Saturday, June 29, 2019

My post-debate thoughts on the presidential race

I want to vote for a Democrat in the primary and general. I’ve never voted for a Republican for president, and I’ve voted in every presidential election since I voted for Gore in 2000, without regretting any of my general-election votes. (I went into more details in this Facebook post.)

The candidates who made the best impression on me in the two nights of the first Democratic debate were Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.

Those aren’t necessarily my favorite candidates; there are others I’ll seriously consider. I don’t know who I’ll support, and many candidates are sure to drop out before the New York primary, which could force me to adjust my preferences. But I have ruled out several candidates, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

I want the Democrats to be ready to make a strong case in the general election that while they might be pretty liberal, they’re not socialists, and they understand the importance of pragmatism and compromise. Klobuchar and Hickenlooper have given the impression they’d be able to convey this to America.

Too many other candidates have not. An example is the candidates who’ve suggested they would abolish all private health insurance in America. That would move us further left than most developed countries. (Contrary to what’s sometimes said, few countries have single-payer health care; most countries with universal health care have a multiple-payer system involving government and private insurers. See this 2014 Washington Post article by Ezra Klein.) America is badly in need of sweeping reform to health insurance, but destroying every private health insurer in the country would seem radical and extreme to most Americans. Donald Trump couldn’t ask for a more generous gift.

Nominating one of the relatively moderate candidates is the way to win over swing voters in swing states, and make the Trump presidency rightly go down in history as a mistake that America corrected at the first available opportunity.