February 16, 2019


PODCAST: First One In (Charlie Sykes, February 15th, 2019, The Bulwark)

On today's Bulwark Podcast, Democratic Presidential Candidate John Delaney joins host Charlie Sykes to discuss his campaign (he's been running since July of 2017), where he stands on the issues, and where he thinks Americans can find common ground.

Want to topple Trump? Take John Delaney seriously. (George F. Will, November 16, 2018, Washington Post)

Suppose, however, Democrats are more interested in scrubbing the current presidential stain from public life than they are in virtue-signaling and colonizing the far shores of leftwingery. Delaney is much more than an example of the If-Trump-Can-Be-Elected-So-Can-My-Cocker-Spaniel response to 2016.

His grandparents, he says, "made pencils and worked the docks." He did not become wealthy, as today's businessperson-turned-president did, through a father's largesse supplemented by tax chicanery. Neither of Delaney's parents went to college. His father was a 60-year member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. An IBEW scholarship, and support from the American Legion, VFW and Lions Club, helped Delaney through Columbia University. After Georgetown Law School, where he met his wife, he founded a financial company and became the youngest-ever chief executive on the New York Stock Exchange. His second company invests in small and midsize companies. In 2017, Fortune magazine included him among the "World's 50 Greatest Leaders."

Solidly built and impeccably tailored, Delaney, 55, is a Democrat who believes in what he has lived: upward mobility, with assistance. He recognizes the obvious, that globalization has been "extraordinarily positive" for billions more people than it has injured, but its American casualties are real and deserve government help. He speaks with the calm confidence of one who understands, as the man he hopes to displace does not, that the lungs are not the seat of wisdom. He checks various boxes that might mollify all but the most fastidious progressives: He likes early-childhood education, a carbon tax, a $15 minimum wage and extending the Social Security tax to higher incomes. He dislikes the National Rifle Association, the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, high interest rates on student loans and "outrageous" drug prices. He would achieve "universal" health care by offering Medicaid for all, and for those who choose to opt for private programs, as he thinks most people would, there would be federal subsidies for those who need them.

John Delaney Is Playing the Long Game: The Maryland Democrat and 2020 presidential candidate has visited all 99 of Iowa's counties--well before many better-known Democrats have even decided whether to run. (ELAINE GODFREY, DEC 10, 2018, The Atlantic)

The Maryland Democrat is much more of a policy wonk than a rhetorical charmer, and he spends more time talking about national unity than he does about Donald Trump. In a recent interview with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register, Delaney summed up what he views as the central issue facing the country: "How do we take this terribly divided nation, where American is pitted against American, and how do we start bringing it back together and restoring a sense of unity and common purpose to our country?"

While it's not exactly rare to find a politician preaching national unity on the campaign trail, Delaney says he's different. Others might give lip service to bipartisanship, he told me, "but I'm the only one actually focused on that."

During his time in Congress, the multimillionaire lawmaker teamed up with two Republicans to push for legislation that would use revenue from international tax reform to fund various infrastructure projects. On the campaign trail in Iowa, Delaney has pledged that, if elected, he would only introduce legislation that receives bipartisan support for his first 100 days in office. Some of his top priorities for those first few months include passing a comprehensive infrastructure package, doubling the earned-income tax credit, and establishing an optional National Service Program for young people between high school and college.

Several Iowa party leaders told me that this kind of message could be particularly appealing after such a divisive two years in American politics. "I think there's often an ebb and flow to such matters," said Kurt Meyer, chair of the Mitchell County Democrats. Residents of this county backed Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012, but in 2016, Trump won it by more than 24 points. "After fighting with people in the other party, the message that Delaney sends--Let's meet in the middle--it might fall on fertile soil," Meyer said.

Debra Rodgers, a 68-year-old retired secretary and registered Democrat, lives in Henry County, which Trump won by more than 30 points two years ago. Rodgers had a chance to meet Delaney in the spring, and since then, she's been a fan. "After a year of listening to the butt head in the White House--I'm sorry to talk like that--[Delaney] was so refreshing," Rodgers told me. "He was a bit of a throwback, you know? Being a Baby Boomer, this is the kind of politician we remember, the kind we want to have in office."

Posted by at February 16, 2019 6:46 PM