Are the neoliberals beginning to lose their grip on the Democratic Party?
Remember this moment?
How about this moment?
Way to go at stimulating the progressive base, Hillary! Way to go at creating excitement with your voters.
Of course Hillary was just following in the footsteps of Obama and the rest of the establishment Democrats. Consider the public option.
But among the Democratic base, the public option was extraordinarily popular. Many liberals turned on the entire bill when that element was cast aside. And it wasn't just liberals. The option commanded substantial public support. Poll after poll showed it to be one of the more popular elements of health-care reform...
So its absence in the political discussion is a bit curious. And since the strong version of the policy was estimated by Congressional Budget Office to save more than $100 billion over 10 years, it would be a natural talking point in the budget debate. It would seem like savvy politics for eager Democrats to take up the public option again: Just as Republicans are going to need bills that respond to the problems that will crop up amidst the implementation of Obamacare, Democrats are going to want to be able to promote their own answers to the problems that will crop up in the first year.
Yes, just a bit curious. Just like Hillary's determination to not debate it.
And then Hillary lost the election to an insane clown.
And then Bernie Sanders became the most popular politician in America, in defiance of the Democratic establishment's wishes.
The Democrats appear to be struggling to cope with their election loss in November, and hold an approval rating at 36 percent, just a few points higher than Sanders’ disapproval rating. While there may not be much love for Sanders from Democratic party leaders, there is plenty of love outside the beltway.
It wasn't just one poll.
So when Bernie Sanders proposed Medicare-For-All, this happened.
The primary Medicare for All bill has more support in Congress now than it has ever before.
John Conyers' Medicare for All bill (HR 676), which he has introduced in each Congress since 2003, has seen a recent surge of new cosponsors -- 32 since March 8 and nine on April 3 alone. As of this writing there are 93 co-signers (and counting), representing more than 48 percent of the Democratic Caucus. This is the highest number of cosponsors ever, both in terms of members and as a percentage of the House Democratic Caucus. The count is up from just 62 cosigners -- 33 percent of Democrats -- in the last Congress, and an average of 37 percent since the bill was first introduced in 2003 (see chart).
This is an astonishing development for many reasons. Just a year ago the Democratic establishment was recklessly (and disingenuously) maligning the policy to help keep Sen. Bernie Sanders from winning the Democratic Primary.
It's only one issue, and it's only one measurement, but it just might be the first indication that the Democratic politicians could be getting nervous at the growing unrest at the grassroots.
Yes, the Democratic insiders continue to undermine any and all progressive candidates, but liberals no longer suffer in silence and apathy.
“The DCCC will continue its longstanding and failed model of helping only most favored candidates until grassroots disgust makes that stance untenable,” said Jeff Hauser, a longtime progressive strategist.
Health care is probably the easiest and most popular issue to drive the progressive grassroots. Especially when every Republican alternative means tens of millions without health care, and the ACA continues to break down.
A Monmouth poll from February showed that 25 percent of Americans view health care as "the biggest concern facing their family right now." Health care was, by far, the most cited concern, dwarfing issues like immigration (3 percent) and terrorism (2 percent).
Public support for Medicare for All has been confirmed by pollsters for years. An April 6 poll from the Economist/YouGov showed 60 percent of the public support for the policy, including from a plurality of Republicans.
A March 23 Quinnipiac poll showed a paltry 17 percent of Americans supported the GOP plan, and only 41 percent of Republicans.