2. The rise of the 99% voter: Eat the rich
The “wealth tax” reportedly being considered by Sen. Elizabeth Warren reflects the fact that income inequality has become an early battleground of the 2020 campaign.
Why it matters: This is new in American politics, pushed by rising awareness of — and efforts to weaponize — the top 1%. At the same time, the left has more of a platform than ever, with liberal ideas dominating the primary so far, and Democrats now in control of the House.
- "Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, two left-leaning economists at the University of California, Berkeley, have been advising Warren on a proposal to levy a 2 percent wealth tax on Americans with assets above $50 million, as well as a 3 percent wealth tax on those who have more than $1 billion."
The backdrop: The economy is technically as strong today as it has been in years, particularly the labor market.
- But that's perhaps the problem: Many people see all these good numbers and wonder why they're still struggling so much economically, and what will happen when things turn south: "If this is the best case scenario ... uh-oh!”
- So this is a way for Democrats to harness economic anxiety, as Trump did on the other side in 2016.
Be smart: 2020 could be the first presidential campaign in our lifetimes in which "the rich” genuinely have something to fear from one of the final candidates.