CHICAGO — Many Democrats — probably a majority — believe Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the perfect person to replace the aging Sen. Bernie Sanders as the party’s torch-bearer for progressive causes in 2020.
But nominating Warren would be a massive mistake for Democrats, and making her president would be even worse for America.
There’s no question Warren could win the ivory tower left-wing academics, alt-left media and progressive enclaves in states such as Vermont, Massachusetts, California and New York.
But her desire to centralize even more power in Washington, D.C., has little appeal throughout the rest of the country, including in regions important for Democrats to win in 2020.
To beat President Donald Trump in a general election, Warren would need to convince his Democratic-leaning voters in states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to reject Trump’s mostly pro-market economic views and embrace of American exceptionalism in favor of Warren’s leftist policies.
There are a number of reasons to believe this is unlikely to occur.
First, Trump’s economic policies are working. Over the past two quarters, GDP growth has topped 3 percent, something Barack Obama never achieved as president.
Further, since Trump won the election in November 2016, the unemployment rate has improved by 0.7 percentage points, and the economy has added more than 138,000 manufacturing jobs so far in 2017.
Compare that to Barack Obama’s last year in 2016, when the United States lost 16,000 manufacturing jobs.
Considering how vital manufacturing is in parts of the Midwest, these figures likely will be especially important for many of the region’s Democratic-leaning voters who backed Trump in 2016.
Trump’s economic successes are largely due to his support for the very same free-market principles Warren has long denounced and fought hard to reject.
For instance, Warren wants to implement additional regulations and taxes on businesses, imposing billions of dollars in costs on job-creating corporations and investors.
Warren also views Trump’s vigorous pro-energy policies as anathema.
Yet the nation’s energy sector, including the oil, natural gas, and coal industries are important to communities throughout the country, but especially in the Midwest.
Warren wants to block new pipelines and phase out cheap fossil fuels, replacing them with much more expensive forms of energy, such as solar and wind.
Solar and wind can’t survive without the huge and costly government subsidies they receive today. Her policy banks on forcing traditional forms of energy out of business. These policies would devastate many towns and cities in the Midwest, Great Plains and Southwest areas of the nation, as they did under Obama.
Warren also routinely advocates for expanding the behemoth national government and squashing state and individual rights.
Her embrace of radical economic redistributionist policies would force hard-working taxpayers to give even more of their money to others to pay for things like solar panels and free college tuition.
That’s most clearly revealed by the actions of her brainchild — the monstrous Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
CFPB’s stated purpose is to protect consumers from misleading and fraudulent activities by banks and other financial institutions.
But in reality it has stifled businesses that are essential for economic growth by imposing unnecessary and redundant costs, which inevitably get passed on to the public.
It’s reasonable to assume that if she were to be elected president, she’d support the creation of similar reckless government institutions — agencies most middle-of-the-road Democrats don’t want.
Warren’s socialist policies are totally out of touch with voters’ views, but this is particularly true in regions such as the Midwest, where Democrats must perform better in 2020 than they did in 2016 to have any hope of beating Trump.
To win back the White House, Democrats need to nominate moderate candidates for president and vice president.
Some may emerge as we get nearer to the 2020 election, but right now a Warren-Sanders ticket appears to be the best the party can offer voters.
Justin Hawkins is the executive editor of The Heartland Institute, a conservative think-tank based in the northern Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights. Readers may write him at Heartland, 3939 North Wilke Road, Arlington Heights, Ill 60004.