2020-04-03 Medicare for All support surges to 9-month high in new poll after coronavirus exposes horrors of private insurance
‘How can it be that we spend 18% of our GDP on healthcare but still lack the beds, masks, ventilators, gowns, gloves, and test kits we need to adequately respond to this crisis?’ asked Sen. Bernie Sanders.
he survey (pdf), released Wednesday, found that 55 percent of U.S. voters support Medicare for All, a nine-point jump since February. While support for Medicare for All is highest among Democratic voters at 75%, a majority of Independents—52%—also support the policy, along with 31% of Republicans.
Bernie Sanders and Wisconsin Democrats want to delay the stats e’s April 7 primary to keep voters safe, But, so far, the election’s still on.
2020-03-30 'Seize It': Progressives Urge Philadelphia City Govt. to Take Hahnemann Hospital After Owner Demands $1 Million a Month in Rent
Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday joined a rising chorus of progressives demanding the city of Philadelphia seize the shuttered 500-bed Hahnemann hospital from its owner, investment banker Joel Freedman, and reopen the facility to handle the coming peak infections of the coronavirus in the city.
"The city should reopen Hahnemann hospital immediately," Sanders said in a tweet Monday at midday. Sanders, who supported efforts to stop the hospital's closure in July 2019, including rallying with the facility's supporters.
2020-03-26 ‘Absurd and wrong’: Watch Bernie Sanders deliver a fiery Senate floor speech admonishing GOP’s relentless efforts to ‘punish’ poor people
In a fiery speech on the Senate floor Wednesday ahead of the chamber’s passage of a massive coronavirus stimulus bill, Sen. Bernie Sanders ripped his Republican colleagues for doing everything in their power to ensure that poor and vulnerable people receive less financial assistance than they desperately need in this moment of nationwide crisis.
2020-03-22 Bernie Sanders could still make an all-out case that only his social welfare philosophy can meet the crisis of coronavirus
Sanders could prove this entire analysis wrong by seizing the greatest opportunity that has yet been gifted to him, even more than the Biden debate. Relegating the primaries to the fog of confusion where they belong, he could still make an all-out case that only his social welfare philosophy can meet the crisis of coronavirus and other similar breakdowns. He could throw the gauntlet to the elites, forget the last three months as a bad dream, and ask to meet them at the (virtual) convention with the result up in the air. He could mobilize his tens of millions of passionate adherents by making them think beyond the logistics of pure electoral politics. By not bowing down to party pressure to concede to Biden and endorse him soon, he could yet reshape the entire landscape of the general election, with his movement at the front and center of it.
2020-03-13 Sanders Says Coronavirus 'A Red Flag for Current Dysfunctional and Wasteful Healthcare System'
Sen. Bernie Sanders delivered a speech on Friday addressing "the lessons the nation can learn" from the coronavirus outbreak, which has intensified progressive demands for Medicare for All, paid sick leave, and other policies that would provide health and economic security for all.
Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, noted that America's for-profit healthcare system has left tens of millions of people in the U.S. uninsured or underinsured in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, highlighting the need for a system that covers everyone as a right.
Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden have radically different policy platforms and political strategies, but for many voters, the most pressing concern is which of these two men has the best shot of beating Donald Trump in November.
Fundamentally, we worry that Biden is not running an inspiring campaign that can win. His message to struggling young people is “give me a break” — things aren’t so bad. His message to climate activists and immigration activists who challenge his positions is “go vote for someone else.” And his message to Wall Street is “nothing will fundamentally change.”
The only Democrat to win the presidency since Bill Clinton was Barack Obama. Obama ran significantly to Hillary Clinton’s left in the primary, inspiring a generation with his vague but uplifting message of “hope and change.” Moderate Democrats who didn’t run inspiring campaigns, such as Al Gore, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton, didn’t fare well.
Bernie Sanders, like Obama, has built a massive grassroots campaign with hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic, largely young, volunteers. This volunteer base will be critical when it comes time to register new voters, including young people, Latino voters, and working-class people who can swing elections in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan (where, despite Biden’s primary victory, voters under fifty preferred Sanders by overwhelming margins).
