Friedman: KF2, that is my impression as well. Democrats won the House back in 2018 by persuading independents, moderate Republicans and suburban women who decided in 2016 to give Trump a chance to dump him in the midterm and vote Democratic. Democrats need to hold those people in the 2020 general election, and to do that they need a candidate those voters can trust and who they feel respects them — even if they have more liberal ideas on some subjects. We cannot tolerate four more years of Trump. It will be a disaster for our norms, our national unity and our institutions, especially the Supreme Court.

Sasham, California: The “left” you speak of so disparagingly is the Green Party, not the Democratic Party. And health care is costing you so much because the Republicans refuse to allow common-sense measures to be discussed. Instead of multiple companies in the insurance exchanges, many of us only have one or two because of the instability produced every time the G.O.P. tries to make the Affordable Care Act illegal. What company wants to invest in that lottery? And if health care is so precious to you, why can’t you see that access to it is a human right?


Friedman conflates political leaders with the way our economic system works. Leaders can listen and be open to adjusting their policies, but nothing much will get done until the wealthy, corporations, lobbies, investment firms, etc., are required to be fair, pay their taxes and stop interfering unduly in the political process.

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Some of the candidates are broadcasting that fact and saying that we don’t simply need some good voting, we need people to vote and then to follow up with demands that their interests be defended and promoted. Bernie Sanders calls that a revolution. Poor choice of words, perhaps, but what he is saying is that we need more than a Democratic majority in Congress and a Democratic president. We need the Democrats to go beyond asking the wealthy to be a little more philanthropic or to pay a little more in taxes. Asking them for such things accepts that it is their choice. It is our choice. Our institutions and regulations need overhaul and Congress has to learn how to be the people’s representatives instead of fund-raising lackeys to the wealthy. Just Thinkin, Texas

Friedman: I have a lot of respect for Bernie Sanders. I would not vote for him, but I think he is smart, sincere and has his heart in the right place. I don’t agree with a lot of his proposals, but if he can get a majority behind them I will do my best to get the most out of his ideas and cushion the worst.

But no one is entitled to have his ideas triumph. You’ve got to win with the voters. Good ideas (or bad ones, alas) scale only when they have power behind them.

Just Thinkin: Tom, we should support a winning candidate, but that is only the beginning. Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are getting the discussion going. They have not found the solutions, but these discussions can lead to some. Ignore them as potential candidates, fine. But help develop their ideas; counter them, amend them — keep the ball rolling.

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