From time to time, I hear critiques of Bernie Sanders and some of the policies that he and Elizabeth Warren have espoused like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal as being unattainable and therefore bad politics. I disagree, in fact, lofty goals are inspirational. Look at John Kennedy’s goal of putting a man on the moon within a decade. That feat was thought unattainable by many and NASA scrambled to make it happen, but we did it.
When we elected President Obama with promises to fix our broken health care system, many thought he would fail since Bill and Hillary Clinton had failed to do it more than a decade earlier. My friends and I quickly learned that his proposal was a stretch as far as Congress was concerned.
We worked hard to convince Congressman Henry Cuellar, who represented Guadalupe County at that time, to support the bill which he finally did though he threw his share of monkey wrenches into the mix. Democratic senators like Max Baucus from Montana held up the bill for months while stripping it of some of the best parts. We didn’t get everything we wanted but the Affordable Care Act was an improvement over what had existed before.
Had our Republican governor not failed to take advantage of the tens of millions of dollars available to expand Medicaid, tens of thousands of Texans could be healthier and happier today.
During Obama’s presidency, we learned that pre-emptive compromise intended to get the support of Republicans early in the process was a failure because they just moved the goalpost further off center. Now that many of us have turned our attention to electing a president to replace the one currently in office, some folks seem to believe that the only important issue is winning the election and therefore we should choose a candidate that at least some who voted for Trump will vote for.
Oddly, they seem to think that those are folks who are somewhere in the middle on most policy issues. The reality is that those voters who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 then voted for Trump in 2016 wanted to “shake things up.” They didn’t vote for Trump as much as they voted against Hillary Clinton, whom they viewed as an establishment candidate.
Preemptively compromising on a centrist/establishment candidate like Joe Biden or Mike Bloomberg, etc. isn’t going to win over those voters, they’ll just go for another four years of Trump trashing our democracy, violating the constitution, and lining his own pockets with public funds.
Instead, we need an inspirational candidate who talks about the possibilities that can be achieved. Joe Biden has essentially campaigned on bringing another four years of the Obama presidency. First, Biden is no Barack Obama and second, at least the people I talk to think it’s time to move forward not have more of the same.
Voters who switched to Trump after voting for Obama wanted to shake things up, because they felt that our federal government was more responsive to big business than working class people and they’re absolutely right even if their prescription for fixing it was totally wrong. Giving them a candidate that doesn’t offer a big change in how our government works isn’t going to bring them back.
Early voting started yesterday, vote for the candidate whose message inspires you and your family because that is the candidate who will inspire others. For me, that’s Bernie Sanders.