It's only January of the traditional "off-year" and the presidential election season is already underway. With so many Democrats looking to challenge President Trump in 2020, how can they possibly distinguish themselves? The answer looks to be: By being lefter.
Government today is involved in virtually every aspect of our lives and represents nearly 36 percent of the economy in spending. Who gets all those government spoils and who is in charge of handing them out has been the object of over $6 billion in election spending the last two cycles. With such high stakes, the age of the permanent election cycle is here and now - and the 2020 presidential election will undoubtedly set new spending records.
And in what is expected to be a crowded race for the Democratic nomination, how left can they go?
On the government spending side, recently announced candidate Kamala Harris last year proposed a refundable tax credit that would match up to $3,000 of earnings for single people and $6,000 for married couples. Presumed candidate Cory Booker proposed just days later the creation of taxpayer-funded "opportunity accounts" for the nation's children, which could grow to about $46,000 per child by the time they turn 18.
Not to be left behind, likely candidate and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently said of all the Democrat candidates, "We all support Medicare for all." The we, of course, only refers to the candidates. Polling shows that if "Medicare for all" means outlawing private insurance, public support for the idea plummets.
As for taxing your money, the Democratic contenders (and potentials) appear to be in unison on this front as well. None of them supported the Trump tax reform, and all of them want to undo it.
Elizabeth Warren quickly recognized being among the pack for tax increases won't be enough. So she has now proposed a "wealth tax" which appears to be a tax on assets (that were gained, of course, from income that was already taxed) and promises to punish those who seek to evade it by leaving the country.
Who will top the Warren wealth tax? Given it's only January, it is likely someone will -- it's just a matter of time.
As for being on notice, the American people qualify for that. Regardless of how then-candidate Trump campaigned in 2016, he has governed rather conservatively on issues like tax reform, deregulation and the courts. If the current trends hold, the Democratic nominee will be leagues to the left of Trump on all of these issues.
Thomas G. Del Beccaro is the author of The Divided Era.