2020-03-12 ‘In a dark time, the eye begins to see’: The 2020 Bernie campaign represents a fight that must continue
No matter who wins the Democratic presidential nomination, many millions of people will refuse to unsee what has become all too clear. On the verge of spring 2020, we can see what we’re up against: A crowing media establishment, eager to relegate the Bernie Sanders campaign to the political margins.
A gloating Democratic Party establishment, glad to rally around Potemkin candidate Joe Biden and extol his carefully crafted façade. Overall, interlocking systems based on greed and corporate power instead of shared resources and genuine democracy.
On Tuesday night, there was no mistaking the smug joy of studio pundits and Democratic Party operatives on networks like AT&T-owned CNN and Comcast-owned MSNBC. Meanwhile, the New York Times rushed into print yet another all-out attack piece masquerading as a “news” article about Sanders. Dominant media have routinely slanted coverage to make Sanders look bad, often bypassing context and skewing facts.
Just as the Bernie phenomenon, in general, is a product of working people organizing, so too is his expanded focus on racial issues in 2020. Activists of color pressed Bernie, and to his credit, or maybe just to his political ambition, he listened. Bernie has come out more strongly against the military-industrial complex, the prison industrial complex, and the deportation machine.
Bernie’s record is far from perfect on race—whether that be war and peace, criminal justice or immigration. He should be held accountable for his past and future actions, which of course were establishment enough to get him this far.
But Bernie is radical in comparison to the striking racism of his opponents. Amy Klobuchar, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Mike Bloomberg all built their careers largely on the criminalization, policing and incarceration of people of color.
In reality the American ruling class, including the Democratic and Republican party establishments, and their media accomplices, fear of Sanders has nothing to do with Russia. They fear him because his campaign is based on a direct appeal to the interests of American workers, the vast majority of the American people, and is opposed to their interests.
First, they fear that as president Sanders would actually try to enact his capitalist reformist program, which would – to a very limited degree – cut across their interests and power. That program includes legislation to curtail the power of Wall Street and finance capital; reduce the power and wealth of the gigantic pharmaceutical and health industry through universal government medical insurance; and somewhat reduce the power of the military-intelligence system by reducing military expenditures and ending middle east wars.
Second, they fear him because they fear the American working class and he does not fear it; he considers it his political base. His entire campaign and politics is based not on identity politics predicated on which religions, ethnicity, gender, or race people belong to; it is based on the opposite premise of uniting the vast majority of Americans based on their common identity as workers their common interests as members of the working class.
Third, they fear him because as president it would be within the scope of his politics, or those of his supporters, to mobilize extra-congressional working class mass support for his limited program including mass demonstrations like a ‘march for social equality’ or a ‘march for universal health care’ or a ‘march against war’ in Washington.
This in turn might unleash social forces far beyond anything Sanders might intend, as his mission is to secure limited social reforms within capitalism.
The first such narrative boils down to Red baiting. The Atlantic, recently gave space for the right-wing pundit David Frump to call Sanders a “Marxist of the old school of dialectical materialism”.
A second form of “liberal” anti-Sanders media and political bias is the constant narrative that Democratic primary voters must choose between a candidate like Sanders who embodies their values and policy preferences and a candidate who can beat Trump.
A third variant of anti-Sanders “liberal” media conduct is the constant claim that Medicare for All will destroy peoples’ existing health insurance and bankrupt the nation.
A fourth form of “liberal” Democratic bias against Sanders is the recurrent media suggestion of basic underlying similarity between Trump and Sanders, with the latter portrayed as the Democrats’ “own Donald Trump.” That description comes from Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin, who recently attacked “Sanders and his fleet of Bernie Bros who slash and burn, attack and smear other Democrats” in a column ripping on the “disaster” that is Sanders’ “Trump-like campaign .”
