John Atcheson, The Smirking Chimp - July 29, 2019

"...Which brings us to “all Trump, all the time.” Trump is good at only one thing – dominating the news cycle. The fact that Democrats are complicit in it, by virtue of having no coherent agenda of their own, and that the mainstream media enables it, makes it easy for him."

... Democrats could and should be setting the agenda rather than reacting to Trumps’. But that would require them to abandon their centrist fantasy, and embrace programs that are popular with the majority of Americans. Or to be more accurate, it would require them to take on the corporations, rich folks and Wall Street types that they rely on for campaign contributions, by backing popular ideas like a wealth tax, the Green New Deal, and Medicare for All.

But they won’t take on their patrons, so instead, they’re running on how bad Trump is, and relying on capturing the “center” -- the same strategy that over the decades has turned them into a minority party.

Instead of spending their time and energy on telling us how bad Trump is they could be setting a winning agenda.

Here are the problems voters care most about, with the percent listing it as important:

  • The economy (70 percent), including jobs, wages, equity and opportunity;
  • Health Care (69 percent), including availability, affordability, and fear of losing coverage;
  • Improving the educational system (68 percent), with major concerns centering on affordability of college and crushing student loan debt.

Other high-ranking concerns include the climate crisis and environmental protection, a more rational and humane immigration policy, protection of social security and Medicare, protecting the integrity of elections, especially the corrosive role of money in politics, and to a lesser extent terrorism.

It’s worth noting that Republicans are manifestly on the wrong side of every single one of these issues, with the exception of terrorism – which as noted, is a relatively lower ranking issue for voters.

Let’s take a look at the Republicans’ signature economic initiatives -- tax cuts for the rich, and tariffs.

The results are in on the tax cut – the ultra-rich (including foreign investors) and corporations walked away with virtually all the benefits. There was no explosion of investment by corporations and wages continued the anemic increases that were occurring before the tax cut.

Trump’s tariffs cost Americans at least $22 billion through April, and the price will continue to go up – but the worst part is that many markets once dominated by American exports are gone for good.

Health coverage? Republicans have been punting on this issue for a decade now, and a significant majority of Americans trust Democrats more on this issue than they do Republicans. Medicare for All is popular with a majority of Americans, as is shoring up Obamacare. Progressive Democrats are making one mistake on health care. Vowing to outlaw private insurance is neither necessary nor wise -- or legal, for that matter. The increased efficiency of a public system would make them obsolete for all but the wealthiest people in any case, just as it is in Great Britain. ...
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