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Whither Warren?

Written By: - Date published: 7:40 am, December 2nd, 2019 - 20 comments
Categories: capitalism, climate change, Donald Trump, jacinda ardern, us politics - Tags: ,

Is it too early to call negative odds on Elizabeth Warren’s candidacy?

A few months ago she was riding above Biden in the ‘preferred Democractic nominee stakes’. Might a true policy brain make it to the big chair?

Warren’s polling raise has been remarkable this year, and for a moment she eclipsed all.

But then the impeachment hearings began to suck almost all political oxygen out of Washington’s media, and has now dehumidified the Democratic selection process so much that politics is pretty much frozen up and won’t thaw again until February 2020 when the year wakes up.

Biden still holds 28% support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who are registered to vote, followed by Sanders at 17%, Warren at 14% and Buttigieg at 11%.

The poll tracking is saying she’s peaked and going down. Can Warren reverse this decline early in 2020?

Voters can make a distinction between Sanders and Warren. For those who like their economy well regulated rather than fully socialized, Warren is the choice.

Her parents endured the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and later her father’s career collapsed because of illness. So she gets New Deal politics real good.

To see how her policies want to re-make Americas capitalism on a
similar scale to the New Deal, take a good look at her policies here.

Seriously I’d urge you to take 30 minutes and go through these policies. We may be ahead in some things, but OMG I would love someone like her to come on down here and write a really clear anti-trust legislation that stops us being ruled by just a handful of companies in almost every sector of our lives here, where we have a Commerce Commission that had to be browbeaten into examining an obvious oligopoly like fuel supply and even then had to have the legislation written for them to get off their asses and act (sigh – I digress).

Elizabeth Warren would be the scourge of the oligopolies and the uber-rich – because her professional experience means she could cut through their layers of corporate defenses like flensing a beached Blue Whale.

Here’s some highlights.

Elizabeth Warren would not just reverse Mr Trumps tax cuts, she would impose large new taxes on individuals and large companies. Companies would face an extra 7% tax on all profits over $100m.

The highest earners would also face higher income taxes. New levies would come in worth around 15% on the nations’ top 2% of households.

Then there’s the wealth tax. Targeting the super-rich, Elizabeth Warren promises an annual levy of 2% on all net worth over US$50 million, rising to 3% on fortunes above US$1 billion.

Then there’s the proposed law called the “Stop Wall Street Looting Act” she has introduced into the Senate, to change the way private equity firm employees are taxed. Under her plan their tax would go up to 37%.

The Glass-Steagall Act would be revived. That means for example that Facebook would have to spin off Instagram and WhatsApp. Yup, break them up. Online marketplaces with global revenue of more than US$25 billion would be regulated as “platform utilities” and stopped from offering their own products and services on these regulated platforms. So, Amazon would not be able to sell on its own marketplace.

In big companies, 40% of Board seats would be reserved for workers.

And she also wants paid family leave, a $15 federal minimum wage within 5 years, make it easy to unionize, and “gig economy” companies would be forced to treat workers as salaried employees.

She’s going full on Medicare For All, which in reality we don’t even have in New Zealand with all our part-payments and fees. Of course it’s a huge proposal so she’s got a detailed transition plan as well, commenting:

“I will fight to pass fast-track budget reconciliation legislation to create a true Medicare for All option that’s free for tens of millions. I won’t hand Mitch McConnell a veto over my health care agenda. Instead, I’ll give every American over the age of 50 the choice to enter an improved Medicare program, and I’ll give every person in America the choice to get coverage through a true Medicare for All option. Coverage under the new Medicare for All option will be immediately free for children under the age of 18 and for families making at or below 200% of the federal poverty level (about $51,000 for a family of four). For all others, the cost will be modest, and eventually, coverage under this plan will be free for everyone.”

Her plans about climate change are also comprehensive.

Look, she’s not a socialist. You won’t see her advocating for the state to take big stakes in private companies. But as a wise and grounded Okie, her leadership would mean a programme as ambitious in its own way as anything since FDR’s New Deal: a fundamental reworking of American capitalism.

After a cable news personality reported that executives of big companies are anxious about a Warren presidency, she tweeted: “I’m Elizabeth Warren and I approved this message”.

