Some Campaign Ammo (And Maybe Some Venting)

As I write this the forecast is that Hurricane Florence is headed my way. Because I am some sixty odd miles inland, I will not get a direct hit nor do I have to worry about storm surge. The loss of power and/or flooding is the worst case scenario but nonetheless the real possibility of either could severely impact my ability to write and post. With Friday and Saturday being “dark days” and my desire to stay at least somewhat timely if you don’t see a posting on Sunday I could be down for a bit. Hopefully not, but for now let’s explore.

Health care is tracking as a major issue motivating voters this cycle and it plays right into the Democrats’ strength. The Republicans have been sabotaging health care for nearly a decade. They did all they could to stop the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) and since have been on an all-out mission to see it fail. They didn’t care how many premature American deaths they caused, they just wanted a political victory. Republican governors and state legislators by and large refused Medicaid expansion even though the federal government was picking up 100% of the cost for the first three years and 90% thereafter. They literally turned millions of dollars away and killed citizens.

Once Trump got in office coupled with the control of both chambers of Congress and all the executive branch agencies they threw “grenade” after “grenade” at Obamacare. Despite all that the number of uninsured is exactly where the architects of Obamacare said it would be in 2018. Imagine what it could have been if sabotage had been replaced with cooperation and constituent service.

When New Jersey’s Democratic legislature was coupled with a Democratic Governor something “magical” happened; 2019 Obamacare premiums are dropping by 9.3%. Better access to health care and a dropping cost of it. That is something for 2018 Democratic candidates to run on in all 50 states.

Women are the key to sufficient Democratic turnout to win in 2018; younger women in particular, but women in general. On January 21, 2017 America saw its largest national street protest ever. The organizers were women as were the vast majority of the participants. Women constitute the largest block of angry American voters. Democrats can’t win without them. In 2016 Hillary Clinton won the overall demographic but lost white women by a small margin of 53-47%. Turn that sub-demographic around and you will change a lot of Democratic losses into Democratic victories. Young people historically have a terrible turnout rate. Improve on that and the Democrats will benefit tremendously. I think both of those are doable in 2018.

Women are the caregivers in our society. Regardless of station in life women tend to have a huge maternal instinct. Trump shows no respect for women and in addition to that he has shown a disregard for the welfare of non-Caucasian children as evidenced by his border antics. The family separation at the border and tearing apart of families hasn’t played well especially with women including those who normally vote Republican or simply don’t vote at all. If you want to get people to vote, anger them. Taking health care away and separating children will do it almost every time.

The Trump administration has illustrated its incompetence in countless way but perhaps none more glaring than its debacle at the southern border. In a naked effort to discourage non-Caucasian refugees they intentionally failed to adequately staff border crossing immigration facilities in many cases effectively forcing asylum seekers to cross illegally. That made them “criminals” making separating them from their children easier to justify to Bubba. They also changed the rules; fleeing gang and/or domestic violence were no longer valid reasons to seek asylum. (To parody a current television commercial I guess they wanted people to stay home to be raped, abused and then killed.) The real objective of the Trump administration was to make fleeing to the United States less preferable than almost certain death. That is making America great?

When the federal courts finally called them out on their practices the net result was that they were unable to reunite hundreds of children they illegally separated from their parents with said parents. Why Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar aren’t in jail for contempt of court is beyond me.

Like most Americans I am pro-Israel. However there is no denying that the Palestinians have some legitimate arguments. Israel is older than me and I’m a senior citizen. Few Americans are still alive who remember Palestine. In the wake of World War I England, France and the United States carved up the Middle East to satisfy the desires of oil companies with total disregard of the denizens. Just after World War II the allies allowed the creation of the Jewish state of Israel which ended up displacing a lot of non-Jewish residents of the area. Resolving the differences has eluded the world for about 70 years now and the Trump administration has removed any American credibility of being an honest broker in the region.

I’m not going to propose a solution here (or most likely anywhere else) but I will declare that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and “moving” our embassy from Tel Aviv to there was a major mistake. Now we have added insult to injury to the Palestinians by closing down what was effectively their embassy in Washington. I’m not asking the Trump administration to abandon Israel but how does the world’s mightiest nation act as a much needed honest broker when it clearly takes a side and insults the other?

Well that’s enough tips and venting for now. I have to go prepare for Florence’s arrival. Hopefully I’ll “see” you on the other side of it.

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