Public Comment

Is Elizabeth Warren Progressive Enough?

Carol Polsgrove
Friday November 29, 2019 - 04:57:00 PM

A friend sent me this Guardian piece on Warren :Progressives, trust your gut: Elizabeth Warren is not one of us

Here were my thoughts, in an email to my friend:

On Warren: I have written her campaign TWICE to urge her to back off Medicare for All and advocate instead Medicare as a public option under the Affordable Care Act umbrella. I believe that is the best course for multiple reasons: (1) The prospect of too much change too fast makes too many people nervous. (2) There's not a chance that she (or Bernie or anyone else) would get Medicare for All through Congress (and the President does not dictate what Congress does -- whatever legislative proposal a president makes, Trump's notion of his powers notwithstanding, it is Congress that makes the law). (3) I have concerns about what pulling the plug on the insurance industry--suddenly--would do to the economy (and my retirement fund!) AND to employment, in both the insurance and medical industries.

Therefore, I applauded Warren's pulling back on Medicare for All. Paul Krugman has it right -- here and in other columns:

Don’t Make Health Care a Purity Test—There are multiple ways to achieve universal coverage. 

As for the other points in this column, especially foreign policy, I'll do some further research. But as for the charge that hers is a "pragmatic way of staving off a populist revolution" I say: Thank God for that. Donald Trump has given us a taste of "populist revolution" -- and I expect many, like me, feel we're standing on the edge of a precipice. God save us from armchair revolutionaries like the author of the Guardian column.

This is a big complex country---great changes can come in it (e.g. the New Deal, brought on by a confluence of factors, and subsequent post-World War II prosperity) but I'd rather have a savvy Elizabeth Warren in the Oval Office than a star-as-himself Bernie Sanders....(or the bull-in-the-China-shop Donald Trump). 


In this column I detect a whiff of identity politics at its worse: defined (by me) as making political choices that affirm your own personal identity rather than moving a population forward in the direction you'd like to see it move.