Democrats already know exactly how to win the 2020 presidential election. It is all about emphasizing the still fresh issues that brought back 5 million or so independent voters and won them the House in 2018. At the time, they followed Nancy Pelosi’s guidance. Promote significant expansion of health care coverage. Decry Trump’s assault on the Affordable Care Act, and promise that no one will be denied health insurance due to a pre-existing condition. After that is made clear, recognize the enormous threat of climate change. Remind voters that the huge tax bill enriched corporations and the wealthy, but no one else. Defend reproductive freedom.
The 2018 Congressional campaigns were almost entirely framed around issues where a majority of voters already subscribe to the Democrat’s viewpoint. It turns out this makes winning much less complicated. Debaters Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Joe Biden get this playbook, and at times it seems as if Kamala Harris does, and Beto O’Rourke. Non-debaters Michael Bennet and Steve Bullock understand these core positions too. Build upon them to respond to ever changing conditions but don’t stray too far. Remember this is the most important election of our lifetime, unless any of us was a baby when FDR first won in 1932.
Maybe Elizabeth Warren thinks ignoring 80 million or more voters who do not want health insurance companies to be shuttered is worth the political risk, because it would bring the country closer to universal coverage than any other proposal. Perhaps she believes being unwavering in her proposal is the way to win the Democratic nomination. Whatever she is thinking, there is no evidence that she has heard a single word spoken to her on this matter by anyone with a different point of view.
The true test began Tuesday night. Will Warren’s unflinching approach be admired, and her support continue to grow? Not necessarily. There is a not insignificant chance that Buttigieg and others will slow her down by underscoring her refusal to fully answer the cost questions imbued in Medicare for All.