John Delaney Believes a Moderate Democrat Will Beat Trump, Says He's a 'Compassionate Capitalist'

Eyes on 2020An in-depth look at the candidates vying for the highest office in the land in 2020.

Former congressman and presidential candidate John Delaney told The Root in an interview that he believes a moderate Democrat will defeat Donald Trump in 2020. Unlike many of the more progressive candidates in the field, Delaney is proposing more middle-of-the ground policies that address healthcare access, border security, immigration, police brutality and economic inequality.


Earlier this year, Delaney tweeted that someone called him a compassionate capitalist, wording he took as a compliment. When asked exactly what a compassionate capitalist is, Delaney explained that capitalism can benefit everyone so long as it does not operate unchecked.

“To some extent, what the United States has been, historically, is a free market country that had very strong social programs,” he said. “In many ways, the genius of our country across time was we basically moderated capitalism. How do you moderate capitalism? Regulations. Workers’ rights. Societal infrastructure, like social security, medicare, public schools and a fair tax code. The balance of those two things, letting capitalism do its magic, which is to innovate and create jobs, because let’s face it: the private sector creates the overwhelming majority of jobs in the United States of America, but moderating it with strong social programs leads you, in my opinion, to where you have to be.”


As for border security and immigration reform (at 23:40), Delaney says he would convene a committee of experts to assess the best ways to address the issue, suggesting that a combination of technological approaches like drone surveillance, technical support and manpower would likely help. Mainly, Central American nations need more political and economic investments that would stabilize their economies, Delaney said.

“All of their stories were pretty much the same: Gangs would kill one of their children,” he said. “The gangs would say, ‘Unless you do what we say, we’re gonna kill the rest of your kids.’ They’d go to law enforcement. Law enforcement was in bed with the gangs. So what I say to people is, pretty much everyone would leave too. I would leave, you would leave, everyone would leave if those were your conditions. What these people are doing is totally logical and we should not expect them to do anything else because they love their children and they are doing what any human being would do to protect their children. So why don’t we spend as much attention trying to create civil institutions in those societies, which doesn’t mean we go in and change regimes. But we use our diplomatic and economic clout to work with the other interested countries, like Mexico, in a positive and constructive way, to figure out how we spend as much attention on that” as we do border security.

And he would not call for the abolishment of ICE, but was instead for reforming the agency.

Delaney spends a lot of time on border security towards the end of the video, so give it a listen. He also shares his views on police reform, healthcare, the diversity of the Democratic primary field and why black people should vote for him.

Terrell Jermaine Starr is a senior reporter at The Root. He is currently writing a book proposal that analyzes US-Russia relations from a black perspective.


One of the main reasons Trump won was people thought he’d be different, and many people did not want a “yet another career politician”. Trump said he would shake things up, raise pay, fix healthcare, bring back good jobs, regulate Wall Street, take Big Pharma and insurance companies to task, and clean out the influence of lobbying and corporations from DC. Of course he was lying about all of that, but what in that mix sounds like a “moderate” approach? Bernie is hugely popular with the left, and Trump is hugely popular with the right. Nothing about either one of them is moderate.