Smart Ideas: Klobuchar Could Have a Leg Up in Iowa

Plus: Is nuclear power the only way forward?

Sen. Amy Klobuchar
AP Photo/Hannah Foslien
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Feb. 11, 2019, 8 p.m.

Klobuchar path to the nomination goes through Iowa

Nate Silver, writing for FiveThirtyEight

Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s path to the Democratic nomination relies on stressing her electability and identifiability in the states Democrats lost in 2016. Klobuchar, who has won all three of her Senate elections by more than 20 points, should be strong in the Upper Midwest. Slightly farther South, she will need to do well in Iowa. “She will probably be the only major candidate in the race from a state that borders Iowa and one of relatively few Midwesterners in the field. And in her statewide races in Minnesota, she relied heavily on a retail approach to politics, something that should translate well to Iowa.” Being able to identify with white Midwesterners will also be crucial; “you’ll hear stuff about how her grandfather worked as an iron-ore miner, for instance. It will also pitch her to voters on candor, honesty, pragmatism, an ability to ‘get stuff done,’ work ethic and so forth,” and draw a contrast to “more left-wing candidates from the coasts.”

The true story about fake news

Brendan Nyhan, writing on Medium

Fake news may not be as widespread an affliction as many have come to believe. “Fake news consumption is concentrated among a narrow subset of Americans with the most conservative news diets. And, most notably, no credible evidence exists that exposure to fake news changed the outcome of the 2016 election.” Fake news hurts democracy more than it shapes elections, distorting public debate and undermining trust in the media. Still, “the most worrisome misinformation in U.S. politics remains the old-fashioned kind: false and misleading statements made by elected officials who dominate news coverage and wield the powers of government.”

A “European model” Americans can agree on

Kevin D. Williamson, writing for National Review

The Swiss health care system, which the Affordable Care Act drew upon, can inspire compromise now. Switzerland's insurance is private, expensive, and universal. Citizens have more choice: “Switzerland has one health-insurance company for every 100,000 residents,” compared to one for every 1.7 million Americans. The government subsidizes low-income individuals and enrolls those who resist enrolling themselves. Similarly, in America, interstate competition, a strictly enforced individual mandate, and subsidies funded “by repurposing Medicare and Medicaid” could address concerns from across the political spectrum.

World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus

Toward a nuclear future?

Ryan Cooper, writing for The Week

Pursuing “strong climate policy” will involve making tough decisions, mostly because the discussion has been put off so long. One sticking point will be nuclear power: Its “theoretical potential is near-limitless” and would lead to low carbon emissions, so antinuclear advocates will have to accept that shutting down plants “puts the decarbonization goal significantly further out of reach.” On the other side of the coin, nuclear supporters “who argue that hundreds of new reactors are the obvious way to solve climate change are also wrong. They have not solved the industry's severe price problem, which has led to eye-popping cost bloat and outright abandonment of many projects. At a minimum the industry needs significant reform, and given how fast the cost of renewable power is falling, nuclear is at best suited for a secondary role.”

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