Democratic presidential contender Julian Castro launched his campaign by pledging support for “Medicare for All,” free universal preschool, a large public investment in renewable energy and two years of free college for all Americans.
That wasn’t enough for some of his party’s most liberal members.
Critics on social media quickly knocked Castro’s plan to provide only two years of free higher education — instead of four — as “half measures,” ?scraps” and “corporate Dem doublespeak.” Aware of the backlash, the former Obama administration Cabinet member clarified his position in an interview days later.
“At least the first two years of college or university or apprenticeship program should be tuition free — and preferably four years,” Castro told The Associated Press. “We’re going to work toward that.”
Welcome to the 2020 presidential primary. Almost no policy is too liberal for Democrats fighting to win over their party’s base, which is demanding a presidential nominee dedicated to pursuing bold action on America’s most pressing challenges.
Among two dozen possible candidates, virtually all have embraced universal health care in one form or another. Some have rallied behind free college, job guarantee programs, a $15 minimum hourly wage and abolishing — or at least reconstituting — the federal agency that enforces immigration laws. While few have outlined detailed proposals to fund their priorities, most would generate new revenue by taxing the rich.
They say a democracy is a bidding war with other people’s money. Looks like 2020 might be epic.