Who does Elizabeth Warren admire
Democratic presidential candidates"Elizabeth Warren has better chances than Joe Biden"
Jörg Münchenberg: Today ends an important deadline for the US Democrats for the presidential election. As is well known, the aim is to beat Donald Trump in November 2020. But how this can be done is still unclear, because so far there has been no clear line among the Democrats. It's more against each other than against Trump. In addition, the field of applicants is still quite impressive, although some candidates have now dropped out due to lack of chances.
Political scientist Michael Werz from the think tank Center for American Progress, which in turn is close to the US Democrats, is on the phone. Mr. Werz, good morning!
Michael Werz: Good morning, Mr. Münchenberg.
Already strong consolidation around the top four people
Münchenberg: Mr Werz, we have just heard: the field of applicants is still quite confusing. Over 20 candidates are still in the running. That will probably change today. How soon do you expect there will be a clear candidate? Or will it all drag on for quite a while in the end?
(imago images | Zuma Press | Shealah Craighead) Who has the best chance against Trump?
Joe Biden still leads the polls with 30 percent of the last 21 Democratic presidential candidates. For second and third place, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders compete neck and neck with values between 15 and 20 percent. Of all the other candidates, only African American Senator Kamala Harris and small town mayor Pete Buttigieg make it into the top five.
Werz: No. The decision on the candidate who will lead the Democratic Party in the election campaign, in the presidential election, will take a long time. We are still several months from the first primaries, which will take place in the first week of February in New Hampshire and Iowa. But in view of the large number of candidates, one must not be fooled into the fact that right at the beginning of the dispute there was already a relatively strong consolidation around the top four people that your colleague just mentioned, and not much has changed in this regard in the past few months. The large number of candidates was necessary because the Democratic Party was also going through a process of re-consolidation and realignment, initiated by the discussion between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders three years ago, and that required a certain amount of public discussion, and that is what happened represented in the multitude of votes of the candidates.
"Elizabeth Warren has a better chance here"
Münchenberg: Joe Biden, to single out one, Vice President under Barack Obama, is still clearly ahead in the polls. In your opinion, can he then most likely hope for the nomination? Or to put it another way: Who is the fiercest competitor for Biden?
Werz: I think that is still speculation at the moment because we are still in a very early phase. As a rule, people don't start to deal more intensively with the candidates until Labor Day, in the second week of September, when summer is over and things are back to normal. Hence, these early polls should be treated with great caution. You have to keep reminding: the nomination of the candidate will not take place until mid-June next year in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In this respect, this is a very early procedure this year with a large number of applicants, which of course also means that the survey figures should be treated with caution.
Most Prominent and Politically Experienced Democratic Candidate: Joe BidenJoe Biden (AP)
Joe Biden is still relatively strong in the race. That has to do with the fact that he is a personable guy and relatively well known. But one also has to realize that he stands for a political position that tends to focus back on his own political biography and on the achievements of past years. Personally, I doubt whether that is sufficient in a situation in which the mood is again set to change and change, and I think that Elizabeth Warren does indeed have a better chance here.
Münchenberg: Then we are actually already with the strategy. It has to be said that the Democrats have yet to explain how to attack Trump. Is that the Democrats' greatest weakness, or is it more of a problem in the primary campaign?
Werz: No, this is not a weakness, it has to do with two things. On the one hand with the extraordinary situation we are in at the moment in the United States: with a president who breaks all political, democratic and constitutional taboos that can be brought about and uttered a record 12,000 lies in the last 940 days in office Has. This creates a situation that is difficult to deal with.
On the other hand, the Democratic Party is also in the process of aligning itself in a new social-liberal direction. That is a definite change. This process requires internal self-understanding, which is expressed through the large number of democratic candidates, but also through the intense debates on key issues such as social security, education and health reform. It's a completely normal process.
Election in June 2020 will be an “either-or” option
Münchenberg: But, Mr Werz, in the televised duels that have already taken place, the candidates tended to attack each other and not against Trump. Doesn't that weaken the Democrats anyway?
