Desperately seeking momentum in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential primary race, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., keeps offering free new deals. But the more Warren embraces leftist statism, the more she builds President Trump his road to reelection.
It's political moderation, stupid.
Put simply, Warren's policies allow Trump to present his reelection as the more moderate, credible, alternative. Take Warren's latest proposal on Monday to wipe out college tuition debt for most students. As Phil Klein points out, Warren's plan is neither affordable nor morally just. Instead, it reflects one of the worst elements of the new American Left: the belief that wealthier Americans have a personal responsibility to earn a lot of money so that government can redistribute it to everyone else. It's classic class warfare populism: take the earnings of the most productive in society, and, without a view to boosting the central long-term driver of economic growth, productivity, give it to others.
Thanks to Warren's endless new spending programs, were she to win the Democratic presidential nomination, Trump could present her as the candidate of ever higher taxes and ever lessening productive investments (via taxes, private capital will become poorly allocated public capital). Consider how Trump might respond to Warren's free tuition plan.
Imagine it now: Trump addresses a crowd in rural Michigan, exhorting them to vote for him in the upcoming election. "Senator Warren," Trump says, "says that she'll deliver a better America by giving away other peoples money. But here's a question. How much of it will be your money [points at audience], or your money [points at TV camera]! Because all the objective tax experts say that taxing the rich and businesses can't come close to fitting the bill! Sorry folks, you're going to have to pay for it! You, the plumbers, manufacturers, and electricians who didn't go to college but work hard everyday, are going to have to pay higher taxes so that Warren can get rid of other peoples debts."
True, Trump is far from a moral example. He lies too much, insults too capriciously, and lacks humility. But there are few saints in politics, and too many false prophets in the Democratic Party. If the economy is strong in 2020, and Joe Biden isn't the Democratic nominee, Trump will be the more centrist candidate.