, and defended socialism. It is a losing and unnecessary battle. Democrats actually believe in capitalism. They just don't like the ruthless, round version that has betrayed and discouraged working people. "There is a big difference between capitalism on the one hand and greed on the other," Gillibrand argued. "We want healthy capitalism. We do not want destroyed capitalism."
Healthy capitalism begins with stronger competition. When strong companies are not regulated, the first thing they do is to love or buy their competitors to escape market pressure. To preserve the market, the government must limit such behavior. "We have a serious problem in our country of business consolidation," explains Cory Booker of New Jersey in Wednesday's debate. "Consumer prices are being raised by pharmaceutical companies that often have a monopoly on drugs." Booker claimed that the government should "control corporate consolidation and let the free market work." Warren advocated noting that excessive consolidation "strengthens [s] innovation and growth."
Healthy capitalism also requires a fair distribution of profits. Stocks are flourishing, Harris observed, but wages are not. These two types of income are also taxed differently. Rourke suggested "taxing capital at the same rate that you tax ordinary income" by raising corporation tax.
Democratic capitalism, in contrast to democratic socialism, adheres to an ethical personal responsibility and reward for work. In Thursday's debate, former tech executive Andrew Yang told each adult a $ 1,000 monthly government check. But Harris outlined another approach: needs-based financial assistance through tax exemption. "For every family that produces less than $ 100,000 a year, they will receive a tax credit [so] they can collect up to $ 500 a month," says Harris. This policy, which she proposed, would help such families "get through the month with dignity." Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, a businessman, outlined a number of suggestions: "Doubling the income tax credit, raising the minimum wage and creating paid family vacation." These are changes in capitalism, not denial of it.
3rd A hemisphere immigration plan. All the candidates condemned President Donald Trump's inhuman border policy. But they failed to explain how, by decriminalizing illegal border crossings, they could maintain the order and discourage unauthorized access. They were more convincing when they extended the discussion and dealt with the migration crisis as in Sanders' words a "hemisphere problem". "Honduras is among others a failing state. Massive corruption," Sanders noted. "You have gangs that tell families that if a 10-year-old does not join the gang, that family will be killed."
What the candidates agreed on was a merger of foreign policy and immigration policy: co-ordination of foreign aid with political and economic reform to improve living conditions in Central America, thereby reducing immigrants' flow. Former Vice President Joe Biden accused Trump of aggravating the migration crisis by cutting aid to Central America. Booker called for "major investments in the northern triangle." Julián Castro, the former San Antonio Mayor and the Home and City Development Secretary, proposed "a Marshall Plan for Honduras and Guatemala and El Salvador so people can find security and opportunity instead of coming to the United States." a democratic force work that collaborates with other countries – and shows how Trump's pugnacious treatment of our southern neighbors has returned. It also signals that Democrats are serious about controlling migration, not just protecting immigrants.
Democrats cannot surpass Trump by blustering or military parades. But they can attack him from court to sidetrack with anti-American dictators against our government . Environmental Dividends. Several candidates were asked how they would persuade Congress and the public to accept carbon taxes and other climate change measures that are expensive or inconvenient in the short term. Some said they would build on rewards and incentives. "All the economists agree that a carbon price mechanism works," said Delaney, but "you can't appreciate carbon, raise energy prices, and don't give the money back to the American people."
Buttigieg suggested "a carbon tax and dividend," with money "that was made to the American people in a progressive manner, so most Americans become more than whole." This would include payments to "rural America", he explained, in exchange for "land management and other forms of investment." Rourke offered a similar event: "Pays farmers for the environmental services they want to deliver" so we can "catch more carbon out of the air and keep more of it in the ground."
5th Values, God and country. Progressive politicians tend to embarrass themselves from religion, nationalism, and military language. It's a mistake. It gives the Republicans a free hand in defining faith and patriotism. The only democrat in this presidency who regularly speaks of faith is Buttigieg. "The Republican Party likes to cut in the language of religion," he said in Thursday's debate. "A Party Associating with Christianity [but says] It is OK to suggest that God will smile at the family's division of federal agents – that God would condemn putting children in cages – has lost all claims to ever use religious language again . "
Democrats can't fight Trump by blustering or military parades. But they can attack him from court to sidetrack with anti-American dictators against our government. Harris, a career prosecutor, has led the way in this attack. Trump "includes Kim Jong-un, a dictator, for the sake of a photo," she said in Thursday's debate. "He takes the word of the Russian President over the words of the American Intelligence Society when it comes to a threat to our democracy and our choices." In an after-debate interview on MSNBC, Harris trump beat "a Saudi Arabian Prince of the American Intelligence Society's word" on the question of who ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, "a journalist holding US credentials."
All democratic candidates support abortion rights. But only one former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has pointed out that the Democrats have reduced the abortion by promoting contraception and preventing unintentional pregnancies. In Thursday's debate and in speeches last month, Hickenlooper said his administration had reduced teenage abortions by almost two-thirds, not by banning abortion, but by providing long-acting reversible contraceptives to any woman who desires them. This message will not satisfy people who believe that abortion is murdered. But it can interfere with millions of voters who believe that the procedure, while safe and lawful, should also be rare.
It is true that much of what was said on the scene was dogmatic, tonic and self-destructive. But that's only half the story. The other half is that the Democrats, through these debates, begin to formulate new ways of thinking about these issues and solving them. There is nothing wrong with this party that cannot be cured of what suits it.
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