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Sanders's 2017 & 2019 proposals said, "There needs to be vigorous debate as to the best way to finance our Medicare for All legislation." If not now, when? He left Warren dangling when she outlined how to do it. If he won't fight for the hard parts of M4A, it won't happen.
"Medicare for All" as a concept is a winning message among Dems and independents. But that support is quite susceptible to messaging, and much of it seems predicated on misconceptions, like people keeping their current plans. M4A is vulnerable to "Harry & Louise" attacks. /2
"Harry & Louise" helped kill Clinton's healthcare reform. And like @paulkrugman predicted when Harry & Louise oddly showed up again to promote the ACA, the health insurers used their goodwill to kill the public option. They know how to play this game. /3
Remember when Sanders said he "wrote the damn bill?" There's a reason Buttigieg & Klobuchar praised his answer on taxes: support for M4A falls below 50% if people are told they'll be personally taxed. Warren's plan avoided middle class taxes, restoring majority support. /4
At the last debate, Sanders cited this:…

That study used even higher taxes than Sanders proposed: 5% on household income (vs 4%) and 10% on payroll (vs 7.5%).

That'd still be a savings—but costs/taxes trade-off plans don't have majority support.
Medicare for All has 118 co-sponsors in the House and 14 in the Senate. Getting another 100 Reps and 36 Senators will be tough when the 10-year pitch includes $4 trillion in taxes on workers and at least $8.8 trillion in deficit spending. Warren's plan avoided those problems. /6
Sanders has a unique position: he can talk about M4A without taking damage. The problem is that Dems in competitive districts can't. To make his M4A viable, Sanders needs to use his position to lay a foundation in public opinion for the tough parts, but he isn't doing that. /7
Alternatively, as President, he could lay that foundation by beginning with the hugely-popular incremental proposals—but that's the Warren transition plan, which he rejected, and which his supporters portrayed as a betrayal.

Or perhaps he means to pivot to Warren's plan.

Sanders can and does pivot on issues to a more centrist Dem approach, like he did after 2016 on gun control and yesterday on deportations. But M4A is his signature issue, and by not pushing the difficult parts, he leaves down-ballot allies in a lurch.

Since only Bernie has polling immunity on M4A, the lack of public support for parts of his plan like household income taxes means down-ballot candidates have to play it safe, abandoning M4A.

It seems better to just start with Warren's plan.

Yikes. If that's the case, just shift to the Warren plan now. Otherwise Sanders has to run in the general election on a plan that his website says includes an "income-based premium paid by employees" of "about $4 trillion over 10 years."
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