Smart Ideas: Toward a New Democratic Foreign Policy

Plus: Democratic primary should employ ranked-choice voting.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks at the American University Washington College of Law on Nov. 29, on her foreign policy vision for the country.
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
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Dec. 4, 2018, 8 p.m.

What will be the Democrats’ 2020 foreign policy?

Ryan Cooper, writing for The Week

Foreign policy dominated the 2004 and 2008 Democratic primaries, but it “has largely fallen by the wayside” as the war in Afghanistan drags on. President Trump’s handling of international relations raises the question of whether “the next Democratic nominee [will] develop an alternative foreign policy to the neocon-lite imperialism that has dominated the party for over a decade.” Bernie Sanders is positioning himself as “the candidate of peace, restraint, and calm international relations,” while Elizabeth Warren, in a speech last week, “outlined a foreign policy that would overhaul the broken international trade regime, wind down the war in Afghanistan, and stand up to the alliance of corrupt right-wing authoritarians.” One issue that could push some Democrats to depart from party orthodoxy is Yemen; if “Trump continues to enable the Yemen conflict, it may turn out that McGovern-style anti-imperialist politics will make a comeback.”

Trump missing his chance to pass USMCA deal

Eric Boehm, writing for Reason

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement faces a complicated path towards ratification with Democrats preparing to take over the House, and not getting it before a GOP-controlled Congress in time to get it passed is a strategic mistake by the administration. “Under the terms of what's known as ‘Trade Promotion Authority,’ Congress granted Trump the power to unilaterally renegotiate" the North American Free Trade Agreement, "but the legislative branch must ratify the agreement with an up-or-down vote after a mandatory 30-day review period. The current session of Congress ends on January 3.” This gives Nancy Pelosi great leverage over the deal, which is bad for Trump, but it could also lead him to unilaterally leave NAFTA without a replacement ready to take effect.

Democrats need ranked-choice for 2020

Harold Meyerson, writing for The American Prospect

There is only one way to ensure a massive Democratic primary field in 2020 produces a winner with more than a modicum of support: ranked-choice voting, which could measure “the breadth, not just the intensity, of a candidate’s support.” While it’s unrealistic to ask voters to rank over a dozen candidates, “voters should be given the opportunity to cast their votes for win, place and show (and maybe fourth and fifth as well)—though if they just want to vote for one or two candidates, that should be their prerogative, too.”


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