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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/9/20

To Save America, Top 3 Planks Bernie Supporters Must try to Get into the Democratic Platform

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Bernie Sanders bowed out of the race for president on Wednesday, but he made it clear that he still leads a national movement. Sanders has a substantial delegate count, of 914 as I write. Although he has concluded that he won't reach the 1,991 needed to win the nomination, his name will remain on the ballot during the remaining primaries, to be held after the national quarantine ends. His delegate count could still grow, therefore, and this would be a good thing. He would not be tearing down Joe Biden, the clear nominee, and giving the Trump campaign talking points. But he would be keeping his movement within the party going.

Joe Biden, with regard to positions and entanglements, is not very different from Hillary Clinton, and we know that Trump defeated her by running to her left. He will do the same to Biden, and given Biden's ties to Wall Street, Big Oil, and the pharmaceutical industry, he will have some powerful ammunition. (Trump is tied to the same forces, but lies about it particularly effectively). Biden is not as easy a mark as H. Clinton, though, since he polls well with the white working class, and African-Americans are much more enthusiastic about him than they were about her.

Still, the Democratic Party would benefit from a party platform to the left of where Biden usually comes down, and shifting the party to the left is now the mission of the Sanders movement. The Justice Democrats need to work to insert three key planks into the Democratic Party platform at Milwaukee, using the leverage of Bernie's bank of delegates.

Platforms matter more than most people realize.

In his dissertation, political scientist Lee Payne looked at party platforms over 25 years and click here found that their commitments were fulfilled 80 percent of the time.

Plank Number 1:

Bernie Sanders on Medicare for All.

Sanders' campaign says,

    "Create a Medicare for All, single-payer, national health insurance program to provide everyone in America with comprehensive health care coverage, free at the point of service.
    No networks, no premiums, no deductibles, no copays, no surprise bills. Today, more than 30 million Americans still don't have health insurance and even more are underinsured. Even for those with insurance, costs are so high that medical bills are the number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States."

Sanders' mission has gotten some unforeseen help from the novel coronavirus. As of March 29, there was an 11-point jump in support for single-payer health insurance, that is, for medicare for all. A solid majority of 55 percent of Americans now support it. Support had been that high at the beginning and middle of 2019, but the pro-Big Pharma ads had eroded support until late last month.

One reason for the change is that the current health insurance system ties health care to employment for the most part. For the unemployed, in Republican-ruled states, the state typically has refused to top up the Federal funds for the Affordable Health Care Act or ACA, making it expensive. This step was a way for GOP governors and state houses to sabotage the program.

Now there are going to be a lot of people who lose their health insurance when they lose their jobs. And there are going to be a lot of of unemployed people who can't afford the ACA in the red states. If we go to 30% unemployment, as some analysts forecast, the fear of voters that they might not be able to their current health care providers is going to be rather outweighed by the prospect that they might lose their job-connected health care anyway.

Plank Number 2:

Bernie Sanders' Green New Deal

His campaign says the goals are

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Juan Cole is an American academic and commentator on the modern Middle East and South Asia.  He is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. Since 2002, he has written a weblog, Informed Comment (more...)

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