Werz: I think that shouldn't be overstated. Of course there is an elimination competition within the party. That is also carried out with severity. It is also about fundamental decisions about how the party aligns itself. This is important for formulating a clear position in the coming year. But one can assume that on the day, at the hour and in the minute when there is a Democratic presidential candidate, all of this will be forgotten because there will be a polarizing argument with Donald Trump where the Democrats will not You will be wrong to say that this is an election of the century that is about the direction of the United States, society, the way Americans live with one another and relate to the world. This election can only be conducted as an either / or choice and I am sure that on June 16 next year all of these discussions we are having today will be forgotten in a very short time.
"Democrats are in a process of finding"
Münchenberg: Mr Werz, you said that the Democrats are currently in a kind of discovery process. Nevertheless, there is a great concern that you will slide too far to the left. Some candidates are demanding, for example, the abolition of private health insurance or that illegal border crossings should be decriminalized. According to surveys, there is clearly no support for this in US society. How big is the risk of going too far to the left at the end and thus losing sight of the center?
Werz: That is a certain risk. But one must not take these discussions word for word either, it is still a process of finding that will certainly lead to compromises at the Democratic Party Congress, when it comes to the choice of candidates. The mood in the United States is that people want change in major socio-political areas, whether it's about climate, social security, health insurance issues, or the immense costs of the education system. The fact that some candidates have now called for illegal border crossings to be decriminalized has less to do with someone wanting to open the gates and invite everyone to the US, but rather with a completely catastrophic, inhuman and constitutional border regime under the Trump -Government has been established on the US-Mexico border. These are responses to the tough struggles within American society that we are currently seeing.
In Ciudad Juarez, activists show photos of children who have died trying to cross the US-Mexico border. (Mario Tama / Getty Images News / Getty Images)
If the discussion is conducted in the way that the conservatives do, who say this is a Venezuelan socialism event, then one must remember that, especially in comparison with European politics itself, the positions of the self-declared democratic socialists like Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York that they are actually part of mainstream European conservatism. They say nothing more than the fact that you should be able to study for free in public schools and universities, that it makes sense that all citizens are covered by health insurance and that you have to regulate the financial sector to a certain extent, so God knows no social revolutionary positions.
Münchenberg: But again: there are already very critical observers who say that there is a danger that Democrats like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren will end up going too far and making excessive demands.
Werz: Yes! I think the discussion has to be conducted. The question is rather whether there is still the old left-right split in the political spectrum, this horizontal interpretation of the party system, where they say there are left, there are rights and you win the elections in the middle, or whether we do not meanwhile have to do with a second dimension that does not exclude the first, but is also important, namely the question of who represents a heterogeneous, multicultural, pluralistic society in which women have equal rights against those who Strengthen ethno-nationalist and right-wing positions. I think this second axis also plays a role. This means that it is no longer just a matter of occupying the political center, but also of signaling that we still have plans for American society and that we are in a position to lead it into the future. Elizabeth Warren's very specific political position papers and proposals are quite a few that have fueled the discussion in a way that is very interesting and has also gotten a lot of people into quite complex political issues. I wouldn't brush that off the table too quickly; the process will develop for another six months. And in January or February, when the primaries really start, you will hear clearer and more resilient political positions from the candidates.
Münchenberg: Mr Werz, a quick look ahead. Trump is already covering the Democrats with scorn and ridicule. For example, he mocked Elizabeth Warren as Pocahontas for talking about Indian ancestors. Your forecast: how dirty will this election campaign be at the end of next year?
Werz: The election campaign will be a tremendously tough battle. This has to do with the fact that both the President and many of his family members know, if they lose the immunity of their offices, that they are in serious legal trouble because of the actions they have taken over the past few months Years. The strategy of using misogynistic titles on Elizabeth Warren in particular is not going to work. But on the contrary! I think many American women are finally fed up with the fact that the president makes fun of political opponents, whether they are Danish government officials or political opponents in their own country, permanently downplaying them and naming them and ridiculing them . This is a strategy that may resonate with a few of his tough supporters, but if the last mid-term elections last year, in November, are an indicator, it will increasingly deter women from the conservative spectrum as well, and that will be a strategy for him, that will certainly backfire.
Statements by our interlocutors reflect their own views. Deutschlandfunk does not adopt statements made by its interlocutors in interviews and discussions as its own.
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