Delaney (D) Booed by California Democrats After Criticizing Medicare for All

John Delaney (Photo by Josh Edelson / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
June 2, 2019

Progressive activists at the California Democratic Party convention booed presidential candidate John Delaney after he criticized Medicare for All during a speech Sunday afternoon.

"Medicare for all may sound good but it's actually not good policy nor is it good politics," Delaney, a former U.S. Representative from Maryland, said during his speech.

The audience quickly jeered and booed, interrupting Delaney's speech.

"We should have universal healthcare," Delaney exclaimed four times in a row in an attempt to reclaim the support of those in attendance.

As the audience quieted down, Delaney returned to his speech telling the convention-goers, "we can have universal healthcare but it shouldn't be a kind of healthcare that kicks 150 million Americans off their healthcare. That's not smart policy."

Again the audience responded to Delaney's critique of the healthcare policy, endorsed by Democratic presidential candidates such as Sens. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), with shouts and boos.

Delaney was one of 14 Democratic presidential candidates to appear at the convention in San Francisco. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who leads most national and state polls, was absent from the convention but phoned the active state party chair ahead of the weekend to express his regrets for being unable to attend.

Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper also experienced taunts from the audience this weekend when he denounced socialism in his Saturday afternoon speech.

"If we want to beat Donald Trump and achieve big progressive goals, socialism is not the answer," Hickenlooper said to boos from the audience.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), an advocate for Medicare for All, expressed her displeasure with Delaney's criticism in a tweet Sunday afternoon asking the former Maryland Congressman to "sashay away" and end his campaign.

Delaney represented Maryland's 6th Congressional District for three terms from 2013 to 2019. He chose to not run for re-election in 2018 and instead announced he would mount a bid for the presidential nomination, but he's made little headway in polling or fundraising.

The weekend brought together nearly 4,000 state party activists and progressive speakers with the increased significance of the state's primary as the election has been moved up to earlier in the primary schedule. Voters can begin mailing in ballots on the day of the Iowa caucuses, February 3, with the election occurring a month later on March 3.