If Trump Runs On Medicare-For-All, He Could Win
Yesterday, historian Harvey J Kaye tweeted a couple of paragraphs about America’s last great president. It’s worth reading if you missed it: “Yes, we have a lot to learn from FDR about how to confront the fascist threat in America: Running for President in the midst of the Great Depression in 1932, Roosevelt had come to see that the only way to save American democratic life was to radically enhance it— and he believed that most Americans had come to see that too. Unlike so many of his station, FDR did not fear Americans’ democratic impulses. He feared what might happen if they were too long thwarted, with Fascist Italy and Communist Russia as prime examples. In fact, two years earlier, on May 12, 1930, he had written to his friend John Kingsbury, a leading authority on social welfare, saying: ‘There is no question in my mind that it is time for the country to become fairly radical for at least one generation. History shows that where this occurs occasionally, nations are saved from revolution.’ And when Roosevelt did win the White House, he acted to encourage, empower, and mobilize Americans, especially working people, to join him in democratically harnessing the powers of government and making America ‘fairly radical for at least a generation.’
“Together, President and people redeemed the nation’s promise by initiating revolutionary changes in American government and public life. They subjected business and banking to public account and regulation; empowered government to address the needs of working people and the poor; organized labor unions, consumer campaigns, and civil-rights groups to fight for their rights and broaden and level the ‘We’ in ‘We the People;’ established a social security system; built schools, libraries, post offices, and parks all across country; vastly expanded the nation’s public infrastructure with new roads, bridges, tunnels, and dams; dramatically improved the American landscape and environment; and energetically cultivated the arts and refashioned popular culture (just think Swing Music). Moreover, while much remained to be done, they had imbued themselves with fresh democratic convictions, hopes, and aspirations— which enabled them confront and defeat Fascism overseas.”
Biden is no FDR, although he’s doing a much better job than I ever imagined he would. I didn’t consider voting for him, but now I actually am, not just because he’s the lesser evil but because he’s been, if not FDR or anything close, better than average. Dan Pfeiffer seemed upbeat about his chances to overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of his reelection because Trump is such an incredibly weak candidate. This happened after he published his piece, but just as he was writing it Trump was writing one of his own— a social media post meant to show he isn’t cognitively impaired by demonstrating how out of his mind and unfit for office he is:
“Trump,” wrote Pfeiffer, “is an incredibly flawed candidate presiding over a divided party. Political coverage tends to be simplistic and binary— if Biden is weak, Trump must be strong. But that’s not the case— there is ample evidence in the polling crosstabs and basic common sense that Republicans are about to pick a flawed nominee that could cost them a winnable election… [T]he one-sided political conversation imbues Trump with an image of strength he does not deserve. Balanced coverage doesn’t treat every event, utterance, and occurrence as bad news for Biden and a simultaneous stroke of strategic genius for Trump. The punditry is in danger of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. In the interest of balance, here’s a reminder of the many vulnerabilities of the near-certain Republican nominee.
He listed 4 reasons swing voters will be reluctant to cast their ballots for Trump.
1- A Candidate Getting Convicted is a BFD
“[I]ndictments,” he wrote, “have not impacted Trump to the degree many of us suspected. And disturbingly, 91 felony indictments may have helped him in the GOP primary. But a conviction is a different matter. A conviction would be an earth-shattering, game-changing cataclysm. The media environment would be dominated by the question of how long the former President would spend in a federal prison. The recent New York Times poll found ‘If the former president is convicted and sentenced— as many of his allies expect him to be in the Jan. 6-related trial held next year in Washington, D.C.— around 6 percent of voters across Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin say they would switch their votes to Biden. That would be enough, potentially, to decide the election.’”
2- Trump is Weaker Against Biden
“Similarly, the NYT poll found ‘A majority of swing state voters view [Trump] negatively. And the Times/Siena polls show that another Republican candidate, the former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, would outperform Trump against Biden by 3 percentage points in these six states. In a matchup that pits Biden against a generic Republican candidate, the Republican candidate wins by 16 percentage points.
