Opinion | Does It Matter Who the Democrats Choose?  – By Paul Krugman – The New York Times


Opinion Columnist

Credit…Ivan Alvarado/Reuters

At this point, the Democratic presidential nomination is very much up in the air. Not only is it unclear who will be the nominee; it’s unclear whether the nominee will be a centrist like Joe Biden or Amy Klobuchar, or a representative of the party’s left like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. Whoever wins, there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the other side.

So I’d like to offer an opinion that will probably anger everyone: In terms of actual policy, it probably doesn’t matter much who the Democrats nominate — as long as he or she wins, and Democrats take the Senate too.

If you’re a centrist worried about the gigantic spending increases Sanders has proposed, calm down, because they won’t happen. If you’re a progressive worried that Biden might govern like a Republican, you should also calm down, because he wouldn’t.

In practice, any Democrat would probably preside over a significant increase in taxes on the wealthy and a significant but not huge expansion of the social safety net. Given a Democratic victory, a much-enhanced version of Obamacare would almost certainly be enacted; Medicare for All, not so much. Given a Democratic victory, Social Security and Medicare would be protected and expanded; Paul Ryan-type cuts wouldn’t be on the table.