Wednesday, November 04, 2020

The Rebuke Which Won't Be

With some evidence, progressive journalist David Sirota this (Wednesday) morning posted an article arguing that these are the "six takeaways" from the elections:

Democrats’ Weak Economic Message Hugely Helped Trump; The Lincoln Project And Rahm Emanuel Embarrassed Themselves; People Don’t Love The Affordable Care Act;  A Lot Of Grassroots Money Was Set On Fire; Democrats’ Court Calculation Was Wrong; A Large Percentage Of Americans Have Lost Their Minds.

It was clear to many of us that any money (however much, from wherever) thrown at the Democratic senatorial candidates from Kentucky or Alabama would be futile, thus far better spent elsewhere.

I never bought the idea that Republican voters could be wrested from Donald J. Trump. They loved him in 2016, they love his presidency, and they would love him in 2020. It's how they roll. Nonetheless, if Biden were to be elected, it might be attributed to Never Trump Republicans (such as the Lincoln Project) and that would curb any enthusiasm of the Democratic establishment to promote a progressive economic message. 

Certainly, whatever the outcome of the presidential race, it's clear that Americans "have lost their mind"- or their sense of fairness, belief in democratic principles such as free expression or the notion that no one (including the President and his family) are above the law.

I also am convinced, as I always have been, that voters don't love the Affordable Care Act. 

But here is where the rubber meets the road. It's going to be close to impossible to advance that (accurate) narrative if simultaneously Democrats were unable to regain a Senate majority but the vice president to the architect of the Affordable Care Act has been elected President. Similarly doomed is this prescription, right on policy but an extremely hard sell:

Everything" is an exaggeration but both the Obama and Clinton administrations failed at reversing the trend toward privatization, presided over an increase in income inequality, and harbored an unhealthy fondness for balanced budgets.

However, it's unlikely that the Democratic Party will abandon Obamacare.  As CNN reported in mid-October, Joe Biden had not

swayed from his commitment to continue allowing private plans -- despite the pressure from the Democrats' progressive wing, which wants to put the federal government at the center of the nation's health care system, akin to Sen. Bernie Sanders' "Medicare for All" proposal.

"Competition and the option of private insurance plans remain central in this approach," said Linda Blumberg, institute fellow in the Health Policy Center at the Urban Institute.

If Joe Biden has won the presidency (which at this moment, 1:00 eastern time on Wednesday, is probable), it will be hard to dislodge him from the notion that health care is not a right which must be free to everyone regardless of economic or health status.

It will be nearly impossible with a Senate maliciously and effectively led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (a title I had not expected him to have the opportunity to hold in the next Congress). Further, that "nearly" can be erased because (as Matt Stoller has lamented previously) Barack Obama, AKA Mr. ACA, remains extraordinarily popular among Democrats.

After a string of primary and caucus defeats this cycle (and never having won any such contest previously), Joe Biden even in early February had

looked to the black voters of South Carolina to hand a win to his flagging campaign. On Saturday, they delivered.

Biden won 61% of the votes cast by non-white voters, dominating a crowded Democratic field among a group that made up more than half of the electorate. Biden also performed strongly with older voters, women, regular churchgoers and moderates and conservatives, according to AP VoteCast, a wide-ranging survey of more than 1,400 voters in South Carolina’s Democratic primary.

Biden’s strength with the state’s African American voters helped him edge out second-place finisher Bernie Sanders. The Vermont senator won roughly 14% of African American voters, while billionaire Tom Steyer won 15%.

Biden wouldn't have blown away the field, and might not even have won in South Carolina, without the extraordinarily influential support of House Majority Whip James Clyburn who, like the President Biden loyally served, is black.

Once his nomination was clinched, the Party's choice nominated for vice- president a black woman (Asian on the other side, but really), who is not progressive but does support the Affordable Care Act.

That legislation is the signature achievement of President Barack Obama and is what his favorable legacy hinges on.  Neither Kamala Harris nor Jim Clyburn is progressive and both support Barack Obama. Biden is being called upon by Matt Stoller to move away from Obamacare and repudiate the last Democratic President and the president previously known as "the first black President."

It should happen, just as Biden and the Democratic Party ought to disregard the (centrist) policy positions of the Never Trump crowd and replace them with economic policy centered on restoring the hollowed-out manufacturing base of the country, reducing income inequality, and a health care plan which acknowledges the severe limitations of the Affordable Care Act.

They should, but won't. It's not where the electoral base of the Democratic Party is now and it's even further from those special interests now dominating the Party.


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