Elizabeth Warren is the only candidate who is talking about real policy issues and not just hot-button reactionary topics.
She isn’t just responding to President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed. That’s a good thing, even though I know she wants to spend hours explaining to the president that tariffs are actually a tax on Americans designed to change how and where purchases are made.
Take the newsprint tariffs from early in his presidency. Prices skyrocketed. American journalists lost jobs in direct relation to those increased paper costs. Canadians didn’t pay those tariffs. We did. Did it make publishers buy more paper from American firms? We tried, but American mills couldn’t meet the demand. The tariffs were finally lifted and we tried to return to former providers only to find that many of those mills had been repurposed to more stable paper products.
Prices are just now starting to come down. Tariffs are protectionist policy and they are the opposite of free market conservative capitalism.
The president also talks about saving U.S. Steel even though the company’s stock price tanked due to the tariffs and hasn’t rebounded.
Sen. Warren knows that President Trump proudly claiming revenue from tariffs is literally no different from a President Bernie Sanders standing at a podium and saying America is richer because he raised income taxes.
I don’t think FOX News would be as friendly to that quote. That’s another Warren point she is making. She is going to war with the right-wing media over their blatant role as presidential apologist. The best example had to be when a story claimed Trump lost a billion dollars in business and one of the friends on FOX and Friends praised Trump because he had lost so much money.
She was truly impressed.
It’s hard to stay positive in light of a Mueller Report, multiple other investigations and investigative reports that rarely seem to find silver linings in Trump’s cloudy distant and recent past.
On Tuesday, Warren turned down a FOX News offer to host a town hall for her. I get that she is making a principled stand but she seems to be missing a chance to speak directly to a group of people who might be convinced to vote for her. Warren says she isn’t scared of the FOX News reporters or crowd - she regularly takes questions from FOX reporters and she likes the town hall format.
She has a reason for not accepting the offer.
“FOX News is a hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists, ” Warren said. “It’s designed to turn us against each other, risking life and death consequences, to provide cover for the corruption that’s rotting our government and hollowing out our middle class.”
It is true that their coverage of some of the new young female members of Congress who are outspoken about their views almost seems to be begging extremists to do something very extreme, however, FOX News still leads the way in audience and taking up some free airtime sounds like a pretty decent plan for a candidate in a 24-horse race. But Warren said she wouldn’t help build that audience with her content.
“Hate-for-profit works only if there’s profit,” she said. “So FOX News balances a mix of bigotry, racism, and outright lies with enough legit journalism to make the claim to advertisers that it’s a reputable news outlet.”
That’s pretty direct and unfortunately, it isn’t entirely inaccurate.
I can appreciate Warren’s effort in this fight, but she is running uphill with a couple of embarrassing controversies already in the young campaign season. Not even a dozen appearances with her dog can change how badly she looked after her blood test to “prove” her heritage and the resulting outcry from those on both sides of the issue.
Warren is a serious candidate and she isn’t just trying to say what Democrats want to hear. I can appreciate that and I like the fact that she is taking a stand and not taking advantage of a huge audience because it doesn’t fit in her ethical playbook.
I just don’t think any of that will matter when the primaries roll around. If principles and policies won races President John Kasich would be celebrating another boring press conference today.
Before John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon brought debates to television, substance won over style. In 2019 America, style points are the only points.
With two dozen Democrat voices trying to be heard in the primaries, it won’t be the wonkiest policy producer that wins.
If Warren wants to win the nomination, she is going to have to stop picking fights with right-wing media and start pushing a more relatable message that resonates with voters.
I don’t like her chances at all, and the more I learn about all of the Democratic candidates, the more I see a repeat of 2016 on the horizon.
People talk about Trump’s low poll numbers, but he would have polled the same way in 2016 against a blank Democrat ticket. But when Hillary Clinton became the official opponent, more people were able to hold their nose with one hand and vote for him with the other.
His numbers are bad right now in a vacuum but when he gets an opponent, Trump will win some people back simply by pointing out the negative points in his challenger.
I can’t believe the Democrats have this many candidates and none that even appear to have a chance of beating an embattled incumbent president.
Kent Bush is publisher of Shawnee (Oklahoma) News-Star and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.