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So much pessimism among Dem candidates

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders [AP Photo]
Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders [AP Photo]

It’s the norm in presidential politics for the person or persons seeking the office to attack the person who holds it. But have we ever witnessed so much badmouthing of the country as has been on display during the Democratic race?

This was in evidence among the candidates at last week’s debate in Las Vegas, just as it has been from the outset. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are the worst offenders, although they have plenty of company.

For Sanders, pharmaceutical companies are “corrupt” and “greedy.” So too are the wealthy. “We have a grotesque and immoral distribution of wealth and income,” said the millionaire with three houses.

The fracking revolution has helped to make the United States a net exporter of petroleum for the first time in about 70 years, it’s the source of hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs. These are good things. But not to Warren and Sanders in particular, who want the practice abolished and want energy industry executives punished. Warren wants to end new drilling and mining on public lands.

As she put it in Las Vegas, a major impediment to getting climate-related legislation through Congress is “corruption, an industry that makes its money felt all through Washington.”

Amid this revolution, U.S. emissions of CO2 have declined, yet climate change is “the existential threat humanity faces,” as former Vice President Joe Biden put it, and so this country must turn its practices on their head.

The economy is strong, with record low unemployment among blacks and Hispanics. Biden’s view, however, is that “the American people, the middle class, is getting killed … no matter what people say about this economy.”

Pete Buttigieg says the American dream “is in serious, serious decline” and he holds up Denmark as the ideal. That might surprise the millions of people each year from around the world who seek to come to the United States for a better life than what’s available in their homeland.

At an earlier debate, Warren said Americans “are sick of living in a country” that is working “great for corporate executives, it’s just not working for everyone else.”

Throughout the campaign, the candidates have assailed police for what they say is inherent racism. After an officer-involved shooting in South Bend, Indiana, when he was still mayor, Buttigieg said mistrust in the city had built up “one racist act at a time.” Sanders doesn't stop there. "We have a racist society from top to bottom, impacting healthcare, housing, criminal justice, education, you name it," he said earlier this month.

In Las Vegas, he complained of having “half a million people sleeping out on the street … kids who cannot afford to go to college … 45 million people dealing with student debt.”

“We have enormous problems facing this country,” Sanders said.

Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel wrote Friday that few of the candidates are willing to set themselves apart on policy. “This field isn’t lacking in progressives; it’s lacking courage,” she wrote. And in optimism about the country they wish to lead.

The Oklahoman Editorial Board

The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Kelly Dyer Fry, Publisher, Editor and Vice President of News; Owen Canfield, Opinion Editor; and Ray Carter, Chief Editorial Writer.. To submit a letter to the editor, go to this page or email... Read more ›