As Democratic Party voters have moved left, so have the prospective 2020 Democratic presidential nominees. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who once criticized Barack Obama for being too harsh on private equity firms, is now proposing massive new taxes on inheritance and capital gains in order to finance a large-scale reduction in wealth inequality. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) confesses she is “embarrassed” by her past fearmongering about immigrants, now aligning with the movement to abolish ICE.
Voters will face a difficult question: If all or most of the Democratic candidates endorse a progressive agenda, who can actually be trusted to fight for that agenda once in office? Every politician makes promises. We know, however, that many will disappoint. Once in office, a president will have to resist pressure coming from many powerful interest groups. Without access to the candidate’s inner psychology, it’s tough to know which promises they’re committed to fulfilling.
One obvious clue as to what a person would do as president: their record. Have they spent their lives fighting for the causes they say they believe in? Or do they seem to shift positions depending on which way they perceive the political wind to be blowing?
In selecting candidates for the most powerful office on Earth, records should be treated as a resume. We can’t just look at their “job interviews” – speeches and platforms. We have to examine what they’ve actually spent.