I feel like Dan Hedaya in Joe Versus The Volcano a lot these days. I don’t think people understand there is a difference between supporting a candidate’s ideas and seeing them implemented in our lifetime. I know Bernie can conceivably get the job as president. I’m not in any way convinced he can do the job.
Let’s say he wins. Yeah, let’s say he manages to overcome gerrymandering, voter suppression, ballot box tampering, foreign meddling, anyone who cowers at the mention of the ‘S’ word and Citizens United corporate donations and manages to get at least 270 electoral votes.
Yay! The revolution is won! You get health care. And you get healthcare. And youuuuu get healthcare. Everybody gets healthcare! Right?
Not so fast. A voter mandate doesn’t mean what it used to.
The healthcare for everyone isn’t a bad idea. I love this idea. I’ve fought for this idea. I’ve seen a lot of political capital out behind it and still watched it fail.
In order to enact wide sweeping health care reform, you need vast budget restructuring, you need tax code restructuring, and you need the votes in the House and in the Senate.
Let’s say he has the votes in Congress to push through the greatest welfare program (actual welfare…of the people) since FDR. The ACÁ barely eeked through Congress with 60 Senate Dems and an overwhelming House majority, and even then the ACA was far from a healthcare overhaul. It wasn’t even Obamacare. Obama didn’t push anything through. He let Congress write the bill so they’d take responsibility of getting it passed. (After all, the legislature is the branch of government tasked with gathering information, creating a legislative intent record that will support the legislation in the event of litigation, and using its collective wisdom to create the best outcome for their constituents.)
But forget about even that. Let’s say everyone ignores their corporate and industry donors and backs Bernie. Medicare for all passed.
Wooo! You get healthcare. And you get healthcare! And you…you get the picture. Only not so fast.
Now we have to implement it. We have to make sure that states join in. That the medical establishment joins in. That corporations pay their taxes and the budget can be restructured to accommodate even one of Bernie’s programs. Is there enough money? Yes. Collecting it and distributing it is a whooooole other ballgame.
Do you think stakeholders are going to just roll over and die? The healthcare system in this country is so broken in part because of the parasitic nature of all these groups who’ve made hand over fist in obfuscating the system. Everyone who is currently making money off the system is not going to suddenly say, “You got me. Fair play! I give in.”
No, they’re going to sue. They’re going to ask the courts to stop the law from getting implemented. Federal courts are already bogged down with too many cases, not enough judges, and this issue will filter its way up to…that’s right…the Supreme Court.
Oh wait, that’s stacked right now, isn’t it? And aren’t those (mostly) guys in that job for life? Yeah. You’re right. It is and they are.
And this is Bernie’s most popular idea. It’s the one he has support for. It’s the reason liberals are going gaga. Because they think Bernie can do this single-handed. They don’t see how the entire system works and every part has its influence. Even if it were true that anyone could get this done single-handedly, what about Bernie makes them think he’s the one to do it? And after all that to just get healthcare reform through, he’s also going to fix the environment and immigration and the military-industrial complex and roll back the deficit and still keep the economy going? The only way FDR was capable of doing any of that was in serving four terms, threatening to add additional Supreme Court Justices to the bench, using the biggest worldwide economic crisis known to man, and eventually turning over the entire U.S. economy over for the war benefit.
I’ll give Bernie this. He worked for community healthcare systems. I’ve sat on the young professionals board for EL Río Health in Tucson. I know the good these organizations do. I’ve been a recipient of them. I have seen the worst of healthcare in Arizona and a lot of the healthcare in the rich, liberal state of New York. I know the good these clinics do.
But even then, Bernie never led the charge. He pushed for the idea behind closed doors so he could publicly say that he wouldn’t support anything less than a public option. He did less than he could so he could register his complaint for posterity. That isn’t the work of a brilliant leader. That’s the work of a man who wants to be remembered in the credits.
I’m not trying to lower morale or voter turnout. My record speaks for itself. I very much want change. I understand how the law works. I understand how government works. I understand how tax structure works. I understand how political finance works. I understand how elections work. I understand how voters think. I know my history. I know that liberals are the last to admit their blind spots because they are so very, very pleased with themselves for having won the battle of who has the best ideas.
Until I moved to NYC, I didn’t have that great of an appreciation for the bubble in which the East Coast liberal elites live. After being lectured by white people who’ve never lived west of Philly or south of the Mason Dixon line on race and gender politics, on ethnicity and the border wall, on poverty and mental illness, on how the rest of America thinks, and on the stupidity of most people, I clearly see how certain realities don’t permeate the blood-brain barrier for them. They know they’re right, and anyone who doesn’t see it is less. And by anyone, they mean people who went to safety schools and state schools and community colleges and people who do physical labor and work at CVS or drive Ubers or stand in a taco truck making the street meat they eat as they pour out of bars in the early morning.
East Coast liberal elites won the modern day socialist revolution and then turned on their compatriots in the rest of the country. They talk up the plight of poor people of color while talking shit about the poor white people. They’ve picked the enemy and it’s anyone who isn’t them. And they’ll use people of color to their advantage when it suits them. How many of them wanted Kamala Harris for President because she would be a good “visual?” How many of them still talk about the black vote or the latino vote like it’s some monolith they can own. When do the rest of us stop being 3/5’s human to them?
They can regurgitate what they’ve read on Daily Kos or heard on some angry podcast that fits into their echo chamber. They can post memes with the flick of a finger. But they rarely impress me with original thought. And they can never take the process from point A to Z on how this revolution will play out. And they cannot connect the dots between failed populist movements in other countries that led directly to military dictatorships (at least not without blaming the CIA for everything under the Sun and beyond).
Beyond being a lawyer, beyond my history with politics and health care reform, I have a degree in International Studies with a focus on economic development that I crafted from scratch because I needed to understand a whole lot at a young age. Beyond that, I’m an “expert” in game theory, behavioral economics, trade policy and world political movements. Beyond that, there are things I know from growing up in a poor Mexican Democrat super majority county in a white Republican state while simultaneously growing up in a third world country amongst the poorest masses and the richest, most powerful men in Mexico.
I want change. I’ve put my name on the line for it. That is why it frightens me so much that we would give all this potential to Bernie just for him to fuck it up and make it so when the pendulum swings back, we are seriously and permanently fucked in our lifetime. Because those are the stakes.
If that doesn’t pop your bubble, I don’t know what will. Except maybe just mentioning the Clintons…so you can foam at the mouth like a bunch of Pavlovian dogs. When Orwell talked about the two minutes of hate in 1984…he was describing people a lot like that.