Setting the tone

The first question posed at last night’s Democratic debate came from Savannah Guthrie. It was about the economy.

Guthrie prefaced the question by noting that the vast majority of Americans think the economy is strong, and even a majority of Democrats hold that view. In light of this fact, Guthrie wanted to know whether it made sense to disrupt things with big spending programs like free college for all.

Guthrie put the question to Elizabeth Warren. She responded with rhetoric, presumably from a stump speech, about how the economy is great if you’re part of the select few. If you’re not, the economy isn’t doing well for you.

Every other Democratic candidate on stage who followed up on the subject said almost exactly the same thing.

But if the economy is working only for the uppermost crust, why are most Americans, and indeed most Democrats, satisfied with it? Are most Americans, and most Democrats, too stupid to know how they are faring economically?

Warren and the others never answered these questions. Nor did they dispute the facts Guthrie presented in the preface to her question. They simply ignored them.

This set the tone for the rest of the evening. The responsiveness and candor of the candidates did not improve.

I don’t discount the possibility that the Democrats can defeat President Trump next year. But assuming the economy stays roughly where it is (or improves), the Dems are going to look stupid if they keep claiming that it’s working only for the elite.