Are 20 Democratic Candidates Ready to Play 20 Questions?

With 20 Democratic presidential candidates set to debate over the next two nights, here are 20 suggestions for the moderators:

  • Are you concerned that President Trump is undermining our constitutional institutions, flouting our political traditions and norms? As a follow-up, would you abolish the filibuster, expand the Supreme Court, scrap the Electoral College, or all of the above?
  • The Republican tax law limited the deduction for state and local taxes. Many Democrats want to lift that limit. The Joint Committee on Taxation has just reported that most of the benefits would go to households making more than one million dollars a year. Do you favor this tax cut for the rich?
  • Many progressives, including Senator Sanders, have lauded the economic policies of Sweden and Denmark. Are you pleased that the U.S. now has a corporate tax rate equivalent to theirs? Why do you suppose those countries discontinued wealth taxes of the sort that Senator Warren wants the U.S. to institute?
  • Do the rest of you agree with Senator Warren that Canadian and Dutchinvestors should be prohibited from buying farmland in the U.S.?
  • Would your Supreme Court nominees have to commit to voting in particular ways, such as to re-affirming Roe v. Wade? Are there rulings they would have to commit to voting to overturn, such as Citizens United on campaign finance or Heller on gun ownership?
  • Many Democrats have condemned the Trump administration for asserting executive privilege to block congressional oversight. Will you commit, as president, to refraining from asserting executive privilege against Congress?
  • Beto O’Rourke says getting rid of the citizenship exam for naturalization is “something for us to think about.” What do you think about it?
  • Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, your party’s leaders in Congress, have denied that there is a crisis at the southern border. Do you agree? Should Congress give the Executive Branch more funding to house detained migrants humanely while their cases are being considered? Do our asylum laws need to be changed to address mass migrations? If an asylum claim is rejected, as in most cases of migrants from the Northern Triangle of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, should migrants be allowed to stay in the U.S. or be deported?
  • Pelosi and Schumer have applauded the president for confronting China over its trade policies. Do you agree with them, and him? Was Trump right to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, or did that decision weaken America’s hand against China?
  • Joe Biden recently said that many U.S. doctors are prescribing opioids “willy nilly” and that patients should understand that “a little pain is not bad.” Opioid prescriptions have been falling rapidly over the last seven years and account for a smaller and smaller share of opioid-related deaths. Do the rest of you think that Biden’s understanding of this crisis is sufficiently up to date?
  • Should there be a Consumer Technology Protection Bureau to hold Google and Facebook accountable for data breaches and other abuses?
  • Will you promise, as president, never to tweet?
  • Is it a good thing or a bad thing that inflation has come in below the Federal Reserve’s targets over the last decade? Was the Fed right to raise interest rates in December? As president, would you comment publicly on such decisions? What will you be looking for in appointees to the Fed?
  • Many of you have proposed measures to lower the cost of college. Given that people with college degrees make significantly more money than people without them, is helping graduates the best use of public resources?
  • Consider two 30-year-olds, both with the same income and the same amount of student borrowing, but one of whom has repaid his loan. Would it be fair to that person for the federal government to pay off the other’s debt?
  • Most Americans think that having one parent stay home is best for young children. Should federal child-care policy help parents realize this goal, or should it encourage day care?
  • Should we be concerned about falling U.S. birthrates? Are there government policies that ought to be changed to make it easier to form and expand families?
  • In light of the #MeToo movement, should Al Franken have had to resign from the Senate?
  • Is there anyone on this stage who is not qualified to be president of the United States?
  • Has the presidency grown too powerful at the expense of Congress? If so, what would you, as president, do about it? Should the president’s power to declare national emergencies or raise tariffs, for example, be curtailed? Or should we just trust that, as president, you will always do the right thing?

Ramesh Ponnuru is a Bloomberg View columnist. He is a senior editor of National Review and the author of “The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life.” To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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