Politicians, liberals and conservatives, claim to support all sorts of controversial ideas knowing full well they’ll never have to actually vote on any of them. Talk is cheap. Pandering to the base, especially when there are no consequences, is good for business – and the business a lot of politicians are in is the business of keeping their jobs and with a little luck moving up the ladder.
Before this political season is over several hundred Democrats may decide to run for president, most of them hailing from the progressive wing of the party. They know what their left wing supporters want and they’ll promise just about anything to win their vote.
But what happens if one of them actually gets elected? The things politicians say very often have absolutely nothing in common with what they would actually do.
So what if journalists asked the kind of questions that would force the presidential wannabes to state not just how they feel about this issue or that … but whether they would actually propose or actively support legislation to show off their progressive bona fides.
Here are a few questions journalists might want to ask their allies in the Democratic Party who are running for president. Some of the questions admittedly are provocative. But since we don’t know how far progressives would actually go if one of them were elected, asking provocative questions might shed some light on how far left they’d try to take America, both economically and culturally.
Here’s my list:
1. Like most decent Americans, you are against racism in all its ugly forms. To compensate black Americans for what they’ve historically gone through would you support legislation that would pay them reparations – say, $50,000 to every African American man, woman and child alive today?
2. If you oppose financial reparations, would you at least support giving African Americans another kind of restitution that wouldn’t cost taxpayers any money? Would you be willing to give every African American voter TWO votes in every presidential election instead of just one – again, to make up for past injustices?
3. You have repeatedly said women earn less than men for essentially the same kind of work.You’ve also said this has been a longstanding problem in this country. So, would you propose legislation if you become president that would require employers to pay women at least 10 percent more than men, for essentially the same work to try to even things out? If not, why not?
4. Do you think a baby, after it is actually delivered, regardless of his or her deformities, is a person with all the rights of any other person? If a late term abortion, for whatever reason, went awry and resulted in a live baby being delivered, do you think doctors and mothers should have the right to withhold treatment and let the baby die? Would you want laws to punish doctors who take active measures to end the baby’s life – if that’s what the mother wants? Should the mother face penalties too if she tells the doctor to end her baby’s life?
5. Would you propose legislation if you become president to make college tuition free at all public universities? How high would you be willing to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans to pay for “free” college and other social programs like “Medicare for all”?
6. Do you support open borders with our Central American neighbors? Would you propose legislation that would open our borders to anyone from Central America who wants to enter and stay in the United States?
7. Would you as president ask Congress to pass a law requiring employers to pay their workers a minimum wage of $15 an hour? How about $20 an hour?
8. Would you support a so-called guaranteed living wage for all Americans? If yes, how much would that wage be?
9. Would you propose or support legislation limiting the amount of money a corporate executive is allowed to make in any given year? If yes, how much is “enough” in your view?
10. If elected, will you actively support your fellow progressive Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” which includes a 10-year commitment to convert “100 percent of the power demand in the United States” to “clean, renewable and zero-emission energy sources.”? Are you on board with that part of the plan that calls for the massive expansion of high-speed rail so that most air travel would be rendered obsolete? Do you know how much the Green New Deal would cost American taxpayers?
One more thing about Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic Party’s newest shiny object: She wouldn’t run from any of these questions. She proudly calls herself a democratic socialist. She believes the United States needs a major overhaul. Let’s see if her fellow progressives, the ones who want to be president, share her passion to fundamentally change the country they want to lead.