This year, though, progressives have an embarrassment of riches, with Warren and perhaps Sanders back to set the pace and fresher faces like Sen. Kamala Harris of California, among others, embracing single-payer health care and other left causes with a convert’s zeal.
Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York, has slammed the liberal candidates’ soak-the-rich tax plans as he weighs a bid.
But everyone is living the shadow of former Vice President Joe Biden, who comfortably leads polls of the nascent Democratic field.
The pileup on the left led Trump to raise the specter of socialism in his State of the Union Address last week and make comparisons to Venezuela, while ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says there is no longer room for him in his former party, leading him to consider an independent presidential run.
asked former Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat who lost re-election in Missouri last year, on Twitter.
“We’re going to look for that candidate that we think can best beat Trump — period,” said Robert Wolf, the former chairman of UBS and a major Democratic donor who served as an economic adviser to President Barack Obama.
It’s also unclear if moderate Democrats could coalesce around one candidate in the primary since they include a wide range of groups with cross-cutting values: religious African-Americans and Latinos with more conservative views on abortion; cosmopolitan professionals who want to fight climate change and the gun lobby but keep taxes low; and noncollege educated whites who might be OK with guns rights and soaking the rich.
For instance, one name being floated by centrist Democrats is Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, one of the Senate’s most liberal members who nonetheless consistently wins re-election in an increasingly red state, which also happens to be a key presidential battleground.
Brown, who is currently testing the waters by touring early primary and caucus states, has made a point of refusing to join the bandwagon in support of Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, the environmental plan popularized by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.”His policies come from what effect it will have on a worker,” said Nan Whaley, the mayor of Dayton, Ohio, who is trying to draft Brown into the 2020 contest.
That’s led some moderates to express interest in a candidate like Beto O’Rourke, the former congressman who defies simple ideological categorization and ran a Senate race in Texas last year on a hopeful message that allowed people to project their own values onto him.
“We don’t need a clear winner on where we are on the ideological spectrum,” said Iowa state Sen. Jeff Danielson of his state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses, now a year away.
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