Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Will Dems dare to take advantage of GOP health care debacle?

“President Obama tried to move us forward with health-care coverage by using a conservative model that came from one of the conservative think tanks that had been advanced by a Republican governor in Massachusetts, Now it’s time for the next step. And the next step is single payer.” -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Yesterday was a smashing defeat for Trump and the Repugs in their attempt to loot Medicaid and gut healthcare for more than 22 million people. Their cynical revanchist move against Obamacare was seen by the great majority of angry and terrified citizens for what it was, another attempt at a major redistribution of wealth upward in the form of a trillion-dollar tax break for the 1% at the expense of the health and welfare of working and poor families. 
The factionalism and a shattering to smithereens of the GOP leadership cadre plus the mass revulsion for Trump and the GOP leadership felt by most voters forced Sen. McConnell to pull the bill (at least for now) or risk even more desertions. 

As a result, the climate is ripe for a Democratic take-back of Congress in 2018 and for the passage of a national, single-payer healthcare bill. But that would require a radical change at the top before Democrats would dare champion such a bill or back a slate of progressive candidates to run nationally with it. A progressive takeover or even a coalition with progressives are prospects that current party leadership appears to fear even more than a continuation of Trumpism. As a result, there may be little to excite the Democratic base beyond hatred for Trump, once again in 2018.

Dems seem locked into their defeatist strategy of running Republican-light candidates simply on the slogan of, I'm not Trump, in a transparent appeal to the moderate Republican base rather than to their own. Ossoff's defeat in Georgia in the most expensive rep race in history is a perfect example of the predictable failure of such a stand-for-nothing strategy and unfortunately an omen of things to come. 

Clem Balanoff (left) with Chuy Garcia and Bernie Sanders
In the absence of a nationwide powerful and independent, interracial mass movement of the poor -- the kind being organized by leaders like Rev. William Barber down in North Carolina -- it's once again left to Sens.Warren and Sanders to rally the troops and build on this Republican crash-and-burn.

LOCALLY, HERE IN ILLINOIS, it's the same story. Even after Sanders' near victory in his run against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary -- he pulled nearly a million (49%) of the votes -- we're once again forced to choose from a group of traditional Democrats in the gov's race against the universally-hated Bruce Rauner. 

That's one of the issues we will be discussing Friday on Hitting Left with our in-studio guest, Clem Balanoff who chairs Our Revolution Illinois/Chicago, the organization that grew out of the IL Sanders campaign for president. Tune in at 11 a.m. on Lumpen Radio. 

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