The New York Times reported on Friday that a number of Democrat governors “are alarmed that their party’s presidential candidates are embracing policies they see as unrealistic and politically risky,” particularly with their embrace of Medicare-for-all.
“I don’t think that’s good policy or good politics,” said Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island, the chair of the Democratic Governors Association.
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“I think it scares people,” added Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico.
The comments represent a striking rebuke of the direction the Democratic primary is headed, as progressive candidates have pulled the field to the left at a moment when President Trump and Republicans are eager to paint them as extreme.
The 2020 Democrats’ embrace of open borders was also alarming for these Democrat governors. “That just scares too many people who don’t know anything about immigration,” said Governor Grisham.
This is not the first warning 2020 Democrats have received about their extreme positions. Former Obama administrations officials are also not comfortable with the messaging coming from their party’s candidates. Obama’s former DHS secretary Jeh Johnson wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post earlier this month warning Democrats that “Abolish ICE” is not a serious policy proposal. “Demanding the abolition of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency also provides President Trump with a useful weapon for bludgeoning Democrats politically. He has said as much, and a good portion of the American public will listen to him.”
Johnson is not alone. A number of former Obama officials have gone on the record with similar warnings. Will any of the candidates listen? Probably not. Joe Biden was essentially bullied into shifting further left by freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, so it’s obvious that Democrats are too focused on appealing to the extreme base of the party than the electorate at large.
Matt Margolis is the author of the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy, will be published on July 30, 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis