An old colleague and I were having breakfast this morning when he looked up at the news (I can’t remember which network …MSNBC, I think) and noticed a split screen of Donald Trump and Hillary Clint…
The media is, predictably, focused on maintaining a 2 horse race. They spent the last 3 weeks discussing what Trump needs to do, to get back in the race. So when he modulates his rhetoric, they present it as a miraculous tactical adjustment to his disastrous, polarizing campaign.
Given that, Donald faces a number of structural problems:
• He has no traction with Black, Latino, LGBTQ, Democratic, Educated and Women voters. This is, when totaled, a plurality.
• The number of people who are vulnerable to his new softer rhetoric are not enough to change the tide.
• The States he needs to win are all Deep Blue, or leaning Blue. His popularity is in States that don’t have enough electoral votes to carry him.
• He has no ground game to Get Out The Vote, making his poll numbers unlikely to materialize in November.
• Any shift to the middle, will alienate his radical followers. There are already indications of people leaving his rallies, after he starts talking.
• The Time required for him to change Blue to Red is running out faster than his campaign can gain speed.
• The HRC counterattack is kicking off and will continue relentlessly, through November.
• The Press, WaPo & NY Times for two, see him as a threat to their business and their reputation.
Having said all this, anything is possible. The biggest hurdles that remain for HRC are the Debates and turning out the vote.
It’s not sunny yet, but it’s not completely dark on the horizon either.
Let’s set the record straight:
PBO was born in Hawaii.
The planet and everything living on it is choking on the exhaust of fossil fuel.
Guns kill living things. Nothing is safer around them.
Dick Cheney made up reasons to attack Iraq.
Everyone has a right to love whomever they choose.
The NRA doesn’t give a shit about your Rights. They’re selling weapons to anyone with cash.
Trump, and his entire elitist family are frauds.
Citizens United further wounded a democracy already staggering from voter suppression.
The media is a profit driven business that thrives on outrage, sensationalism and fear.
Private prisons are holding pens for the politically, economically and socially oppressed.
Pharmaceutical companies act in the best interests of their stock holders.
We are fighting people around the globe, with weapons we sold them.
Sovereign Citizens are antigovernment recruiting agents for insurrectionists.
Vaccinations don’t give you autism, but lead in your drinking water does.
There is no magic pill or injection that will make you feel like you’re 21.
Noah’s Ark is a fairy tale and the Earth is 4.5 billion years old.
Christians lie, cheat and steal at the same rate as other organized religions.
Working longer hours, for less money doesn’t build character; it makes life a living hell.
Cutting taxes for corporations doesn’t create jobs; it leaves you to pay the bill.
Immigrants don’t suppress income; Hedge Fund Managers and tax policy do.
American Exceptionalism is a myth concocted by politicians to justify imperialism.
We need more paid agents of change. When your job is your passion, there is more time to be both elegant and effective.
That said, survival is a reality second only to passion, and both are required for life. If one or the other is neglected, life is such the chore (as they say).
It seems to me there is still too much heat and too little light coming from single issue fires. That energy has to be harnessed. Single issues must find a way to develop politically, to enable viable change. In the end, it is the inability to organize to the level of current competition that is the hallmark of lost causes.
Activism is the engine of energy that sparks and spreads awareness. Left unattended, it runs out of fuel, having altered the surrounding landscape, in some ways unintended, and leaving behind reminders of success and failure. Activism is the fire.
But Change is not fulfilled at birth. In order to survive, it has to be sustained, shaped and guided. It has to be organized into a vector of greater social purpose. It has to become part of an evolving way of life, rather than a threat to it.
Activism is an expression of individual freedom, Organization is a directed choir of song.
The New York Times, who let the Iraq War buildup go unchallenged, gave Big Oil Climate Change deniers editorial space to promote their propaganda, pocketed ad money from fat PACs and paid lip service to voter rights, want to be seen as the people’s proxy in the Primary campaigns, but they come off as an opportunistic old suitor with a score to settle. While giving free rein to race baiting demagogues and radical religious fundamentalists, they treat leaked political innuendo like vetted facts in repetitive front page political exposes.
