- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 21, 2019

While the political jockeying gets more attention, candidates in the 2020 Democratic presidential race are advancing serious policy proposals. The Washington Times takes a weekly look at some of them that may have flown under the radar.

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang on Sunday called for the legalization of online poker in all 50 states, earning praise from professional poker players such as Daniel Negreanu.

“U.S. companies and players would benefit, and new tax revenues could be used to mitigate addiction,” Mr. Yang said.

The Yang campaign said the move would create a more “secure” environment to play in, and that it’s common sense since people from every state play online poker even though it’s legal in only four states: New Jersey, Delaware, Nevada and Pennsylvania.

The campaign pointed to a report that estimated the potential size of a U.S. online poker market at $2.2 billion in the first year.

Warren on white nationalist violence

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on Tuesday introduced a plan intended to combat “white nationalist violence” that includes stepped-up federal investigations and an attempt to root out white nationalists and neo-Nazis in the military.

“Donald Trump wants to divide us — to pit worker against worker, neighbor against neighbor,” she said on her campaign website. “He wants Americans to blame their troubles on those who are new to our country, or who don’t look the same or pray the same or love the same, even as his administration robs us dry.”

Ms. Warren would leverage the resources of the departments of Justice and Homeland Security to aggressively target “white nationalist crime” that involves a threat to life or is associated with a violent group.

She said her administration would reverse a pattern of the federal government deferring to state and local jurisdictions on “significant hate crimes.”

Ms. Warren also would direct the National Counterterrorism Center to work with other countries on investigations, and said she would add white nationalist groups that pose a particular threat to the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.

She also wants the Pentagon to better track incidents of “bias crimes” and reports of affiliations with white nationalism or “neo-Nazi groups” within the military.

“There is no room for white nationalism in the ranks of our armed forces,” she said.

Buttigieg on college tuition

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, on Monday filled in more details on his plan to lower college costs and boost workforce development opportunities, which includes making public college tuition-free for all families earning up to $100,000.

Mr. Buttigieg also would make public college tuition-free for more than 7 million lower- and middle-income students who are eligible for federal Pell Grants. The plan calls for “substantial tuition subsidies” for students in families earning up to $150,000.

He would put an additional $120 billion into the Pell Grant Program, including supplemental grants for public college students.

Mr. Buttigieg also would invest $50 billion in historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions over the next decade, put $50 billion into increasing the number of apprenticeships, and double funding for career and technical education.

“Opportunities for success shouldn’t be limited to those with a college degree,” Mr. Buttigieg said. “By providing support to those who need it most, and not the children of millionaires and billionaires, my plan will also invest in workforce development, skills training and apprenticeship opportunities for those Americans who choose not to go to college.”

That’s a contrast to 2020 rivals such as Sens. Bernard Sanders of Vermont and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who want to make public colleges and universities tuition-free for everyone.

Mr. Buttigieg would provide expanded student loan forgiveness to people who work in government services or nonprofit organizations.

He had previously mentioned some of the plan, including the college tuition benefits, in a prior set of economic proposals.

Klobuchar on election security

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota on Monday released a plan aimed at bolstering election security and safeguarding Americans’ right to vote.

Ms. Klobuchar’s plan entails passing legislation she is pushing in the Senate to strengthen disclosure requirements for political advertising on online platforms and to make it illegal for foreign nationals to buy election ads.

In the wake of Russia’s interference efforts in the 2016 election, Ms. Klobuchar also would require political campaigns to report any attempt by a “foreign entity” to influence U.S. elections to the federal government.

She also is pushing for states to use paper ballots, which she has advocated for in Congress.

Ms. Klobuchar believes it’s time “to take back our democracy,” her campaign said.

She also would automatically register every American to vote when they turn 18, prohibit “voter purges,” work to expand early and no-excuse absentee voting, and make Election Day a federal holiday.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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