November 24, 2019


Progressives, trust your gut: Elizabeth Warren is not one of us (Nathan Robinson, 24 Nov 2019, The Guardian)

From the beginning, there were good reasons for progressive leftists not to trust that Elizabeth Warren was on their side. For one thing, she had spent much of her career as a Republican, and only recently become a champion of progressive causes. Warren worked at Harvard Law School training generations of elite corporate lawyers; did legal work for big corporations accused of wrongdoing; collected donations from billionaires; held secret meetings with investment bankers and major Democratic party donors; and stood up and applauded when Donald Trump vowed that America would "never become a socialist country". Even at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, her most prominent initiative on behalf of ordinary borrowers, Warren brought in former Wall Street bankers, tasking financial foxes with guarding the henhouse. [...]

It's been difficult for progressives to know what to make of Warren. She's been antagonizing the super-rich, but some of them also seem fond of her, perhaps because they recognize that her regulatory proposals are actually a modest and pragmatic way of staving off a populist revolution. She has long been attacked for supporting Medicare for All, but she has also been troublingly vague about the details in ways that left single-payer proponents unsure whether she was with them or against them. (Harry Reid, having been Warren's colleague in the Senate, said she would probably ditch single-payer when she was actually in office, in favor of something more "pragmatic".)

But lately, Warren has finally begun to make her true feelings clear, and progressives no longer need to wonder whether she's with us or not. She's not. Warren released a Medicare for All plan that called it a "long-term" plan, which leftwing political analyst Ben Studebaker pointed out is "code to rich people for 'this is all pretend'".

A few weeks later, Warren confirmed that while in theory she supported single-payer healthcare, it would not be one of her primary initiatives, and she would initially push for a more moderate proposal similar to those advocated by Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg. Political analysts quickly saw Warren's statement for what it was: an admission that she did not really intend to pass single-payer at all. Doug Henwood noted that Barclays bank put out an analysis assuring Wall Street that Warren's plan to put off Medicare for All until late in the first term "decreases the likelihood that this plan comes to fruition". So much for big structural change.

Posted by at November 24, 2019 4:09 PM