We Really Need To Talk: To Win & Exercise Power, Dems Need To Confront Power & Corruption Within The Ranks


The idea that Republicans have a monopoly on all the seedy operators is naive.

By Zach Carter
HuffPost (2/25/19)

It should not be difficult for Democrats to defeat President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Trump lost the popular vote in 2016 by nearly 3 million votes. His overall approval rating has never ― not for one day ― eclipsed 50 percent. His main political tactic, scapegoating immigrants,  doesn’t work very well. After making the 2018 midterms a referendum on a migrant caravan, Trump ended up ceding 41 House seats to the Democratic Party ― the worst result for Republicans since 1974.

But if anybody can screw this thing up, it’s the leadership of the modern Democratic Party. They did, after all, manage to lose to this guy three years ago.

Do they have any record of challenging entrenched power? For plenty of Democrats, some of whom may well have pure hearts and pristine motives, the answer to both questions is no.

And one troubling sign is the dangerous new orthodoxy that seems to be hardening in Washington, in which Democrats are forbidden from criticizing other Democrats to avoid empowering Trump ahead of the election. It’s fine to debate policy, this thinking goes, but it’s not OK to criticize governing records, question priorities or impugn motivations. Any hint of intra-party infighting, it’s argued, would only weaken the eventual 2020 nominee.

Jared Bernstein, who served as chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden, made the case succinctly in The Washington Post last week: Since Democrats are really all on the same page about everything important, they should stick to arguments over policy solutions. Voters will eventually decide whether they prefer “incrementalism” or “leapfrogging,” but on everything serious ― health care, climate, jobs and taxes ― Bernstein claimed that “you would need a high-powered electron microscope to see the difference among the Democrats.”

Seeing things clearly

Somebody should get Bernstein to an eye doctor. The differences between former Maryland Rep. John Delaney’s agenda and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s platform are stark and obvious. But even if Bernstein were right about Democratic policy uniformity, he has the 2020 dynamic all wrong. The most critical issues facing 2020 voters aren’t really about dialing in the right policy solutions; they’re fundamental questions about power and accountability in American democracy. …

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(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )


Democrats Who No Longer Support ‘Medicare For All’ Bill Have Lots Of Excuses

HuffPost (2/27/19)

WASHINGTON ― Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) unveiled the Medicare for All Act of 2019 on Wednesday with broad support in Congress and among activist groups, as well as a number of influential labor unions that did not previously back single-payer health care legislation.

But there was something curious about the roster of 107 co-sponsors she rolled out for the legislation.

Twenty-five House Democrats who were co-sponsors of single-payer health care legislation in the last Congress did not sign on as original backers of Jayapal’s bill.

As a result, the previous single-payer bill ― the latest iteration of which was introduced by then-Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) in January 2017 ― had 125 co-sponsors by the end of the last Congress. (The attrition of some incumbents between bills was partly offset by the addition of freshman Democrats and Rep. Joe Kennedy [D-Mass.].)

The drop-off foreshadows a paradox as “Medicare for all” rises into the Democratic mainstream: The likelier single payer is to become law, the more some Democrats — who once viewed supporting it as a cost-free gesture — will have second thoughts about putting their names behind it.

On Wednesday, HuffPost caught up with three of the Democrats who were on H.R. 676 ― Conyers’ bill ― but have not yet signed on to Jayapal’s. …

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