More than ever, Bernie Sanders is public enemy number one for power elites that thrive on economic injustice. The Bernie 2020 campaign is a direct threat to the undemocratic leverage that extremely wealthy individuals and huge corporations constantly exert on the political process. No wonder we’re now seeing so much anti-Bernie rage from leading corporate Democrats — eagerly amplified by corporate media. In American politics, hell hath no fury like corporate power scorned.
But should Bernie Sanders manage to evade the snares, traps and minefields laid for him by the Democratic Party elites, should he miraculously become the party’s nominee, the game of least worst will radically change. All the terrifying demons that inhabit Trump will be instantly exorcised. But unlike in the biblical story of Jesus driving the demons into a herd of swine, they will be driven into the senator from Vermont. Trump will become the establishment’s reluctant least worse option. Sanders will become a leper. The Democratic and Republican party elites, joining forces as they did in the 1972 presidential election, will do to Sanders what they did to George McGovern, who lost in 49 of the 50 states.
2020-02-16 What “That’s Not Realistic” Really Means: Bernie Sanders, Social Democracy, and Capitalist Apologetics
The most obvious translation of “that’s not realistic” is this: we the people are powerless to change things. Of course, most of those who use the “unrealistic” fallacy conveniently have power and money, which has disillusioned them from imagining any possibilities for transformative changes, and blunted their ability to feel empathy for those less fortunate. It makes zero sense to call Sanders’ policies unrealistic when nearly all of Europe maintains core social democratic institutions with mass public approval.
The question of “how can we pay” for programs like Medicare for All, free college, debt relief, and a Green New Deal always comes up. This is hilarious, of course, because no one asks the elites to justify the annual 750 billion US military budget. Drastically cutting the military budget and redistributing the surplus is how you pay for these social programs.
Another accurate and blunter rendering of what the unrealistic/unelectable memes mean would be: “Don’t ask for too much. Know your place, peasants.” Notice how you don’t see poor people claiming that socialism or “democratic socialist” policies are unrealistic. I’m fairly certain slaves were told their freedom was unrealistic, the suffragettes were told their right to vote was unrealistic, JFK was told by many of the “smartest” people that a moon landing before 1970 was unrealistic. We can go on and on.
2020-02-15 Bernie Sanders Can Beat Trump With His Liberal Vision for America. Primary Voters Know It
Primary Voters Know It. Sanders’ supporters believe his decades-long record of fighting for social and economic justice and criticizing the corrupt political establishment will turn out people in the general election who don’t habitually vote — a group that skews young, poor and non-white.
And, while non-voters skew slightly more conservative than voting Democrats on social issues, they not only support single-payer healthcare at higher rates, but 51 percent also want “a Democrat who will fundamentally change America.” Does that sound like anyone you know?
To his energetic and activated base, Sanders is that rare candidate who combines bold, progressive ideas with an actual path to electoral victory.
The Las Vegas-based Culinary Union (UNITE HERE Local 226) announced Thursday afternoon that they would not endorse a candidate in the Nevada Democratic presidential primary, days after escalating attacks on Bernie Sanders over his Medicare for All plan.
“We’re going to endorse our goals,” said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, the union’s secretary-treasurer, in a press conference Thursday. The goals include immigration reform (a majority of union members are Hispanic), living-wage jobs, and preserving the Culinary Health Plan, which the union and its members view as gold-standard coverage.
The non-endorsement ends days of rising tensions. Argüello-Kline said Wednesday that Sanders supporters “viciously attacked the Culinary Union and working families” in retaliation for their position. This sent every other candidate in the field rushing to the union’s side to condemn online harassment. Sanders on Thursday sought to lower the temperature, calling on his supporters “not to engage in bullying or ugly attacks.”
Culinary Union leadership ran into the problem outlined in prior Prospect reporting: there simply wasn’t a candidate for them to endorse.
It’s a “gentleman’s” agreement between elite media and their establishment guests—a courtesy major news outlets bestow upon former officials who get to pontificate and editorialize about today’s events with no worry they’ll be identified by their jobs today.
