The Day Hope Died
My biggest fear about Hillary Clinton getting the nomination is starting to become a reality.
Oh that iconic poster. Seems like a lifetime ago that we saw them held high in pride as our people got ready to elect our first African-American President, one with a simple message – “HOPE!”
But that was 2008 and this is 2016, and hope is sounding more like a four-lettered word:
“In theory, there are a lot of things to like about his ideas,” she said at an event at Simpson College, in Indianola, Iowa. “But ‘in theory’ isn’t enough. A president has to deal in reality.”
“I am not interested in ideas that sound good on paper but will never make it in real life,” Clinton said.
In reality, Sanders plan has little chance of getting through a Republican controlled congress. But does that mean we should give up trying to work for something an overwhelming majority of Democrats want? Does that mean we should give up hope?
In the last debate Clinton went on the attack, saying that Sanders just wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. Yes his plan is a total switch from what we recently got, but it is also a much better plan, comparable to what every other modern nation provides to their citizens. But Hillary wants to focus on fixing the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
Now I don’t disagree with her on the fact that it does need some fixes done, but since Hillary wants to talk about reality, that’s something I’m ready to do. The reality is that fixing Obamacare is every bit as hard, if not harder than Sanders plan. Why is that? Well, it’s all in a name, or “branding” as the marketing professionals will tell you.
We’ve all seen the countless videos and shook our heads in disbelief as Republicans praise what Obamacare does, then turns around and denounces it when they hear the name. The fact of the matter is that Obamacare could fix every disease, cost people nothing, cost our nation nothing and promise everyone a uniocrn, and the GOP would still be against it, becauss at the end of the day it is still “Obamacare”.
When you think about that, the disdain in a name, Republicans in Congress are going to stay as far away from fixing something their constituents hate as much as possible, regardless of how good it is. While in contrast, a Bernie plan, coupled with work from a few Republicans, could be championed by the hardest right members of Congress as “we got rid of Obamacare!!!”, which in this political climate could mean insurance to keep their gerrymandered seat instead of facing a “non-establishment” challenge.
But that’s the political side of this story. The other side, one that worries me about the possibility of a President-elect Clinton, is much more troubling.
Like I said earlier in this post, single-payer has always been a dream of Democratic voters. It’s the very thing that urged Democrats to actually get off their keisters and go out and vote. It worked in 2008, coupled with a message of hope and change. But now we got the front runner saying not only should we forget about hope, but also ignore one of our core, long held ideals.
Is that going to translate into votes?
Think about that for a minute. Anyone that follows politics knows the hardest thing for Democrats to do is get people to actually vote. Yeah, it’s a crappy deal, but one we must contend with to win this fall. And the message Hillary is giving now is anything but a rallying cry to the troops. It’s not going to translate into enthusiasm, which should really trouble Democrats.
And to put this argument into practice, let’s look back the last couple of years. One of the things the right ran on in 2014 and 2015 was getting rid of Obamacare, and they won. Just south of me, in Kentucky, this is really evident. They had one of the best, if not the best, exchanges in the country. They had a governor that worked tirelessly to setup the state to succeed under the ACA. And with a Republican governor running against all that, it wasn’t enough to get Democrats out to vote last November. Now all that work Steve Beshear did is for nothing.
The larger problem here is something I did see with Obama in the fight to get Obamacare. It’s a practice of poor business, in the fact that we never did really push for single payer or the public option during the fight. The deadly notion of Democrats is to “be nice” when dealing with the opposition. Give up your real targets at the start, in hope that the other side will go “aww, look what they did.’ Since Hillary wants to talk about reality, the reality is that Republicans don’t give a shit about that.
Let’s put this into a real life example. You go to buy a car. You see one you like that is $25,000, but you can’t pay more than $22,000. So, do you offer $22,000 for the car? No way! You offer $20,000 in hopes of maybe settling on the $22,000 you can spend. It’s called negotiation and the Democrats are horrible at it.
Now I know many will think “oh Jamie is all team Bernie and just bashing Hillary”, but nothing can be further from the truth. I want a Democrat in the White House come next January. The problem with Hillary’s latest tactics is that I see those chances dwindling even more, as she starts to put the breaks on any enthusiasm we might have built right now, all to try and win the primary. Trust me, we need that enthusiasm come the general election, and it is more vital to winning that any other metric. The past track record of Democrats voting is proof of that.