3- The Big Lie is a Big Problem for Trump
“Trump has only one consistent core belief— that the 2020 election was stolen. He says it every day, everywhere he goes. He demands that other Republicans repeat his lies. The Big Lie is a loyalty test for Republicans— and it’s a massive political problem. Adherence to the Big Lie is one major reason the Republicans lost winnable races in 2022 and it may cost them again in 2024. The New York Times also ran an experiment in which they tested a generic anti-Trump Democrat against two hypothetical Republicans— one who tried to overturn the election and one who said ‘we should move on from the 2020 election.’ The candidate who suggested moving on from 2020 did 12 points better than the insurrectionist candidate. This makes intuitive sense for two reasons. First, campaigns about the future always do better than ones about the past. Second, most voters believe that Joe Biden won the 2020 election. According to a Monmouth poll from earlier this summer, 59% of voters— including 58% of Independents— say Biden won the election ‘fair and square.’ Election denialism is a problem almost entirely within the Republican Party. Pushing that absurd lie makes one seem like an extremist kook to a broad segment of the electorate. And Donald Trump will continue spouting it on a daily basis. He simply can’t help himself.”
4- The GOP is Divided
“First, in the Monmouth poll, one-third of Republicans disagree with Trump (and most elected GOPers) that the 2020 election was stolen. Second, the Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade drove a wedge within the Republican Party. Polling shows that approximately one-third of Republicans oppose the ruling. Finally and perhaps most consequentially, the Republican Party is divided over Donald Trump himself. According to a CBS News/YouGov poll, nearly 1 in 5 Republican primary voters say they won’t vote for Donald Trump if he is the nominee. If those voters stick to that pledge, Trump loses the election.”
Meanwhile, the Republicans have incredibly polarizing figures being considered as Trump’s running mate, crackpots like Kari Lake, Vivek Ramaswamy, Tucker Carlson, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Robert Kennedy Jr, even... Marjorie Traitor Greene.
In fact, in reviewing her creepy book, Lloyd Green noted it was more a case for Trump to pick her than an aspiration to join the ranks of any vaguely literate political writers. “Over more than 275 pages, the tome duly reads like an audition for the No 2 slot on the 2024 Republican presidential ticket,” he wrote. “The idea of being Trump’s vice-presidential pick is ‘talked about frequently and I know my name is on a list but really my biggest focus right now is serving the district that elected me,’ Greene told The Guardian in August. ‘But, of course, that’s up to [Trump]. But I would be honored and consider it … I’ll help him do whatever in any way I can.’”
Venom, score-settling, fiction, self-absolution, self-aggrandizement. Greene’s book, MTG, has it all. It is published by Winning Team, the publishing firm Donald Trump Jr co-founded. In an unforced error, the book was printed in Canada. So much for America First.
Greene lies about January 6. She claims Democrats abandoned the House chamber to the rioters and exited without resistance, in contrast to brave, gun-toting Republicans. Not so. Jason Crow, a former army ranger from Colorado, was among Democrats who stood their ground and helped members of Congress escape.
Greene offered no rebuttal. Like Trump, she embraces the insurrectionists who attacked Congress. She writes about visiting them in lock-up, calls the DC jail a gulag.
…Greene also posted to social media a photo in which she held a gun alongside images of the Democratic congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. The caption: “Squad’s worst nightmare.”
“I urge my colleagues to look at that image and tell me what message you think it sends,” Steny Hoyer, the then House majority leader said, pointing to the inflammatory post. “Here she is armed with a deadly assault rifle pointed toward three Democratic members.”
In her book, Greene does not address such escapades directly. Instead, she dumps on the Squad and revels in her liberation from committee work, which led to her repeated demands for roll call votes bringing the House to a crawl.
“With all my free time, I stayed on the floor for every bill I could and asked for recorded votes,” she recalls. “It became kind of my thing, shocking representatives on both sides!”
These days, after getting close to Kevin McCarthy while he was speaker, Greene sits on the House oversight and homeland security committees. At a recent hearing, she mistakenly suggested to Wray, the FBI director and a Trump appointee, that he works for the Department of Homeland Security. “I’m not part of the Department of Homeland Security,” he responded, evenly. Greene remained unmoved, viewing him as an ally of Joe Biden.
In MTG, Greene proudly admits calling Lauren Boebert, a Colorado congresswoman and rival rightwing rabble rouser, a “little bitch”. Greene has also reportedly referred to Boebert as a “whore.” Lesson: some people never leave middle school.
Purportedly, Boebert stole Greene’s thunder by plagiarizing and introducing as her own an article of impeachment Greene had already filed against Biden. In her book, Greene also accuses Boebert of being the driving force behind her expulsion from the rightwing House Freedom caucus.
Under Trump, retribution and vengeance are Republicans’ fuel. Greene wants to sit at his right hand.