Political pundit Ronald Brownstein warned that Democrats better change their ways and be more like Republicans if they want to win elections because progressive policies are too... something that can't win, even though every poll shows progressive positions to be very popular among voters. His piece in The Atlantic this week, Democrats Are Losing The Culture Wars is just more worthless establishment claptrap and hot air.
Particularly galling is how he conflates actual progressive issues with stupid "wokeness" that has been successfully deployed by Republicans and conservative Democrats to hurt people fighting for progressive issues. I'm in constant contact with almost 3 dozen progressive candidates, some of whom are outright socialists. I have never heard one refer to Hispanics as Latinx and I have never heard one use the phrase "defund the police" other than to either denounce the language or distance themself from it. Do Democrats need to move further right? No! Do they need better and more talented leaders? Yes, a million times yes!
On the other hand, each one of them is fighting to raise the minimum wage and taxes on the super-rich and lower prescription drug prices, the eligibility age for Medicare, the cost of child care, the cost of college tuition and the cost of housing. Earlier in the week I found this polling date on favorables and unfavorables of American politicians. I don't remember the firm but you will notice that almost all of our politicians are underwater with the voters. Leaving the Republicans aside-- no one likes them-- lets' look at the Democrats' net favorability. Only one has a net favorability-- and it isn't a politician that buys into Brownstein's centrist bullshit:
Pelosi- minus 19
Schumer- minus 11
AOC- minus 10
Sinema- minus 8
Kamala- minus 8
Biden- minus 7
Bernie- plus 3
Why do people like Bernie so much more than other political leaders? He's not an opportunist for one thing. He's a consistent fighter for Justice-- like Ertugrul-- not some shady, performative, transactional politician. This morning he e-mailed his supporters-- Bernie not Ergutrul-- about why he's calling for a worldwide COVID patent waiver. If the Democratic Party can't stand behind this kind of initiative because they're looking for a "centrist" position, who needs the careerists who dominate the party?
Since the start of the COVID pandemic almost two years ago, there have been almost 50 million cases reported in the United States and nearly 800,000 people have died. Worldwide, there have been 270 million cases and more than 5 million deaths.
Meanwhile the economic and social loss during this time has been unprecedented in modern history. Entire industries have suffered and millions of jobs have been lost. It has been an especially disruptive period for young people. Throughout our country, a majority of students have spent more than a full year in virtual learning while many others, especially those in lower-income areas, were unable to attend any classes. And the toll on mental health, especially among the younger generation, has been incalculable with levels of depression, anxiety, drug addiction and suicide attempts rising rapidly.
And with cases on the rise once again in the US and globally, and the emergence of the Omicron variant threatening to propel them much higher, many understandably are wondering when this painful moment will ever end.
That is the bad news and it cannot be sugar-coated. It is bad news.
There is also good news, however. The good news is that thanks to a $6 billion investment in taxpayer dollars given to companies like Moderna, vaccines have been developed that are safe, effective and prevent severe illness and death in almost everyone who takes it.
More than 71% of Americans eligible for the vaccine have received at least one dose, 60% are fully vaccinated and almost 90% of people 65 and up, the most vulnerable population, are fully vaccinated.
These vaccines have saved many thousands of lives in the United States and other wealthier countries.
But the reality is that while more developed nations have been able to purchase shots and get their people vaccinated, international efforts to get the rest of the world vaccinated have been woefully inadequate.
Right now, fewer than 3% of people in low-income countries have been vaccinated. Let me repeat that. Fewer than 3% of people in low-income countries have been vaccinated.
Making sure that every man, woman and child has access to the vaccine is not only the right thing to do morally but, as the threat of Omicron makes clear, it is also in our own self-interest.
That is because making sure that everyone, especially people in low-income nations, has access to vaccines is the best way to ensure that new variants cannot emerge from mass outbreaks. In other words, the entire global community is in this together. We are all safer when we are all vaccinated.
So how do we do that? Where do we go from here?
One of the first and most important things we can do is to support a temporary patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines that would allow countries to manufacture treatments locally. This would expedite the global vaccination effort, save lives and mitigate the risk of new variants emerging.
Needless to say, the pharmaceutical industry is not sympathetic to this effort. Despite having received billions from taxpayers to develop the vaccines, the drug companies remain more interested in increasing their profits than in saving lives. But let us be very clear. The goal of that taxpayer investment was not to make more money for already profitable drug companies. It was to crush COVID and save lives.
Imagine the progress we could make toward ending COVID if we put as much energy behind exporting the vaccine as we do exporting weapons of war.
Imagine the progress we could make restoring America’s standing in the world if we helped low-income countries vaccinate their people and led the world out of the pandemic.
A temporary patent waiver will unlock production of vaccines in developing countries, which is necessary to overcome shortfalls in supply and to ensure people have access to reliable vaccines.
The only way to end this pandemic once and for all is to increase vaccination rates and ensure new variants are unable to emerge.
And what we have got to say to the drug companies is that when millions and millions of lives are at stake around the world, yes, we will allow other countries to have these intellectual property rights so they can produce the vaccines that are desperately needed in poor countries.
As World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last year, “this virus does not respect borders.”
And regardless of our vaccination efforts here in the U.S., we cannot successfully combat COVID without supporting the efforts of other countries in our collective fight against the virus.