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What We've Learned From the Democratic Race -- So Far

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17.01.2020

Elections are a form of communication. Voting tells politicians, and the press if they're capable of getting the message, what citizens will tolerate and what they won't. The Democrats haven't voted yet, but they've been campaigning for more than a year and have just had their last debate before the Iowa caucuses two weeks from Monday.

That's time enough to learn some useful things from the majority of the two dozen-plus declared candidates who have already dropped out and from those still in the race.

The first thing we've learned is that voters -- Democratic voters -- have a limited appetite for free stuff. Many candidates have been promising free college and free health care, and offering free Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

Sounds good at first, as when Sen. Elizabeth Warren backed Sen. Bernie Sanders' "Medicare for All" proposal. But the refusal of the I-have-a-plan-for-that candidate to say how she'd pay for it didn't fly. And when she did answer that question, that flopped, too, and she fell back on saying it would be delayed till her second two years or second term.

The second thing we've learned is related: As blogger Glenn Reynolds puts it, "Go woke, go broke." Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Sen. Kamala Harris, former Secretary........

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