Guardians of Democracy is not a title in perpetuity nor a self anointed role. A Free Press has always had a hand in defining and refining our democracy, but a peacock press who turns a blind eye to reality and is given to self induced and inflated controversy, does nothing to lubricate the machinery of representative government.
Act II – A Public Option and Pharma Regulation
A Public Option, the lost battle for better cost control, while winning concessions for the broader uninsured public, is worth resurrecting. The time, 2 years after launch, is ripe. There is still more good work to do.
The PPACA has a track record that’s successful when examined using empirical macro data. On the one hand, insured enrollees are up, coverage cost growth is slowed and improved access to preventive care – an investment in a healthier tomorrow – is available to more students, new families and young workers. While we know it’s working for millions, there is, on the other hand, room for improvement.
The cost of Health Insurance for some, went from nothing and scant coverage, to a mandatory something and some well patient care. Regardless of the fact that many were going rogue, they are now paying something, where they were paying little or nothing before. For those making too much to be subsidized, the PPACA isn’t what they wanted, or like living with.
A Public Option offering more coverage than their current high deductible plan, at the same price, would be a win. Expanding Medicare to fill the gap for these individuals would be a way to introduce a fledgling Public Option, without reversing the rotation of the planet or exposing too much to lobby fueled Republican attacks. So, there’s one opportunity for the next President and Congress, the composition of which is currently in the process of being resolved.
Another target for cost improvement is a Federal Pharma purchasing plan. There is too much being spent on ads that pump up demand for false hope relief and vanity snake oil, instead of making investments in improving productivity, streamlining distribution of essential medicine and rolling out proactive prevention programs. Research subsidies need to be prioritized to focus on Public benefit and restructured Patent regulations need to strip the shield of anti-competitive exclusivity Pharmaceuticals currently enjoy, to restore balanced, uninduced demand by limiting Pharmaceutical ads in both frequency and inflated promises.
The question for me isn’t my way or the highway, Bernie or HRC. It isn’t about the specter of getting it wrong and we’re doomed, or about we elect a Democrat that is a closet Republican. It isn’t about who will sell out my principles if they don’t fulfill my greatest hopes. For me, it’s about what will get me closer to what is most important to me. Who has a practical path to a better Climate outlook, more accessible education, more income for the middle class, a more representative democracy, an achievable clean energy policy, a grasp of clean water and food policies that put sustainable longevity before cost and profit?
There are many who voted for PBO who felt, from time to time, betrayed. When the ACA worked its way through Congress, every concession that made it possible was seen by the less committed as a betrayal of their sacred cause. When advisors were left in Afghanistan a specter of bait and switch was raised, because progress didn’t reach some perfect threshold of absolute international Peace, Dodd-Frank didn’t renew Glass-Steagall and children were displaced by war, and Cheney isn’t in jail, and we still pump carbon, and Orcas aren’t free and DOMA’s repeal didn’t do enough, and Dreamers are still anxious, and new jobs don’t pay enough, and the South still has bigots, and education isn’t free, ……
There is quite a long list of diminished expectations that dot the 7-year path of dogged progress. But, looking back, we have moved in the generally correct direction, on a broad front, while holding our gains and embracing our new responsibilities and opportunities. From a practical perspective, I want to know who will continue that progress and make headway on restoring unity and common cause.
If we want something, we can’t just pine for it, we have to find a way to actually make it happen. We have to pick a path, get to some high ground, see where we are and plot the next 100 yards with the newly acquired knowledge of what got us here. Who has a plan that will work? Promises don’t make it so. I want to know how to get from here to there.
During the nomination process, firing on the supply lines that got us here, or trying to disqualify one another in order to advance our personal champion of the week, or making decisions before facts, instead of listening with an open mind, or forgetting that we are all in this together, or losing sight of the purpose of this process, or leaving in disgust, or cynically denying success is possible, is a formula for defeat.
An Army is a group of individuals with a common oath to achieve a common goal, resigned to the possibility of setbacks, but committed to the belief in eventual success and willing to see the battles through.