The Democrats have placed on glaring display their lack of self-awareness as well as their corporatism. In response to the health crisis that is a pandemic, the party, as well as its nominee, has shown how out of touch they truly are. In this piece, I want to look at the Corporate Democrats’ ‘response’ to the health crisis and compare it to that of the Trump Administration. This will likely not be popular among Democratic partisans, but that is irrelevant. Your party is proving itself to be a collection of out of touch elitists. Their response to a pandemic is yet more of their failed ideology. They have refused to adapt to the situation. They embody the phrase that when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The criticism is apt.
Exhibit A: Hillary Clinton: Let them Buy Insurance
We begin with the political zombie that just will not die. On the third of April, Mrs Clinton tweeted that in response to this pandemic, Trump should ‘Re-open the health care exchanges’. This is a reference to the Affordable Care Act. This piece of legislation compelled citizens to purchase health insurance in the private market. Government-mandated purchasing of private insurance: land of the free indeed. So, Secretary Clinton’s solution to a pandemic was to once again force people to buy private insurance. A simple question, Madame Secretary: using what? The immediate context is that people have lost their jobs! They have no money with which to buy insurance. What would you have them use? Blood plasma?
The sheer elitism in her comment says it all: let them buy insurance. You lost your healthcare because you were laid off due to no fault of your own? Well, why not just buy some insurance using the savings that you do not have? The Secretary is evidently not aware that almost half of Americans cannot afford a one-off $400 emergency, to say nothing of recurring monthly payments. She is aware that many people’s healthcare is tied to the very jobs they have just lost, but she still wants them to buy insurance. Incredible. So out of touch, so elitist. Finally, it is noteworthy that her response to this crisis was, at least in part, to funnel yet more money to the private sector. The insatiable greed of capitalism never takes a back seat, does it, Madame Secretary?
Exhibit B: Joe Biden and the Veto Pen
During an interview on MSNBC, Lawrence O’Donnell posed the following question to Joe Biden
Let’s flash forward: you’re President. Bernie Sanders is still active in the Senate. He manages to get Medicare for All through the Senate in some compromised [form]…Nancy Pelosi gets a version of it through the House of Representatives. It comes to your desk. Do you veto it?
Actually a decent question there. Consider this: all of the political work has been done. The battle is won. The bill has made it through the House and the Senate. All Biden has to do is sign it. He still said he would veto it. Now, before anyone argues that this was three weeks ago, nothing has changed. In a more recent interview in the last few days, Mr Biden said he still opposes any form of single-payer Medicare for All, despite accidentally arguing for it. Hashtag coherence.
Let us ignore for the moment the raw political stupidity it takes to alienate your base by saying you would scuttle their chief issue. Focus instead on the sheer lack of courage and leadership on display. Mr Vice President, it is not a crime to change your position to adapt to changed circumstances. It is not ‘politicising the tragedy’ to call for a Medicare for All system in response to this pandemic. Indeed, the very mental flexibility that such a change would involve is the most important character trait of a President. Your continued insistence, Sir, that Medicare for All is dead despite its wild popularity will suppress the Democratic base. This is because, as I said previously, they have no reason to vote for you.
Blindsided from the Left: Trump Responds
President Trump’s response was to, in the words of former Obama health official Andy Slavitt
Announce another plan. People without insurance can get cared for for free. And hospitals would get paid for at Medicare rates.
In other words, even without private health insurance, citizens (no mention of age) can go to a hospital and receive care and treatment, free of charge. In addition, the government would pay for the cost of the consultation, testing and treatment at Medicare rates. So the coverage offered in Medicare is being extended…to all. Hmm – where have I heard something like that before? Medicare…for ALL! You calcified corporate cuckolds have officially allowed Trump to take the left-wing position on healthcare! Jesus Christ how can you be so incompetent?! You clowns are so far up your own arses that you cannot even play the populist part for purposes of a pandemic (or, more cynically, an election year).
This is, in all likelihood, what Trump is doing: assuming the role of a populist on the issue of healthcare for purposes of an election cycle. His ability to read the room that is the electorate and assume a popular position is part of the formula of his success. However, motivations to the side for a moment, this is the correct position. Whether or not he realises the precedent that adopting such a plan puts in place (why should this system only apply to COVID-19) remains to be seen, but on this issue he is right.
Conclusion: Die, Democrats, Die
This incident is a shining example not only of Trump’s ability to read the electorate but of how utterly calcified and corporate the Democratic party is. The sheer political ineptitude of refusing to adapt your position to circumstances is actually remarkably conservative. In previous pieces, I discussed conservatism’s petulant insistence on sticking to their guns and demanding that reality bend to their ideology. The Democrats are doing the exact same thing. Hey, Dems: when you are out popularised by Donald Trump, you need to, like the dying animal you are, walk into the forest and not return.
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