A Dose of… Reality #1 – About Bernie and Hillary…

Some random examples of reality that too many “political junkies” seem reticent to accept:

Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic Primaries fairly and squarely. 

No one “cheated” and it’s ridiculous to believe that the system is “rigged” somehow. The democratic process chose Hillary Clinton as the nominee because that is what rank-and-file Democrats wanted. Sanders only won a scant few primaries. The only states he won handily, outside of Vermont and New Hampshire, were caucus states, which are, by far, the LEAST democratic ways t choose a candidate. I know there are some folks who believe caucuses are “very democratic” based on the way they look, but how could they be? They are held within a 2-3 hour window at a time when many people are working for a living. How can that possibly be “more democratic” than a process by which any registered Democrat who wants to vote can do so anytime within a 13-14 hour window? To claim it’s the best process defies logic, and yet, many people are arguing just that.

As for “rigging,” well, the votes are held by state officials in 57 different jurisdictions. How would it be possible for the DNC to “rig” so many primaries in favor of one candidate? The answer is, of course, that it can’t. It is simply not within the realm of possibility that the DNC (whom you also claim is horribly inept) could possibly “rig” 57 elections being held by state and local officials in thousands of separate jurisdictions. Besides, there is a very clear example of just how terrible they are at “rigging” an election in 2008. If you’ll recall, Hillary Clinton was a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination in that year, as well, until an upstart named Barack Obama ran the best campaign in at least the last 100 years and blew her out of the water.

The fact that Hillary won and Bernie lost is because Democrats liked her better. And the key reason for that is, Bernie Sanders ran one of the worst primary campaigns in recent memory. He crafted a stump speech when he announced and he stayed with that stump speech for about a year and a half. He is one of those people who says what he thinks “progressives” want to hear, but he offers no actual solutions. (And no – “free college” and “single-payer healthcare” don’t even state the problem, let alone offer a solution to anything. <<— another dose of reality.)

No, Hillary Clinton did not lose because she skipped Wisconsin.

I mean, for chrissakes, people; THREE key states were decided by less than one percent of the vote and there is ample evidence that Russian hackers may have interfered in those states and several others to make sure Clinton lost them. Also, there was little press, left, right or center, that covered just how bad Trump was, even though they all were obsessed with Hillary’s emails. Is it possible that she may have gained an extra 50,000 votes if she gave a rally in Wisconsin? Maybe. It’s possible, but not a given. However, there were many other factors that cost her at least that many votes, so why would anyone decide that her failure to visit the state was the deciding factor? For example, what about the 10 percent of Sanders primary voters who voted for Donald Trump? What about the seven percent of Bernie voters who voted for either Jill Stein or Gary Johnson? (Source) Those voters would have swung Wisconsin to Clinton, as well.

And by the way, how progressive are you if you can vote for Bernie in the primary and Trump in the general? Well, the following could explain that…

Closed primaries are the only way to go because the opposition can cheat in an open primary. 

Finishing my thought above, most people will assume that everyone who voted for Bernie in the primaries is a “progressive,” which makes it an abomination that anyone could possibly vote for what he stood for in the primary and vote for what Trump stood for in the general election. Therefore, it is possible that many of the 10 percent who voted that way were trying to defeat Hillary Clinton in the primary. They may have been Russian operatives, or Republicans who knew Bernie would be an easier target than Clinton. (Another dose of reality – he would have been a far easier target.) In other words, if you look more closely at the Wisconsin numbers, it’s possible to claim that many of the Bernie voters were actually Republicans or others who just didn’t want Hillary to win.

The Wisconsin Republican primary shows the same sort of shenanigans. Ted Cruz won it in a walk over Donny Trump, indicating that a lot of protest votes were cast, especially since it was already clear that Trump would win the nomination by April 5. Of course, all of this is pure speculation, but that’s the point. The parties themselves should choose their candidates and not be subject to outside influence. Primaries are not elections, per se. they are plebiscites used to choose who will represent the party in the General Election. Open primaries poison that process.

Hillary Clinton’s description of the Bernie Sanders diehards is remarkably accurate.

This photograph of a page from Hillary’s new book has been making the rounds:

It is not only a funny anecdote, but it is incredibly accurate. Everything the Bernie Stans said about Hillary and her alleged dishonesty was purely false. Not only that, but most of what Bernie Sanders was proposing was the stuff of which pipe dreams are made. Again, the issue with regard to healthcare is universal healthcare. “Single-payer” and “Medicare for all” are just one way to do that, but it’s not the only way to do so. In fact, the United States is now 35th on the list of countries ranked by health outcomes and only TWO of the 34 countries actually employ a single-payer system. In fact, the systems with the best outcomes all use a hybrid public-private system like that set up by the ACA as it was written, not passed.