On Wednesday night, CNN’s Don Lemon hosted ubiquitous Bernie Sanders-basher Jim Messina—solo, without an opposing view—to slam Sanders and his Medicare-for-All proposal.
As his position for the nomination improves, Bernie Sanders has signaled that he wants to use the powers of the presidency to advance his agenda. His team is working up a series of executive actions that Sanders could take immediately upon entering office. If this sounds familiar to Prospect readers, that’s because we outlined just such a strategy, called the Day One Agenda, last fall. Lurking in existing federal statutes are a host of robust policies that could make progress on all sorts of issues, from climate change to financial regulation to health care. Other candidates, like Amy Klobuchar, have proposed an expansive Day One Agenda as well.
We now have a real sense of the popularity of using the tools of the presidency to make change happen. The progressive think tank Data for Progress decided to poll the Day One Agenda, asking the public about 29 different executive actions that the next Democratic president could take. The results showed that 21 of the 29 actions were looked upon favorably, with plurality or majority support. In other words, voters want the next president to use the authority granted to them by Congress.
Perhaps most notably, statistics and politics website Five Thirty Eight predicts that Sanders is the favorite to win in all 50 states, suggesting he will receive over 200 delegates in California alone – twice the total of any other candidate.
This is all the more surprising as Five Thirty Eight’s Editor-in-Chief Nate Silver is a conservative, describing his politics as lying between Mitt Romney and Gary Johnson. The site also has a history of downplaying or underestimating Sanders’ chances.
Four years after saying little on disablility rights issues, Sanders has emerged with the most comprehensive plan in the field.
[2020-01-31 Bernie Sanders’s Evolution on Disability Policy]( https://prospect.org/politics/bernie-sanders-evolution-on-disability-policy/}
With Senator Bernie Sanders surging in the polls, DNC chair Tom Perez has put forward a cartoonishly neoliberal cast of foreign policy hacks and corporate lobbyists to sabotage his nomination.
The Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund evaluated each candidate on four key environmental issue areas:
saving wildlife, protecting public lands, ensuring environmental justice and ending the climate crisis.
Senator Bernie Sanders Overall Grade = A Wildlife = B+ Public Lands = A- Environmental Justice = A Climate = A+
Senator Sanders has demonstrated a strong environmental record throughout his career, including having proposed the strongest plan to address climate change and being an original cosponsor of the Green New Deal. He has also voted in Congress, over the years, to protect wildlife and public lands, and has consistently opposed legislation that exempted the border wall from complying with U.S. environmental laws.
Though President Sanders could execute parts of this agenda on his own, much of it would require Congress. How could it pass, given Republican extremism and likely pushback from even a Democrat-controlled House and Senate? The question poses a serious problem for any program that meets our challenge. And it is one Sanders is uniquely positioned to solve.
Sanders understands that change at this scale will require mass movements to pressure Congress and every level of government — and to change their composition. Americans isolated and atomized by cutthroat capitalism must engage in massive collective action. His political program isn’t just about policy, then, but about the capacity of ordinary people to participate in democracy.
Mark Mellman, the organization’s leader, said last week, “It’s deeply disturbing to find a candidate who claims to be ‘100 percent pro-Israel,’ opposed to BDS and a fighter against anti-Semitism surrounding himself with a number of surrogates and endorsers who hate Israel, support BDS and have repeatedly made anti-Semitic statements.”
It somewhat frightens me when I realize how many people watch and enjoy MSNBC, because it shows just how distracted people are getting from what are fairly obviously the most important issues in the world: climate catastrophe, the increasing power of the plutocracy, the threat of nuclear armageddon, the 2 million people in our prisons and the tens of thousands committing suicide each year.
These are, to be sure, extremely depressing, and watching Trump is like watching an insane alternate universe version of The West Wing where everybody is pure evil and has a screw loose. Hard not to want to stay glued to that. I understand why MSNBC, as a profit-seeking company, has chosen to focus on this bullshit rather than all the depressing stuff no one wants to hear about.
