Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid broke his silence on the 2020 Democratic primary. He's begging the frontrunners to put the brakes on some terrible ideas, namely Medicare for All and decriminalizing illegal border crossings. Those, he told Vice News, are both problematic. Not just for the candidates promoting them, but for the party at large.
Medicare for All supporters like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris admit that their plan would kick millions off of their private insurance plans. Instead of doing that, Reid indirectly endorsed Joe Biden's plan to build upon Obamacare.
In a half-hour phone conversation with VICE News, Reid was blunt when asked if he thought supporting Medicare for All would be problematic in the 2020 general election.
“Of course it would be,” he said. “How are you going to get it passed?”
“I think that we should focus on improving Obamacare. We can do that — without bringing something that would be much harder to sell,” he said when asked his thoughts on the debate over whether Democrats should pursue Medicare for All or a more modest Obamacare expansion. “Improving Obamacare: People understand that. They would appreciate that. It locks in many important things.” (Vice News)
Other 2020 Democrats like Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet see the danger of Medicare for All, and confronted its proponents about it at last month's debates.
"It doesn't make any sense for us to take health care away from half the people in this room and put huge taxes on everybody in this room," he said, after calling Sen. Harris's plan "illegal."
Harris, in return, painted him and any opponent who isn't for Medicare for All as a Republican.
"We cannot keep with the Republican talking points on this," she said. "You've got to stop."
Biden blasted Harris's remark as "a bunch of malarkey."
As for former HUD Secretary Julian Castro's idea to decriminalize illegal border crossings and turn it into a "civil offense," which other Democrats have endorsed, Reid again told the candidates to keep walking.
"There are so many more important things to do," Reid explained. "Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list. It should be way, way down at the bottom of the list."