As the race narrows for the Democratic Presidential nominee, one face is shining above the others as a vision of progress, innovation and spirit.
That face, is none other than Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). While her plans are bold and her visions grand, there is one Achilles’ heel within her campaign. She is not electable.
This is a hard thing to fathom within a Democratic base that rallies with passion behind her. Yet, a September YouGov poll has shown that while support is growing within her Democratic base, the majority of Americans remain unsure of her capacity to beat Trump. In fairness, most believed Trump would win the 2020 election regardless of the nominee, that does not bode well for Warren as the current front runner.
Why the skepticism of Warren? Because while she may have a plan for everything, her plans do not necessarily hold up to opposition and scrutiny.
Take the hot issue of medical insurance. The titular question is: how do politicians expand coverage for a universal healthcare system and keep costs low? While there is a myriad of answers, Warren’s plan stands out for the wrong reasons.
She has repeatedly supported eliminating all forms of private insurance in favor of a Medicare-for-all system. She reasoned that by doing away with private insurance, it will prohibit the exorbitant markups that companies put on prescriptions, hospital visits and other treatments.
Yet, every single country that has some form of universal healthcare, also has a private sector. By eliminating the option for private insurance, it could alienate many states that are necessary to win a general election. It’s the adage of “taking away” versus “building upon.”
Opposition will decry the notion of taking millions of Americans’ insurance as forcing socialism down people’s throats. Regardless of whether that claim is accurate, Trump is salivating to take that label and twist it against his opponent.
Despite Warren being a former Republican and self-described “capitalist to [her] bones,” her policies leave her vulnerable to those attacks.
October’s Democratic debate foreshadowed the uphill battle Warren has yet to face, as her own running mates came down hard on her progressive stance. She proved to be resilient in the face of dissent though, did not emerge unscathed.
Warren is not without her strokes of genius. The vision of combating climate change by licensing new technologies for other countries to adopt, is a bold and pragmatic way to enact global action. Warren benefits from having a nuanced understanding of the economy, even if some of her policies get lost in bureaucratic translation.
Warren, like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), tries to harken back to a New Deal era type of Democrat. She partially succeeds. Her policies certainly evoke the spirit, though feasibility is a legitimate concern. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s politics and social programs, while bold for his time, were not designed to restructure Washington.
The biggest issue with Warren is the use of policies as a moral test. By opposing her big structural changes, a person is outcasted as a corporate crony. That is a grossly mischaracterization. A candidate can challenge the establishment and strive for change without wanting to knock down the house.
To akin leftist policies with higher morals also does a considerable disservice to moderate Democrats who have set aside differences to work across the aisle with Republicans. She can take the Democratic party by storm, but how willing will the rest of the country be to plunge into the deep end of her ideas?
An often criticism of former President Barack Obama, was his inability to work past partisanship to push forward new ideas. As a result, his presidency became an ineffective one, with more legislative battles lost than won.
Lest America forget, Obama was a moderate Democrat, not a leftist, not a socialist.
Warren’s presidency would be like Obama’s, except multiply hundredfold. No matter how invigorated or impassioned her ideas might be, that is no guarantee they will succeed.
This is not an argument against striving for bold and challenging ideas. Trendsetters are often ahead of their time. Though, there is also an argument to be made for pragmatism, which many within the Democratic party seem to have forgotten.
A candidate should be bold. America needs spitfires to energize young voters and make the public care about politics. Warren’s mastery is in inspiring people, while continuing to push the status quo. She needs to be present in politics and remain a critical voice within Washington.
But when it comes to representing the entire nation, Democrats and Republicans on the global stage, Warren may not be the country’s best bet.