Government is the Solution, a Seismic Shift

A major shift in thinking has occurred since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, and the political ramifications are likely to be enormous.

At his inaugural in 1981, Ronald Reagan said, “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” This wrong belief has pervaded and controlled political thought for at least three decades and led to some very bad policies such as the bank deregulation that caused the financial crisis of 2008.

Recently, Republicans realized they have to actually develop a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, and people are demanding that some important features are available in a replacement plan. These features include allowing people with pre-existing conditions to get insurance, no lifetime limits, and allowing children under 26 to stay on their parents’ plans.

It gets even worse for Republicans. People are also demanding improvements such as more affordable premiums and lower copayments and deductibles.

For the first time in many, many years, there is a popular uprising where people are saying to the government, “fix this.” People realize government is the solution.

This is not to say that the government is the solution for everything. However, the right government policies can provide great solutions to some problems as illustrated by health care.

In point of fact the public enables the private, and now that people are realizing this, it signifies a seismic shift in our politics.

The Economic Policy Disaster

There was something missing in the coverage of the most recent presidential campaign—policy. The major networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC devoted only 32 minutes of airtime to policy issues from the start of 2016 until late October according to the Tyndall Report:

No trade, no healthcare, no climate change, no drugs, no poverty, no guns, no infrastructure, no deficits. To the extent that these issues have been mentioned, it has been on the candidates’ terms, not on the networks’ initiative.

Continue reading

Messaging Microcosm and Macrocosm

A recent vote in Montgomery County (MC), Maryland, illustrates the problem in microcosm that Democrats have with messaging.

This past November there was a proposal, Question B, on the ballot as to whether term limits should apply to County Council members and the county executive. A local Republican activist frustrated by the Democrats’ dominance on the Council pushed the proposal. In MC, 58 percent of the registered voters are Democrat, 19 percent are Republican and 22 percent are independent.

Clinton clobbered Trump by more than three to one in MC, 75 percent to 19 percent in the general election.

The local Democratic Party carefully researched Question B, and urged Democrats to vote against it. Their research was thorough and showed that when term limits were implemented, institutional knowledge was lost and that the influence of lobbyists and special interests increased.

So in a heavily Democratic area that defeated similar propositions twice before, Question B overwhelmingly passed with 70 percent voting for it and 30 percent voting against it.

Continue reading

Strong Stances, Good Messages

According to Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr., “Pollster Allan Rivlin has been offering a compelling presentation to Democrats, arguing that they lack a clear, comprehensible and convincing economic message. He’s right. It’s time they got one.”

Let me second, third and fourth that. Democrats have not been getting their message out for a long time. This has caused the Democrats to lose big in the 2010 and 2014 midterms, and to lose the most recent presidential election in the Electoral College. In contrast, the unified messages provided by the Obama campaigns in 2008 and 2016 have contributed to his wins.

Continue reading