The other Sanders pipe dream is “free college.”

Another pipe dream was “free college.” Yes, it’s ridiculous that so many young people graduate with massive amounts of debt. They should not have to pay one dime in interest on that money and no one, especially the government, should be making money from that. However, how is “free college” a solution to that? Last year, we spend more than $500 BILLION supporting public and private non-profit institutes of higher learning. (Source) Out of that, the federal government spends a bit more than $100 billion on grants and other financial aid. That would mean their budget would have to roughly quadruple to cover the costs of free college. Over a ten-year period, that would be an increase of roughly $4 TRILLION. You’ll need a new Congress and you’ll need progressives running the show in all 50 states for that to work. It’s not happening. The most you can hope for is free community college and doubling the federal budget on grants and other financial aid, and low or no interest on student loans.

There is another aspect of this that needs to be addressed, as well, though. One reason many students are saddled with so much debt is because they borrow way more than they need. If you walk on a typical college campus these days, and few are making do with $500 laptops and wearing jeans from Walmart. At the University of Arizona “bookstore,” they have an Apple store and a Lancôme counter. These kids are wearing their debt on their sleeves and too many of them are just hoping they’ll make enough to pay it all back later. In other words, the problem has several elements, neither of which will be fixed with “free college.”

“Free college” is one of those things that really makes “progressives” look bad. Yes, college should be more affordable and no one should be prevented from going because they lack the means. That is not the same as giving a college education away free to anyone who wants it. It would also serve to create a sub-class of colleges, suggesting that a private education is worth more because someone had to pay to get it. “You went to a free college” could be just like the stigma that currently attaches to community college these days.

One last dose of reality:

$15 an hour is not realistic as a national minimum wage.

People who live in large urban areas should be able to make at least $15 per hour because it is impossible to live on less than that. However, there are large portions of the country where that is not a realistic minimum wage and where it would cause major problems for small businesses.

That is just the real world. In New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, the minimum should probably be $20 per hour. That would be realistic. However, to have to pay a housekeeper at a small hotel in rural Arkansas or Alabama that much would probably put a lot of those places out of business. To imagine a McDonalds or Wendy’s franchisee in rural Missouri to pay that much to every employee and to raise the wages of every shift manager, as well, would cause the prices of the burgers to skyrocket, which would, ironically, make the $15 minimum wage a lot less effective. Hillary Clinton’s proposal was $12 per hour, with higher minimum wages in those areas with a higher cost of living. That was realistic. if we are using 1968’s minimum wage as a bellwether, which seems to be the practice, then the minimum wage should be about $11 to keep up. That makes $12 per hour a good minimum for most of the country.

 

There is your dose of reality for this week. Come back next week for more…


Also published on Medium.

9 comments

  1. Republicans may be the party of “No”, and Democrats are the party of “no ideas”. Owned by lobbyists. Don’t like minimum wage of $15? Write a bill tying it to cost of living for each area. Simple enough? Unless of course you only represent lobbyists, not the people.

    1. Um, genius? That is what Hillary Clinton proposed. She proposed a national minimum wage of $12, increased to $15 by 2022, and indexed to both inflation and the cost of living in a particular area. The Bernie Stans and unicorn progressives slammed her for it for more than a year. Like their (your) fixation on “single payer,” rather than “universal healthcare,” their (your) obsession with “$15” lacks both logic or principle. The minimum in NY, SF, LA and Chicago should be $15 – in fact, I’d argue it should be $20. However, $11-12 is sufficient in many poor states and regions, with $15 sending many small businesses into oblivion.

      With your two comments this morning, you have demonstrated the point of this article, which is, there is a strain of “progressive” who is not logical and completely inflexible, to the point of being illogical.

  2. What’s your problem Demopublicans? Don’t like single payer? Of “35 counties only two are single payer”? How many are non profit???

