by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Democratic presidential candidates unveiled a new line of defense against criticisms of their sweeping policy proposals during this week’s CNN debates.
The candidates swept aside any questions about the potential cost or relative lack of realism of their plans by crying that the debate moderators or their opponents were unfairly using “Republican talking points.”
The phrase was uttered by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, and former Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro during the two night debate, each time to avoid defending their radical policies or to accuse their opponents of not being progressive enough.
Sanders started the trend during Tuesday’s night debate, wherein he alleged that CNN anchor Jake Tapper was using a “Republican talking point” by inquiring about the tax hikes on the middle class required by his Medicare-for-all plan. …
… Sanders has openly admitted in the past that he will have to raise taxes on the middle class to pay for his approximately $30 trillion health care plan, which he also says will cover illegal immigrants.
Other candidates used Sanders’ tactic during the second night of the debate, apparently viewing it as an effective means to squirm out of answering any difficult questions about their proposals.
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet suggested Wednesday that Sen. Harris was being dishonest by claiming that her own health care plan would not eliminate employer-based private insurance, stating, “We need to be honest about what’s in this plan. It bans employer-based insurance and taxes the middle class to the tune of $30 trillion.”
Harris immediately replied, “He — we cannot keep with the Republican talking points on this.”