Washington Post Op-Ed (George Will): This candidate may be the optimum challenger to Trump in 2020
Last month, Brown, 66, became just the [fourth] Ohio senator since the popular election of senators began in 1914 to achieve a third term, winning by six percentage points in a state Donald Trump carried by eight points, a state no Republican has lost while winning the presidency. Brown did 20 points better than Hillary Clinton’s 2016 results in Appalachian Ohio and the industrial Mahoning Valley, and 15 points better in Lucas County, an autoworkers’ stronghold. If Democrats are looking for a lefty who can win in 2020, they should look at Brown as seriously as he is looking at running.
Although the Democrats’ nominating electorate loathes Trump, it will like the fact that Brown has been principled, consistent and wrong about protectionism, which Trump favors because, like Brown and too many other Democrats, he thinks big government can fine-tune flows of goods, service and capital. Brown’s muscular progressivism, explained in pitiless detail in a 45-page manifesto (“Working Too Hard for Too Little: A Plan for Restoring the Value of Work in America”), should alarm conservatives wary of interventionist government and therefore should thrill progressives with fresh reasons to enlarge the administrative state. He is already intellectually limbered up to compete in the policy-sweepstakes part of the scramble for his party’s nomination.