Warren Faces Pushback From CNN Panel Over Policy Promises

'I have questions about the viability of some of the proposals' said one former Obama advisor

July 31, 2019

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) faced strong pushback on her growing list of policy proposals from David Axelrod, Van Jones, and other CNN analysts during a post-debate appearance on the network early Wednesday morning. 

During Tuesday's debate, Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) countered attacks from more moderate Democratic candidates over their support for Medicare for All, student loan debt cancellation, and government health care for illegal immigrants. 

After the debate, Warren joined CNN to discuss her debate performance and received criticism from notable Democrats including former president Obama's senior advisor David Axelrod, who praised Warren's performance but suggested some of her promises may be unpopular with general election voters. 

"I have questions about the viability of some of the proposals," Axelrod said, calling Sanders’s Medicare for All "a political liability." 

Axelrod also questioned the legal viability of Warren's wealth tax. 

"If it's something the majority of the people want, why shouldn't it happen?" Warren responded. 

Van Jones, who also served as an advisor to President Obama, echoing Axelrod's constitutional concerns over the senator's proposed wealth tax. 

"The constitution may or may not allow for this. It's just not constitutional," Jones said, interrupting Warren. 

Several constitutional law scholars suggested to the Washington Free Beacon a wealth tax would most likely face significant legal challenges. Washington Post editorial board earlier this year warned such a tax "might backfire." 

Warren, a former law professor herself, assured Jones she had discussed her wealth tax proposal with constitutional scholars and was "confident" it would pass constitutional muster. She compared its implementation to how property taxes are enforced.  

The conversation shifted to Warren's Medicare for All proposal which would eliminate private insurance and force all Americans towards government-sponsored insurance. 

Jones said he thought Warren's response to kicking people off insurance they like as having "left some people cold."

"If you tell people I'll force you into a government system they may rebel," Jones said. "Even people that like it. I don't know how you sell that."

Axelrod asked about other Warren proposals that are not supported by a majority of American people. 

"What about when people don't support it? A large majority of people don't support this idea. They don't support decriminalizing the border," Axelrod said throwing cold water on some of her signature campaign proposals. "You make a very powerful argument for them but they are not supported by the majority of people." 

Warren replied she would build a movement to gain support and reminded Axelrod that President Obama's Affordable Care Act passed despite not having the majority support of American people. 

Rounding out the segment, CNN host John King mentioned the 1988 presidential campaign of another Massachusetts politician, Michael Dukakis, who promised a plethora of progressive policies but lost 40 states in the general election. 

"What convinces you that with the human chain saw president we have now, that says you are all socialist, that you can sell all of this in one national election?" King asked before listing the examples of the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and healthcare for illegal immigrants. 

Warren said she would use the general election to argue billionaires and large corporations have undue influence over the federal government and pledged to "go after the corruption head on."

The second CNN hosted Democratic debate will occur Wednesday night and feature the other half of Democratic frontrunners such as former vice president Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris (Calif.).