This is the second article of our “On the Stage” series, where the goal is to get to know each and every single candidate vying for the chance to take on President Donald J. Trump in the 2020 election as the Democratic nominee. As the first Democratic debates approach, we try to understand each of the candidates and their campaigns better.
Who is Seth Moulton?
Ever since 2015, Seth Moulton has been the representative for the 6th district of Massachusetts. As a former Marine and Iraq War veteran, he has been positioning himself as the “national security / foreign policy candidate”, and has strong views on this matter. He earned a Bronze Star medal for his service in Iraq, which he did not reveal even to his parents, until the Boston Globe found out in an investigation into his military service.
How are the numbers going for Seth Moulton?
Bad. The numbers are bad for Seth Moulton.
RealClearPolitics does not have any of his numbers in recorded national or statewide polls, and he has not managed to attain even the 0.3 percent that Tulsi Gabbard, Eric Swalwell, John Delaney, Marianne Williamson, andBill de Blasio, the candidates currently at 17th – 20th , have. He has not had significant polling numbers in any of the early primary states, and has not reached 1 percent for even one recognized poll. Because he has also failed to meet the fundraising criterion for the debates, he will thus not participate in the first set of Democrat debates later this month.
What are the key ideas of the Moulton campaign?
As a centrist Democrat and more moderate than the more well-known candidates moving farther to the left, his stances on certain key issues differ.
On healthcare. Despite stating his belief that healthcare is a human right, Rep. Moulton does not support a single-payer Medicare-for-All plan. As a veteran, he frequently refers to the Veterans Administration’s single-payer system and all its failures in providing service members with quality accessible healthcare. Instead, he advocates for the reforming of the Affordable Care Act by focusing on driving healthcare costs down and improving the coverage of ACA.
On foreign policy and national security. This issue appears to be Seth Moulton’s forte. As one to have seen Americans at war firsthand, he has been bold in pushing for changes in the way the federal government spends on military and national defense. First, he wants cuts on massive weapons programs that produce quantities upon quantities of conventional weapons. He then wants to redirect these funds towards more modern defense technology, especially cyber research. He also advocates for more diplomatic approaches towards conflicts and tensions, and to avoid unnecessarily deploying American troops on foreign soil. He aims to strengthen existing American alliances and to forge new, reliable ones in the face of new international challenges.
On climate change. Rep. Moulton moves closer towards his more outspoken, left-leaning party mates on this one. In the House, he co-sponsored the Green New Deal, the controversial set of proposals that radically address climate change by extremely fast transitions to clean energy and massive increases in spending on green infrastructure. Besides the measures already stated in the GND, he has also proposed the creation of a Federal Green Corps that employs Americans for two years to retrofit existing buildings to be more energy efficient, a proposal that would be an incredible burden on the federal budget on top of the costs that will be imposed by the Gren New Deal. Seth Moulton also envisions that by 2030, America will be utilizing renewable energy for half of its needs.
On gun rights. He is strongly in favor of restricting gun rights. Seth Moluton pushes for a complete ban on the sales of assault rifles and bump stocks nationwide, as well as mandatory background checks for all arms sales.
On other issues. Seth Moulton supports a path to citizenship for recepients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. He pushes for the raising of the national minimum wage, albeit to just an hourly pay of $12 by 2020, rather than the commonly-proposed $15. He wants to make education more affordable by mandating that community college be free in all states. He is also in favor of abortion rights and in removing penalties for having procedures. As a pro-choicer, he has also supported the Equality Act for LGBTQ+ individuals.
The Bottom Line for the Moulton Campaign
Things are looking terrible for Seth Moulton right now. He is a long, long way from even a spot at the next Democratic debates. His status as a moderate Democrat doesn’t help, and we can see most of the more centrist candidates not named Joe Biden to be languishing in the also-ran section. It would be interesting to see how Moulton plans to approach the next months of his campaign and how he would aim to raise his status and gain more attention in this crowded race. Capitalizing on his status as a veteran and on his focus on national defense and foreign policy may help him to carve a niche towards those prioritizing these issues. But even that is a long shot towards the nomination, as these issue don’t stand out to a majority of Democratic voters.