    Americans pay 50% more for healthcare and are tenth. TENTH. Tenth on the list for positive outcomes for procedures & surgeries. Administrative costs are over 40% (Obamacare attempted to limit them to no more than 20%), while in other developed countries with national healthcare they are 10-13%. Lobbyists for pharmaceutical companies helped Congress write the law to prevent the government from negotiating drug prices as they do in Canada. As premiums soar, doctor’s salaries haven’t. Obamacare also began implementing a pay for results vs. pay for service approach. As medical costs have risen, doctor’s pay hasn’t.
    The money is already in the system but insurance companies,  healthcare conglomerates & pharmaceutical companies own Congress & the president. Warren Buffet calls insurance costs for corporation’s employees a tapeworm that is much higher and damaging than corporate taxes. You can argue about who should pay, but the real problem is how much we pay no matter who gets the bill, or who can afford it.

    1. What is your problem, purist without a clue? I know the statistics about what the United States pays for healthcare and it is appalling. That is why I am all for universal health insurance and with making healthcare a right. Hell; I’m all for putting healthcare into the Bill of Rights, if that’s what it takes.

      We are 35th in the world in healthcare outcomes, not “TENTH.” And, of the 34 countries ahead of us, only TWO are actual single-payer systems, and they are at #18 and #30. Every other system, including the top systems in the world with the best outcomes, is a hybrid public-private system, with an emphasis on the private.

      You really know little about our system or the others, if you think “single-payer” is a guarantee of good healthcare. In a single-payer system, the federal government would appropriate money, which means Republicans, when they are in charge, will have the ability to “starve the beast.” They are also fields about privatization – look at how badly they want to privatize Social security and Medicare. Look back at history, and what Margaret Thatcher almost did to NHS in Britain.

      And BTW, the ACA didn’t “try” to limit administration to 15-20% – it DID it. It’s the law.

      I’m not against “single-payer,” per se, but it’s not the issue. The issue is universal access to healthcare. Get a clue.

  3. Why is it when Hillary Clinton expresses what is verifiable and true she still gets hammered by the media and the Professional Left? I do not have to read her book (although I plan to and have already pre-ordered it!) to understand that Bernie Sanders and his die-hard supporters who refused to vote for Clinton helped give us Donald Trump. Is it O.K. and acceptable that Sander’s had supporters who booed well respected Democratic speakers including Clinton herself at our Convention? At that point why was that acceptable? They should have been thrown out on their butts. She has a right to say what she feels in public, in writing, or not say anything at all. She is the most unfairly maligned person in the history of this country and the Internet has made the lies and smears and attacks easier and able to reach a wider audience. It is the Sander’s people who need to take a good hard look at their actions in negatively influencing the outcome of the past GE. Write a book about that!

  4. One other thing I think needs to be pointed out more. Hillary worked with the party regulars — particularly many superdelegates — for years on their concerns and their own elections. She helped raise money for them more times than we can count.

    Bernie becomes a top Democrat very late in the game without that network. But somehow all the delegates that had a mutually supportive relationship with Hillary for years were supposed to just drop her and vote for Bernie over ideology?

    Hillary had those primary votes to claim long before Bernie announced his run. The only way she wouldn’t have gotten them is to not run in the first place. To die-hard Bernie supporters that seemed like “cheating” or “rigging” but to anyone else it was really just being prepared under the accepted rules of the contest.

    Disclaimer: I would have been perfectly happy with Bernie as president but at no time have I ever seen how that was supposed to happen.

    1. Oh, I’m planning to give a dose of reality Weekly, so no doubt that would have come up sooner or later. And I’m with you; I would be happy w/Bernie as President, but he didn’t win.

  5. Way too many progressives are adopting Tea Party tactic – write ideological bills, wave your hands and say, “Let (enter name) do the details” and all will miraculously emerge. We laugh at the ignorance and anti-science views on the Right – and suddenly find it’s just as bad on the Left. We have people who don’t know HOW to write legislation but who won’t find people who DO so it can be passed. What if we say “Behold – let there be single payer” and leave the details undone? Well – there have to be tight analyses of the relationship between cost and coverage. Cost to us, the patients, costs to providers, costs to the government. What if it turns out that you CANNOT cover everyone at the same rate because there’s just not enough money to pay into the system for all the care we need? NOBODY knows that. CA Nurses made a stab at it – looked promising – but with a flat rate rather than graduated as ACA does, linked to your INCOME, then POOR people would be paying almost 4 times what they do now. And what if the money taken in cannot pay for hospital and clinic staff? Those DETAILS MATTER.You could well be left with an underfunded system OR an exploited body of poor people who inadvertently are subsidizing the rich. Being ideological and not focused on policy language based on FACTS is no more OK in single payer or free college than it is in climate denial.

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