David Brooks: Democrats "Sometimes Talk As If They're Campaigning For Brooklyn"


PBS NEWSHOUR: Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s political news, including the first debates for 2020 Democratic candidates, whether that party has shifted too far to the left to be viable and Supreme Court decisions on partisan gerrymandering and including a citizenship question on the 2020 census.

JUDY WOODRUFF, PBS: So, David, whether it was Kamala Harris or Pete Buttigieg or we — lest we forget the first night, when we had Elizabeth Warren up there with the others.

Were there candidates who significantly help themselves in these debates?

DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I would say Warren and Harris would be the two.

What's interesting is, right now, the key fight is, who's going to be the progressive rival? Who's going to be the progressive — the face for the progressive side of the party? And Warren and Sanders and Harris are all vying for it.

I think Warren and Harris did particularly well. I have always thought Harris was going to be the most formidable progressive, just because her whole life going back to when she was a prosecutor, she's just a forceful arguer.

She says, I have been an eye for an enemy, and I know how to go after them. And that strikes me as right for the mood of a lot of progressive and a lot of Democrats. So I think they helped themselves.

What's interesting to me is, will there be a moderate reprisal? Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota should have come up and say, no, I don't think that our party should go there.

She should have pulled that punch. Michael Bennet from Colorado tried to do that. And then the final piece is Buttigieg, who seems to hover between the two camps.

And so I would say his path to the nomination, the way it looks today, is that the two camps get tired of fighting each other, and they need some sort of unity candidate, and Buttigieg could potentially be that kind of person...

I would say, across all issues, there's an insularity problem. They sometimes talk as if they're campaigning for Brooklyn. And so on a lot of issues, whether it's the economy, whether it's abortion, whether it's immigration, I don't think they're quite perceiving how a lot of people, even in Democratic House districts, are perceiving them and seeing them as something quite strange.

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