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Op-Ed: Debate Field Reflects Dems’ Disdain for Business Success

Greg Orman

September 12, 2019

The 2020 Democrats again take the debate stage Thursday, filling millions of family rooms across America with their faces and voices. With the field of presidential contenders essentially cut in half, it will be a very different event than the previous two sessions. For the first time, all the front-runners will be on the stage the same evening. Pundits have already started to handicap the event and create the narratives that will invariably dominate the post-debate news coverage.

The composition of the field tells us a great deal about what Democrats value. The number of candidates on the stage who have ever run a business has fallen from four to one. The field is dominated by the three A’s – academics, attorneys, and activists.

The three White House aspirants with business experience who failed to make the cut -- John Hickenlooper, Michael Bennet, and John Delaney -- are too practical to make the big policy promises that capture the hearts of the liberal base of the Democratic Party. They comprehend the unintended consequences of these sweeping agendas and were unwilling to fully embrace them. They equivocated when it came to eliminating private health insurance, making college “free,” and imposing a new “wealth tax” on the richest Americans. Their reluctance to participate in this attack on the free market system rendered them irrelevant inside their own political party.  

This isn’t surprising. There appears to be a fundamental disdain for successful business people among Democrats. In 2016, Michael Bloomberg was greeted with chants of “one-percenter” as he stood up to support Hillary Clinton at the party’s convention. Howard Schultz was accused by Democrats of being a billionaire egomaniac – despite providing tens of thousands of jobs to returning soldiers, and health care, tuition reimbursement, and stock options to hundreds of thousands of employees. Some of the attacks on Schultz were...  Continue Reading.

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