You know how politicians often use the phrase “to change hearts and minds”? It usually refers to something that they’ve basically given up on or that which they don’t want to expend their political capital on. And this phrase is often used as a cop-out to suggest that “it takes years to change hearts and minds.” In other words, there isn’t much they can do with legislation since people’s deeply held convictions (or prejudices) must first transform.
Well, a miracle has happened. People’s hearts and minds have changed toward health care. And it didn’t even take very long. Years ago, the tea party republicans took to the streets to protest Obamacare. Even though health care costs were (and still are after the ACA) the #1 cause of bankruptcy in this country, these nuts did not see any need for reform. The tea partiers had actually been deceived by grass roots looking websites with home-y, burlap backgrounds which spoke out against reform. These websites were actually bankrolled by the conservative billionaire Koch brothers. Now why would oil billionaires care about insurance? That’s easy! What did Trump’s last plan propose? That we cut services and subsidies so that we’d have more money to cut taxes for the wealthiest.
Trump’s plan not only failed, it got angry voters across the country up in the faces of their reps in Congress, shouting them down any time they proposed repealing Obamacare. South Carolina voters yelled at Lindsey Graham, “It’s your last term!” when he claimed he’d repeal the ACA. Similar boisterous scenes played out in red state town halls nationwide, and taking your lawmakers to task is a healthy sign of democracy in action. This is where hearts and minds have completely changed, and it proves that Republican leaders are out of step with Republican voters. These voters are now railing at their representatives that they need the healthcare reforms which the black, muslim, socialist president provided. (PS: I know that Obama was neither muslim or a socailist–but that’s what they called him.) That same healthcare which GOP leaders claimed they’d turn into Obama’s Waterloo! Ironically, the ACA and it’s modest reforms may now become the Waterloo of Republican lawmakers seeking to repeal it. Hearts and minds have been completely changed. If nothing else, let the nonsense Trump suggests to define what it is we like and dislike about the government’s role in our lives. Let’s also take note the GOP voters are not always governed by common sense–they voted for a guy whose big ticket item was repealing Obamacare. When he tried to repeal it, they went nuts nationwide because they can’t afford to have it repealed.
Democrats are busy slamming Trump’s health care proposals sending out lists of all conditions which would not be covered by it. It’s very easy to slam your opponent–especially an opponent like Trump who is mired in controversy and possibly mentally unbalanced. But does constantly slamming Trump and letting him and his crazy ideas self-destruct remind you of anything? That was Hillary Clinton’s campaign strategy. And it failed miserably. Yet democrats stupidly refuse to define themselves by anything other than attacks on Trump. (See: Russia.) Where are the Democrats claiming we need single payer or a public option, to catch up to the rest of the world which pays a little more in taxes and no monthly premiums at all? Dem stalwarts Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi has just gone on record claiming that the single payer has no place in the democratic platform. (Feinstein will be primaries as a result, but the crooked DNC will surely pour a fortune into her campaign coffers to ensure that no progressive beats her.) And they’re both of these Congress women are from liberal California!
It is only the few Berniecrats, who the Democratic Party at large is trying to squash, who support single payer. Meanwhile, rising stars like Corey Booker vote down Sanders’ proposals for cheaper drugs, proving that democrats work harder for those who grease their palms rather than those who elect them. Are there voters in either party who don’t desire cheaper drugs? Democrats have had an excellent opportunity, in the face of the monstrous Trump, to prove that they are progressive. With Hillary’s VP pick, with the new DNC head, with party leaders refuting single payer as a direction they’re prepared to go in and half a dozen democrats voting against cheaper meds, the party leadership is doing exactly what Republican Party leaders are doing: the opposite of what their voters want.
Obama was no different. While the ACA was a step in the right direction, Obama ignored single payer, despite the fact that democrats controlled both houses of Congress at the beginning of his presidency and 80% of democrats supported single payer. But Obama was too busy counting bribes from the big Pharma and the insurance industry to do what those who voted him wanted. Now I’m sure Obama apologists will cry “But he could never have gotten single payer through Congress.” No, not if he never tried. And do you ever go to the bargaining table with the very least you’ll settle for? (The ACA is essentially Romneycare, crafted by a GOP governor of the blue state Massachusetts.) No, you go with a public option or Medicaid For All–which 80% of those who voted for you wanted. Then you negotiate from that very strong position. Sadly, both democrats and republicans seem hell-bent on ignoring their supporters. The GOP wants Trumpcare because it leaves more money to cut taxes on the wealthiest. Perhaps the democrats only want to preserve Obama’s modest reforms so they can also keep taxes on the wealthiest low.
Doesn’t anyone remember that tape of Mitt Romney caught on tape when he ran against Obama in which he called everyone from vets to seniors to students receiving aid “takers”? Obama acted outraged and claimed that if elected, he’d prove that he was a candidate of the “takers” and workers and raise taxes on everyone who made $250,000 and up. He got elected and immediately switched that to those making $400,000 and up. If you have no money, your voice is ignored–regardless of what you are told during election season. (See: Flint and union rights under Obama’s presidency.)
While we are possessed by denouncing the influence of Russian oligarchs in our election, do we have no concern about the oligarchs in our own country which poison so many policies against voters? Our oligarchs are the pharmaceutical and insurance industry, big oil, guns, and the war machine. The Obamas, Clintons, Feinsteins, Pelosis and Corey Bookers don’t want single payer or even cheaper drugs for one reason: they’ve been bribed by the very industries whose profits a public option would threaten. Democrats have left progress behind, so a new party must emerge which is truly progressive and less corrupt. Nice try, Bernie. But with the Feinsteins, Pelosis and Schumers at the helm, you’ll never reform the Democratic Party from within. Corporate democrats care more about bribes which benefit them than they do policies which would benefit most of us–including an insurance system which works in almost every other industrial country which neither party in this country supports. So I’ll let members of our two corrupt parties quarrel while I focus on progress. Trump’s healthcare reforms proved that even GOP voters are more progressive than anyone imagined. If democrats don’t seize on this moment for state-run healthcare which even conservative Hillary Clinton claimed was the way to go in the 90s, they are a dying party which stands for little. Which might explain why democrats have been losing since Obama was elected: the White House, both houses of Congress and 2/3rds each of state senates and governships. But please don’t ever mention what democrats are consistently getting wrong. It’s a big part of why they have been losing like for almost a decade, and why they may well continue to do so.