This is, of course, why I love Bernie Sanders so much. He has a way of hyperfocusing on what matters: people’s medical bills, the need for a Green New Deal, the rebuilding of the labor movement. He has this very satisfying contempt for issues that do not directly affect the conditions of working people’s lives. Yes, impeach the president, but can we talk about Medicare For All?
On Saturday, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) withdrew its support for a climate debate among Democratic primary candidates.
The LCV, in Saturday’s statement about the climate debate, declared its decision to be “in line with its values.” That’s fair: choosing to soothe the feelings of the shameless fossil fuel profiteers on Wall Street over fighting for the survival of the 99 percent does seem congruent with at least some of the organization’s “values.”
What kind of environmental group would prioritize the delicate sensibilities of Mayor Pete’s wealthy backers over debate among our leaders about how life on earth will survive the coming century? Answer: one that is deeply dependent on wealthy backers and the goodwill of neoliberal politicians.
Financiers are well represented on the national LCV board. Its chair is Carol Browner of the centrist Center for American Progress. LCV’s VP of governmental affairs, Tiernan Sittenfeld, once gushed to John Podesta in an email that she would “love” to work in the Hillary Clinton administration. Most of their contributions go to moderate-to-conservative Democrats like Bill Nelson, Kyrsten Sinema, Amy Klobuchar, and Beto O’Rourke — the kind of people who have been mostly an obstacle to environmental progress.
Klein and Thies aren’t the only NYLCV board members lobbying for fossil fuel infrastructure projects opposed by more serious environmentalists. Christian DiPalermo is a longtime lobbyist for Spectra Energy (which is now called Enbridge), the company seeking to build the Algonquin Gas Transmission through New York State as part of Atlantic Bridge, a much-criticized pipeline system. The hardly radical Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) has called Atlantic Bridge a “serious threat“ to wildlife, wetlands, and the quality of drinking water for millions of New Yorkers.
Other NYLCV members have even more intimate ties to the fossil fuel industry. Michelle Hook is vice president of public affairs for Danskammer Energy, which owns a power plant in the Hudson Valley and has been trying to get a new natural gas facility approved in the area.
The political ties of the LCV are even more shocking than the corporate ones. You’d expect the board members of a corporate-friendly environmental group to be made up of those whom Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf has called “soft climate denialists” — e.g., centrist Democrats — rather than the hard climate denialists of the proudly anti-scientific GOP. But NYLCV’s board includes backers of Donald Trump, whose environmental record is probably the worst of any American president in history.
Ed Cox, chair of the board of directors of NYLCV’s education fund, just joined the Trump campaign. And the big honoree at the NYLCV’s spring gala last year – also one of their board members – was Andy Sabin, a billionaire Trump donor who supports fracking and opposes serious environmental regulation, believing the EPA is guilty of “overreach.” Sabin was also a donor to Ryan Zinke, Trump’s disgraced former interior secretary.
In 2016 Bernie rejected corporate PAC money. The move played well with working people concerned about corporate influence in politics, and many Democrats have found it politically prudent to follow suit, including Harris and Booker.
But this presidential cycle, it’s becoming clear that officially rejecting corporate PAC donations is not synonymous with holding industry elites at arms’ length. While the widespread adoption of the practice may lead to decreased influence of corporate PACs themselves in the Democratic Party, it also functions as a means of dissimulation, allowing pro-business Democrats to strike a progressive pose while quietly maintaining bonds with wealthy individual donors.
Clearly Harris, Booker, Gillibrand, Klobuchar, and Buttigieg’s rejection of corporate PAC money is not a solid gesture of allegiance to the working class in the fight against capitalist power. It’s a compromise they have to make in the face of a credible challenge from the left. That challenge is posed chiefly by Bernie Sanders, who both refuses corporate PAC money and refuses to solicit donations from industry magnates — and has fared all the better for it. To her credit, Elizabeth Warren has refused to make that compromise.
[2019-04-04 Show Us the Money}( https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/04/2020-presidential-campaign-corporate-donors-fundraising)