WaPo: Sanders, Warren's Ideas Lack 'Factual Plausibility'

'The next president should have a vision of progress... grounded in mathematical and political reality'

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders / Getty Images
August 2, 2019

The Washington Post editorial board took aim at 2020 Democratic presidential candidates Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Ma.) for pushing policies the editors consider implausible or wrongheaded.

"Why go to the trouble of running for president to promote ideas that can't work?" was the headline of the Post editorial, a play one of Warren's applause lines from Tuesday's presidential debate. Warren told a fellow candidate, former representative John Delaney (D., Md.), she doesn't "understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for."

The Post also took a jab at Sanders's line that "I get a little bit tired of Democrats afraid of big ideas."

"This got us thinking about some big ideas in U.S history," the editorial board snarked. "Like, say, amending the Constitution to outlaw liquor. Or sending half a million troops into Vietnam. Or passing a $1.5 trillion tax cut for the wealthy in a time of massive deficits."

The Democratic presidential candidate's platform should have a "baseline degree of factual plausibility," the board wrote, "a bar that, for example, the Medicare-for-all plan that Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren favor does not clear."

The Post sided with Delaney, who during the debate argued that Warren and Sanders were not being honest about the cost of Medicare for All. "The road that Senator Sanders and Senator Warren want to take us [is] bad policies like Medicare for All, free everything and impossible promises that will turn off independent voters and get Trump re-elected," he insisted.

"The senators cannot deliver a system that provides far more benefits than other single-payer systems they claim as their model while preserving the level of care and access that insured Americans currently enjoy. They should make the case for a government monopoly on health care if they want, but they should be honest about the trade-offs," the Post agreed.

"The next president should have a vision of progress for the nation that is expansive and inspiring. It also should be grounded in mathematical and political reality," they concluded.