Saturday, July 1, 2017

If Democrats Behaved Like Republicans

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New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof once asked whether there was a double standard for women in American politics (duh). A related question: is there a false equivalence between Democrats and Republicans in American politics? Also, why does a growing share of America’s middle class vote Republican?

Imagine if it were the Democrats who proposed to take away health insurance coverage from 22-24 million working class people, who lied about their intentions to do so, then later argued that eliminating said coverage was fine because it reflected people simply choosing “to [not] buy something they don’t like or want,” who wanted to eliminate insurance subsidies that benefit low- and middle-income Americans to make space for a tax cut for rich people, who were O.K. with health insurers charging more or denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Imagine if it were the Democrats who favored eliminating the “essential health benefits” of the Affordable Care Act—a.k.a. “Obamacare”—allowing insurers to, among other things, deny coverage for mental illnesses. This, despite the fact that approximately 18 percent of American adults suffer from mental illnesses, which are also the leading cause of years lived with a disability.

Imagine if a Democrat had spent months campaigning on a health care plan that would be “terrific,” that would provide better coverage at lower cost and lower deductibles, then suggested she would sign a bill that raised deductibles and provided worse coverage for the average American.

Imagine if a Democrat ran as the ultimate anti-establishment candidate and vowed to “drain the swamp” of Washington elites, then promptly filled her cabinet with the very people she complained had too much clout in Washington.

Imagine if a Democrat ran for President based on her supposed success as a businesswoman, even though her actual business record was horrendous, then promised to run the country like her business. Also imagine that said Democrat continued to have financial stakes in her businesses, even after becoming President, but maintained that there was no conflict of interest.

Imagine if a Democratic President signed an executive order banning citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, but conveniently excluded countries where she had business ties.

Imagine if a Democrat supposedly struck a deal with an industrial equipment supplier to prevent manufacturing jobs from being outsourced, then did nothing when the company wound up outsourcing the jobs anyway.

Imagine if a Democrat pledged to defend dying industries like coal, garnering massive support from coal workers, but also pledged to limit regulations on oil and natural gas, effectively making coal jobs disappear faster.

Imagine if Democrats campaigned against globalization, but personally owned businesses that made crystal barware in Slovenia, vodka in the Netherlands, cufflinks and neck ties in China, suits in Mexico, and shirts in Bangladesh.

Imagine if a Democrat ran for the presidency with “absolutely no elective, appointive, or military public experience.

Imagine if Democrats told you that the ultimate arbiter of truth was the President of the United States, even though many of her statements had been independently judged to be “mostly false” or worse nearly 70 percent of the time.

Imagine if the President of Russia had attempted to influence the outcome of a U.S. election so that a Democrat would be elected president. Upon investigating the Russian interference, imagine if it were revealed that some Democratic presidential campaign members had lied about previous interactions they’d had with Russians. Also, imagine if the Democratic president—whose campaign itself was the target of inquiry—later fired the FBI Director in charge of the investigation.

Imagine if a Democrat had divulged top secret information to the Russian ambassador.

Imagine if a Democratic president’s leadership was so bad that only 22 percent of people all over the world were confident she would do the right thing when it came to international affairs. Also, that the Democratic president would only receive higher marks than her predecessor on this question from two countries, one of which was Russia.

Imagine if a wealthy Democrat ran for office as a champion of working class interests, yet had continuously stiffed, sued, and defrauded several working class people like plumbers and painters.

Imagine if Democrats spent months campaigning against the evils of Wall Street and big banks and promised they wouldn’t “let Wall Street get away with murder,” then quietly gutted financial sector regulations. Imagine, further, that the Democratic president later boasted at a campaign rally that she had hired the president of Goldman Sachs to come work for her.

Imagine if Democrats continuously proposed legislation that would significantly hamper workers’ ability to unionize, leading to lower wages and fewer options when it comes to health insurance and pensions (or no options at all).

Imagine if Democrats did all these things. Would you still vote for them?

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