Moderates. The word disgusts me. It calls to mind unimaginative, wary, passionless fools doing their best to protect a status quo that sucks for most Americans. They’re watered-down conservatives. They’re constantly attacking any bold idea that might actually change things for people. They are slaves to the mythical ideological center of voters. They believe that if we can’t get these people to sing “Kumbaya” with us, we’ll never win and all is lost. You may not adhere to every policy proposal your party makes, but you’d damn well better know what side you’re on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of either of the two major parties, yet I do believe they represent two competing world views that are useful when gauging someone’s beliefs as more conservative or liberal. This center is a supposed majority, but it’s really people who barely pay attention and just feel some silly moral obligation to vote rather than actually being interested in or believing that things can change for the better, if they decide to come out to vote at all. These people are not the impediment to change that moderates believe they are. They are not engaged enough to stop it and are followers, not leaders.
Moderates spend their time trying to scare centrists into voting for them–much like Trump did with his base. Is “The liberals will take away your private health insurance and make you pay more taxes!” really much different from “The Mexicans will rape your wife and take your job!”? This private health insurance disappearing argument is a deliberate misrepresentation of the policy. It’s a straw man that moderates are eagerly stabbing with abandon as though it really was a good argument. Medicare for All does not outlaw private insurance, it merely changes the market such that private insurance companies must compete for different business. There will still be private insurance for cosmetic surgery for example. These plans will be luxury plans that will not directly compete with Medicare for All.
I don’t buy the “poor rural hospitals will close” argument either. Sure, Medicare currently pays out at a lower rate than private insurance. However the rate can be adjusted if necessary and hospitals will no longer have patients who don’t have insurance and can’t pay–they’ll get something rather than nothing in these cases. AND these hospitals will spend significantly less on billing. A 2014 Commonwealth Fund report stated that hospitals in the U.S. spend more on administrative costs than Germany, France, England, the Netherlands, Canada, Scotland and Wales.
Oddly, one of these moderates, Tim Ryan, spoke to the problem that we have a “disease care” system and not a wellness one. While he didn’t expand on any policy that would change this fact, the first step towards such a fundamental change is making sure everyone has a primary care physician. If that was another attempt to say that Medicare for All isn’t the right approach to healthcare, it is wrong about that.
As for providing health insurance for undocumented immigrants, it may be politically volatile, but dammit it’s the right thing to do. We’re all better off when people are healthy and therefore better able to contribute to society. But wait, say the moderates, “You’ll lose the election by decriminalizing illegal border crossing and promising healthcare and free college to undocumented immigrants!” While those policies would certainly infuriate Trump voters, hopefully everyone else will see that having 3% of the population without healthcare or access to education is counterproductive.
Trump once again proved you can win an election on fear, but winning on fear of fear? The fear of the fears of Trump voters about undocumented immigrants bolstering their numbers at the polls is real. But more is at stake in 2020 than merely who occupies the White House. As much as I hate to parrot Biden, the values and moral standing of the country is at stake. Do we want to be a country that treats people on our soil with dignity or not? Of course the argument that we should take care of American citizens first is not entirely invalid. I particularly think of prisoners and women as two marginalized demographics in need of the government’s help to ensure they are treated fairly. But it is important to take the attitude that our country takes care of people, no matter who they are. This country needs to be about doing the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing, and we cannot hope for such an enormous shift if the moderates remain in power.