Sanders’ nationwide funding and activist base built through 2016 is going to be hard to beat, and IMHO she would probably be more effective in Cabinet or as Vice President. It’s just great to see so much more policy ambition than Obama, and someone with the bureaucratic credibility to execute it.

For both Warren and Sanders, the impeachment hearings now very strongly frame the election as a ‘who-can-get-rid-of-Trump’ test. Not a policy-ambition-versus-venality test. Because that’s what failed last time. Big politics is partly in the luck of events.

In a parallel, the U.S. election on November 3rd will be likely to be close to the date of our own (not set yet but it’s about then).

Thankfully, in New Zealand Elizabeth Warren the policy wonk and great communicator will still live, but incarnated in a younger form called Jacinda Ardern.

20 comments on “Whither Warren? ”

  1. tc 1

    Yes the anti-trust probably gets her shunned more then the tax hikes from the all mighty media. Alot of that all over the western world with these mutli branded oligopolies.

    Need it here badly, being a small faraway place, to release other players into our many moribund markets.

  2. Nic the NZer 2

    "Not a policy-ambition-versus-venality test. Because that’s what failed last time."

    No, what failed last time was that the turn out was low among marginalised communities. This was a response to Obamas presidency combined with a lack of ambition to change anything from the democratic side. Also significant was that the key states were not targeted by an inept Clinton campaign and that the popular vote was not decisive.

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    Unlike some of the local USA politics online experts, I don’t claim to know how it will all turn out “because of X…”.

    But…I do know that anyone worthy of the monikers–leftie & socialist–would be supporting, yes, against all sorts of odds–Bernie. On political principle, is why you would root for Mr Sanders campaign.

    The obvious great team for some, might be Bernie and Ms Warren together. Though Sanders would not likely want to be VP in any event, to anyone! Though he could do swapsies if a second term eventuated, or not. Bernie cannot help his age, and it is not his fault he is essentially a survivor of a previous age, his socialist world view undiluted by neo liberalism. He should not be discounted right to the very end, his career has been based on winning ‘unwinable’ positions.

    But regardless of who is the nominee, they face State and district gerrymandering and the undemocratic Electoral College. Though Internal Democratic Party struggles have seen some changes to the super delegates role, and there is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, bubbling away also…


  4. Stuart Munro. 4

    It's always difficult to see how candidates appeal to foreign constituencies. I recall being astonished that a folksy bumbler like W could secure nomination, much less election, and Yeltsin came across as a drunken oaf absent his Moscow intelligentsia vocabulary, whereas Gorbachov's Primorean accent made him sound, to western Russia, like a hick.

    I follow Sanders, and there's little to dislike, or even anything particularly radical by New Zealand standards about him. But I've a feeling that decades of media sledging and scare propaganda about socialism may hurt his chances. Biden is an empty set – I've yet to see anything that makes him electable beyond evidently having been a friend of the right people – that may be an example of the W/Yeltsin parochial appeal – but if so his fan base isn't making his virtues known. So Warren is the obvious compromise candidate, and unlike some, has a strong smart direction to bring to the table. Whether what seems to me to be an obvious rational choice can survive the randomness of the electoral college system remains to be seen.

  5. Adrian Thornton 5

    It looks from were I am sitting that Warren in tanking for a few reason, first and foremost she keeps getting caught out lying, now we all know that those on the Left ( I am talking about progressive Left here, not centrists) will and do get held to a far far higher standard by the media than any Right wing or centrist politician, so her seeming character flaw in this regard is a huge problem for her. Secondly her bullshit medicaid for all cop out has been seen as exactly that, so I am pretty sure that flip flop has done her no favours in the polls either.

    'Liz Warren’s latest lie only deepens her dilemma on education'


    'Elizabeth Warren's vagueness on 'Medicare for All' isn't fooling anyone'


    Lastly ( and I unfortunately can't find this link again) there are numbers out there that show how committed those polled are to the candidates that they say that they would vote for when polled, I can't remember the exact numbers but Biden was surprisingly strong, Sanders just outperformed everyone by miles, Warren was way down in the 20% range, which showed to me that her support was and as has been proved by these polls, extremely soft.

    I am not sure if I would compere her to Ardern, more like Helen Clark IMO, a centrist free market liberal, who believe the markets will answer all the problems of man and beast and planet…wait no actually you might be right.

    By the way, if Arden lied like Warren, she would be on her arse by now in NZ politics, you have to be sleazy prick like Sir John Key to get away with that.

