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National Commentary

Figuring a Way to Lose

Sometimes Democrats lose big elections through their fault. Observers have noted that the Democratic elite managed to do just enough wrong in 2016 to help swing the election to Trump, and they are fearful that they might do it again. In 2016 they alienated progressives and reduced voter turnout.

If the Democratic elite’s moves weaken the campaign for president this time, we may have witnessed exhibit A at/during the Democratic convention this summer. One questionable move was to provide significantly more time as convention speakers to Trump-dissident Republications than to Democratic progressives.

Many fearful Democrats doubt that the number of Republicans voting for Biden is remotely close to the number of progressives who need to be persuaded to vote for Biden.

And yet there was another more problematic issue at the convention. Despite the popularity of Medicare for All among Democrats and Independents, the Democratic platform mentions the policy only once and does not endorse it.

There’s no such thing as a Biden Republican, which means defeating Trump is all about Democratic turnout.

Dissenting Democrats sent their message to Biden by voting “no” on a party platform that fails to make a clear commitment to developing and instituting a single-payer “Medicare for All” health care system. They did not have the critical mass to block the platform. But that did make morally sound and politically practical arguments for the bolder approach supported by 69 percent of all Americans and 88 percent of Democrats.

According to many public health advocates, continuing to insist that the Democratic Party take a clear stand for Medicare for All is not only the morally right thing to do; it’s also good politics in 2020, as polling clearly shows.

A new Hill-HarrisX Poll shows support for Medicare for All has remained consistently strong over the past two years. Sixty-nine percent of registered voters in the April 19-20 survey support providing Medicare to every American, just down one percentage point from an Oct. 19-20, 2018 poll, and within the poll’s margin of error. Support among independent voters was steady at 68 percent.

It’s incredible that Democrats—or rather their elite leaders—are rejecting universal health care when the folly of relying on insurance through the job has been such a disaster. Between February and May, 5.4 million workers lost their health insurance when they lost their jobs.

Instead, the Democrat elite is chasing rainbows.

Recent polling data continue to show the electoral folly of cultivating so-called Biden Republicans while damaging the turnout prospects from the Democratic Party’s progressive base.

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In a poll taken between August 20 and 22, after the Democratic National Convention wrapped up, CBS found that just 5% of self-identified Republicans said they plan to vote for Biden in the November election; 93% said they were planning to vote for Donald Trump. That’s lower than the 8% of Republicans who voted for Obama in 2008, the 6% of Republicans who voted for Obama in 2012, and the 7% of Republicans who voted for Hillary Clinton.

According to journalist David Sirota, three things stand out in this new CBS poll: 1. Biden has a solid overall lead (good!) 2. Trump has a disturbingly big lead among independents (bad!) 3. There’s no such thing as a Biden Republican, which means defeating Trump is all about Democratic turnout.

So the Democratic elite is playing with fire by not doing all it can to get progressives to turn out.

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