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Rahm Emanuel: Bloomberg, Patrick entering race will allow Democrats to have 'ideas primary'

Former mayor of Chicago and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said former Gov. Deval Patrick's White House bid and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's potential run will allow the Democrats to have an "ideas primary."

Emanuel praised Patrick's entry and Bloomberg's potential bid in a Washington Post op-ed as "a chance to shift the narrative" from the far-left concepts that he said have dominated the primary, such as the redistribution of wealth. 

The former chief of staff to President Obama said the redistribution of wealth has been mistaken as the party's "animating creed" during the 2020 primary as candidates Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have advocated for it. 

Emanuel said he thinks a Patrick and potential Bloomberg entry could help the candidates focus on discussing how to obtain "inclusive growth."

"We're stronger as a party when we debate substantive proposals for how to expand prosperity and opportunity," he wrote. "But to meet the far left's big ideas, traditional liberals need to show up with bold ideas of their own."

The former Illinois congressman emphasized that traditional Democrats have historically backed programs based on the concept that people should work for their living, including Social Security and Medicare.

"Our most sweeping successes fighting poverty have emerged when we've offered the American people a core bargain: If you work through the course of your life, the government will help you climb into the middle class," he wrote.

Emanuel continued that he thinks "Medicare for All" is "a pipe dream" and universal basic income contradicts the American value of working for prosperity.

"When our party has nominated candidates banging the drum for redistribution - such as George McGovern or Walter Mondale - we've lost," he said. "Hopefully, bids from Bloomberg and Patrick will serve as a wake-up call."

President Obama recently warned the 2020 Democratic field last week from moving too far to the left, saying "we have to be rooted in reality."

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