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Delaney’s Presidential Bid Gets the George Will Treatment

Before the hordes of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates descend on Iowa and New Hampshire, the first out of the gate, Maryland Congressman John K. Delaney, wants people to remember that he’s already been to both states. A lot.

His candidacy rated an article in The New York Times recently, and he now can boast an admiring profile from conservative columnist George F. Will in The Washington Post. Will’s column, headlined “A Democrat who offers what he’s lived” in the dead tree edition and “Want to topple Trump? Take John Delaney seriously” online, spoke of Delaney’s rags-to-riches story, his reliance on a college scholarship from his electrician father’s union, and his relative moderation, temperamentally and philosophically.

Yes, Will, a proud informal adviser to President Reagan who famously left the Republican Party when President Trump became the White House nominee, now says nice things about Democrats occasionally. Of Delaney, Will wrote:

“He recognizes the obvious, that globalization has been ‘extraordinarily positive’ for billions more people than it has injured, but its American casualties are real and deserve government help. He speaks with the calm confidence of one who understands, as the man he hopes to displace does not, that the lungs are not the seat of wisdom. He checks various boxes that might mollify all but the most fastidious progressives: He likes early-childhood education, a carbon tax, a $15 minimum wage and extending the Social Security tax to higher incomes. He dislikes the National Rifle Association, the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, high interest rates on student loans and ‘outrageous’ drug prices. He would achieve ‘universal’ health care by offering Medicaid for all, and for those who choose to opt for private programs, as he thinks most people would, there would be federal subsidies for those who need them.

Will also credited Delaney with visiting all 99 Iowa counties already and boosting his profile in the first-caucus-in-the-nation state as a result. But he cautions that as a “white male businessperson, Delaney comes to bat with three strikes against him,” and worries that angry Democrats may be looking someone more left-wing and bombastic to run against President Trump.

“It is Delaney’s persona — think of a Joe Biden 20 years younger and half as prolix — that will distinguish him and seem either pleasingly adult or insufficiently carbonated when the prancing ponies from the U.S. Senate come cantering into Iowa,” Will wrote. “If the nomination scramble is a decibel competition, Delaney will lose — and the winning Democrat probably will lose in the November 2020 rendezvous with him who specializes in loud.”

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Delaney’s Presidential Bid Gets the George Will Treatment