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.
We need bold action now to pass the #GreenNewDeal, build a green new economy, and defeat the climate crisis—and I've got a plan for that. I'm proud to work alongside groups like @SunriseMvmt to build the grassroots movement we need to fight climate change. pic.twitter.com/GHJKDCloow— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) November 26, 2019
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”.
I'm Elizabeth Warren and I approve this message. https://t.co/2Ewkbm0ZwA— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) September 10, 2019
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.