Meyerson: The Two Emerging Types of Democratic Presidential Candidates

Labor News

Reprinted from The American Prospect by Harold Meyerson on February 21, 2019.

“It’s still way early in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, with a mere ten major candidates having entered the race while another half-dozen are still making up their minds,” writes Harold Meyerson in The American Prospect. “But it’s not too early to divide the field into two categories: The Yes-We-Can Democrats and the No-We-Can’t Democrats.

“Leading the Yes-We-Cansters are Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren—champions of policies that would bring some systemic change to the way America works. Identifying himself as a democratic socialist, Sanders has always supported more democratic and egalitarian alternatives to American capitalism, but those alternatives have never really gone beyond those adopted by European social democrats. Indeed, in his 2015 speech at Georgetown University, he illustrated his concept of democratic socialism by referencing the reforms put through by Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson—Social Security and Medicare—and the aspirations voiced by Martin Luther King Jr. Warren also points to Roosevelt as a model—the reformer who had to reform capitalism in order to save it—but her social democratic proposals, such as that for universal child care, which she unveiled earlier this week in California, as well as her tax plans are often as far-reaching as as Sanders’s. He calls himself a socialist and she calls herself a capitalist, but both fall well within the social democratic ambit. …

TAP 2/21

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About Jeffrey Burman 5303 Articles
Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at

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