The early boom for 2020 Democrats' left turn is yielding to moderate muscle as Elizabeth Warren falls, Joe Biden persists and Pete Buttigieg rises.
- What's happening: Poll after poll shows voters like the idea of Medicare for All. But the second you tell them about costs and tradeoffs, they turn on it.
- Why it matters: A harsh spotlight on Warren's specifics collided with Mike Bloomberg's massive spending on a moderate message, as well as rising angst among donors and investors about risks of Warren-Sanders socialism.
Warren's collapse in the national Quinnipiac University poll isn't the only sign of trouble for the Medicare for All message, Margaret Talev and David Nather write:
- Sen. Kamala Harris realized she could be checkmating herself by dismissing private health insurance — which is why she changed her Medicare for All plan to allow private insurers to offer Medicare plans.
- And in an interview for "Axios on HBO," she told Talev that she knew there could be a political price to pay for changing her plan — but says she told her team: "We need to do a better plan. This is not good enough."
Between the lines: There's a reason Medicare for All has dominated every health care discussion at every debate: It's a real problem for the liberal candidates.
- Not just because of the cost, but because few swing voters want to dump private health insurance.
By the numbers: Medicare for All is a favorite among Democrats who are fed up with private insurance — but it's not a winner with swing voters.
- Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation, writes for Axios that recent polling by Kaiser and the Cook Political Report found that 62% of Democrats in four battleground states — Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin — said a Medicare for All plan that eliminates private insurance is a good idea.
- But 62% of swing voters in those states said it’s a bad idea.
Our thought bubble: 2020 Dems could also be miscalculating the broad appeal of other liberal stands, including free college and decriminalizing border crossings.