Alan Simpson, author of a plan to cut Social Security

It’s conventional wisdom among elites in Washington and Wall Street that Social Security must be cut. The American people don’t agree.

That’s why a long string of lawmakers who supported the Bowles-Simpson plan — which would slash Social Security and Medicare benefits while lowering corporate taxes — went down in flames last night.

In fact, almost every candidate who was personally endorsed by the authors of the plan was defeated:

  • Charlie Bass: Bass was a strong supporter of the Bowles-Simpson plan, and the plan’s authors even personally endorsed him. He was defeated last night by bold progressive Annie Kuster.
  • Bob Kerrey: Kerrey, a Democrat, endorsed the Bowles-Simpson plan and got their endorsement in return. But promising to cut Social Security did not mobilize voters on his behalf, and he lost to his Republican opponent.
  • Brendan Doherty: Rhode Island Republican Brian Doherty — who proudly touted his support for the Bowles-Simpson plan and his endorsement by the plans’ authors — lost to David Cicilline.

The election results of last night should serve as a warning to both Democrats and Republicans alike: Americans treasure their social insurance programs such as Medicare and Social Security, and they do not want any candidate promising to cut them.