The Democratic Candidate with an Original Idea Could Win in 2020
As we approach the 2020 election a plethora of Democratic candidates are launching their campaigns to challenge President Trump. Many have tried to paint themselves as relatable to win the millennial vote. However, constituents have become so focussed on how these candidates portray themselves that they have begun to support policies based on how they are presented.
This is apparent in how candidates (and non-candidates) have proposed their Ultra-Wealth Tax. Senator Elizabeth Warren has suggested taxing households with a net worth above $50 million 2% on every dollar above $50 million, and households with a $1 billion net worth 3% on every dollar above that number. This sounds pretty reasonable, right? Especially in contrast to Representative Ocasio-Cortez who is proposing a 70% income tax bracket. But in reality, Ocasio-Cortez's bill doesn't take as much money from the wealthy because it just taxes income, and most wealthy people don't have a high enough income to be in that bracket- they make most of their money through capital gains such as stocks, real estate, and other appreciable assets. Consequently, Ocasio-Cortez's policy is really far less radical, making only 4% more federal tax money, while Warren's policy will take over 20% more in taxes. Still, Warren's approval rate is 28% higher, and there is a general consensus that she is less "radical."
This warped perception is also seen with fairly new candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg. In interviews, Buttigieg portrays plans as favorable that people previously saw as radical, without changing a thing about them. On the Late Show, he created a new perception of the Green New Deal, describing it as a "goal" that "recognizes economic opportunity." This ignores that the plan is proposing upgrading or replacing every one of 142.6 million buildings in the United States. Even though the majority of voters of both parties oppose major parts of this plan, candidates who can portray it favorably have not lost votes. Their support bases have been contingent on how gracefully they present often unreasonable policies.
In this election it will be important for voters to look past good presentation of extreme policies. This is a vital first step to elect a candidate who can come up with original ideas that garner bipartisan support and close the wealth gap.