    • Wensleydale 5.1

      Please don't call that suit-wearing turd "Sir John Key". It only encourages him.

    • Phil 5.2

      her bullshit medicaid for all cop out has been seen as exactly that

      Americans in aggregate (for better or worse) have a strong dislike of the compulsory-medicare-for-all policy platform as proposed by Sanders, but it does play well to a subset of the Dem primary electorate, so he's holding a good share of the vote. There is actually more support among Americans for some type of medicare-if-you-want-it-but-you-can-also-keep-your-insurance policy that Warren and other candidates now seem to be proposing.

      • adam 5.2.1

        You might want to back up that with a link Phil.

        Because the poll data I've seen is different from what you're suggesting. As for Warren does she even know what she saying about health care – she has flip flopped this last month so much it been really depressing to watch.

        • Incognito

          Why then don’t you provide a link to the poll data that you have seen?

          • adam

            Oh now asking for backing up a statement about polls is not longer OK? Even this poorly worded poll by CBS says the majority support Medicare for all.


            There are literally hundreds of other polls on the topic – with the majority of the population supporting Medicare for All. The only polls I've seen which kinda counter that are the ones like the CBS poll I put up. Because they word it so badly, that republicans freak out, but even then what 30+% of republicans support it.

            So again let me ask, where the data supporting what Phil said. As I'm not his fact checker. When all you need to do is follow US politics even lightly, to know the majority support Medicare for All.

            • Incognito

              Your first sentence was off IMO but the rest of your comment was good and thank you for providing a link, which is what you asked from Phil and I asked from you. Unfortunately, Phil has not (yet) obliged. But as you said, for each (US) poll there’s a counter poll so how useful is this poll competition anyway?

              • adam

                As for polls, it's all about the wording. Then you draw relevant conclusions.

                Which is why I almost never comment on NZ polls, as I find they are worded poorly, and in many cases – are outright misleading. It's odd that the poll site which uses self selection (not a good method in my opinion) got better handle on the last election results weeks out, rather than the major poll companies here in NZ. But again – ask the right questions, in the right way and get a real result. Works better than holding to an ideological opinion, then fudging a poll to get the prescribed result.

                As such never understood why colmar brunton were on TVNZ, as the company has such obvious ties to the national party. I would have thought any person with half a brain in management would realise their credibility takes a hit when they such partisan hacks. Shows how little respect management in that joint have for the general public in my opinion.

  6. Phil 6

    There is something of a Republican-2012 primary vibe to this Dem campaign.

    Romney and Biden both have an 'elder statesman' role in the party and lead a crowded primary field, despite neither evoking a great deal of enthusiasm or being particularly well liked by their party. There have already been a couple of 'surges' in 2020 as a candidate catches fire then seems to drift out of contention before a single vote has been cast (Harris, Warren? Mayor Pete?) just like Bachmann, Perry, Gingrich, Cain and Santorum.

  7. Gosman 7

    Who Green New Deal is just a massive corporate welfare policy.

    • tc 7.1

      Well there's that and the fact that like Bloomberg, it's another wealthy individual who climbed high enough up the tree to now start telling everyone they'll be their saviour.

      It's all wearing a bit thin as Dylan sings "…your gunna have to serve someone.." and with the wealthy it's reasonably logical that by following the money that’s who they'll serve.

  8. adam 8

    Hate to say it Ad, but unless a progressive gets to be president Warren 'ant going to be in cabinet or VP. Which is a shame, I'd love Elizabeth to be in charge of treasury, the environment or any other departments. She'd be great.

  9. mosa 9

    I have watched Elizabeth Warren a few times and the impression is always the same

    wishy washy

    She is clever and bright i am sure but lacks any real authority and when she is interviewed she comes across like a child on a sugar rush.

    If Sanders makes it through i think he will pick a candidate like Cortez who he seems too have a great working relationship and shares a similar background too Sanders a former New Yorker but there is still a long way too go starting in February with the Iowa caucuses.

    I don't think Warren is V.P material imho.

  10. soddenleaf 10

    Trump will lose, he been shedding voters since he become President, and all his rhetoric is loyalty to party and it's leader.Whether wealth will wake-up and use politics for the people, and end the war on the planet, the juries out. Hope they, the U.S. surprise us.

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