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Is Klobuchar’s surge in Iowa a big deal?

Sen. Amy Klobuchar speaking at the Iowa State Fair on August 10.
REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Sen. Amy Klobuchar speaking at the Iowa State Fair on August 10, 2019.

After stringing together a series of generally well-reviewed debate performances, Amy Klobuchar received what was perhaps the biggest news of her campaign this week when a new Emerson College poll found she had reached double-digits (10 percent) for the first time in a non-partisan poll of Iowa Democrats since entering the race.

Performing well in the neighboring state of Iowa on Feb. 3 has been a crucial component to the Minnesota U.S. senator’s campaign strategy; she is not as well known nationwide as frontrunners Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren or even upstart South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

While it is not clear if this single poll is the beginning of a bona fide, sustained surge in Iowa Democratic support for Klobuchar, it does generally conform with results of other recent surveys – that she sits atop the ‘second tier’ candidates in Iowa.

Klobuchar had previously received at least five percent support in each of the four public polls of Iowa Democrats released in November by Monmouth University, CBS News, Des Moines Register/CNN, and Iowa State University.

But will hitting this double-digit mark ultimately be a big deal, little deal, or no deal for Klobuchar with less than two months before the caucuses?

To be sure, in recent election cycles there have been many presidential candidates who at some point reached the 10 percent mark in an Iowa poll, but ultimately did not carry a single state in the subsequent primaries or caucuses:

  • 2004 (Democrats): Joe Lieberman and Dick Gephardt
  • 2008 (Republicans): Fred Thompson, Rand Paul, and Rudy Giuliani
  • 2008 (Democrats): Tom Vilsack and Bill Richardson
  • 2012 (Republicans): Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry
  • 2016 (Republicans): Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Ben Carson

In the 2020 cycle, Democrats Beto O’Rourke and Kamala Harris can be added to that list and each has already suspended their campaign.

One difference between Klobuchar and the more than a dozen names listed above, however, is she did not reach the 10 percent mark until much later in the campaign.

With recent cycles often finding voters (and perhaps the media) sampling candidates as a flavor-of-the-month, Klobuchar’s surge in the Hawkeye State – if genuine – is coming at a much more opportune moment than most of those names listed above.

For example, in 2004 Lieberman and Gephardt entered the race with double-digit support in Iowa. Lieberman last reached that level of support nearly a half-year before the caucuses in July 2003.

In the 2008 cycle, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson first hit double-digits in a May 2007 Des Moines Register survey but only once reached that number over the few dozen surveys conducted over the last month of the campaign.

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack – the first major Democratic candidate to enter the race – naturally polled high in his home state upon his entrance in the race, although he still consistently trailed Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and at times Barack Obama before his February 2007 withdrawal.

Likewise, Guiliani and Thompson started with double-digit support in their party upon their entrances in the race in April and September 2007 respectively as did Bachmann and Perry during the 2012 cycle.

In the 2016 cycle, Fiorina last saw 10 percent in polling among Iowa Republicans in September 2015 with Bush doing so in August 2015, Huckabee and Paul in June 2015, and Christie in August 2014 well before he jumped into the race.

Ben Carson did still occasionally hit the 10 percent mark in December 2015 and January 2016, but his numbers had cratered from his peak popularity among the Iowa GOP from a few months prior in October.

And so, on the plus side, Klobuchar appears to be ascending in Iowa at a much later (and more strategic) point in the cycle than those candidates mentioned above.

On the other hand, the Minnesotan is still looking up at four candidates in the polls and there is still plenty of time for her candidacy to be scrutinized and critiqued by her rivals which could blunt her forward progress.

Eric J. Ostermeier, Ph.D., J.D., is a research fellow at the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. This article is republished from his political analysis website  Smart Politics.

Comments (46)

  1. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 12/13/2019 - 09:43 am.

    I hope so. Of the top 4 candidates, I’m really only interested in Warren. I’d rather have Amy, though.

  2. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/13/2019 - 09:54 am.

    Wasn’t Harris sitting around 15% when she dropped out? But seriously, this isn’t a “surge” by any definition.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 12/13/2019 - 11:43 am.

      You want a surge?

      I’ll give you a surge.

      Trump is now trailing Biden by a single point in WI, up from trailing double digits a few months back.

      Trump is leading all of the other candidates.

      All within the margin of error. If we may recall, there is a tendency of Trump voters to be too embarrassed by his antics to actually tell a pollster they support him. I would suspect that this category has only grown because of his ever expanding propensity for embarrassing behavior.

      So; many D’s can tilt at liberal windmill fantasies that will never come to pass, like Medicare for All, but, I will just hope a candidate who is not viewed as beyond reason by 50% of the voting public. Pick that candidate and the most easily beatable R President since Herbert Hoover is sent packing…

    • Submitted by Chris Mau on 12/13/2019 - 11:53 am.

      It’s a surge by the definition of doubling her support and it’s a surge by the definition of her support increasing more than other candidates have recently.

      It’s significant because “double digits” is used as marker in a lot of news stories. Ten percent gets her name include in those lists and gets her into the “has a chance” category.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/14/2019 - 01:18 pm.

        She hasn’t doubled, she “jumped” from 8% to 10%, or maybe 7%-10%.

        Buttigieg “surged” by more than 2 or 3 points recently so your surge is in error on regard as well.

  3. Submitted by Vonnie Phillips on 12/13/2019 - 11:46 am.

    I wish that she would just get out of the race. Still, and of course Klobuchar’s campaign is not going to respond or talk about it, the treatment of her staff I just cannot get over, the egregious treatment of her staff. The electorate has a short memory, this is why Klobuchar responds that she just have high expectations for her staff. I’m a leader and I would not even think of treating people the way she has. However, I never heard Senator Klobuchar mention once the staff allegations were not true.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 12/13/2019 - 01:30 pm.

      You must not be paying attention then. While there were several anonymous complaints, dozens of her former staffers went on the record to attest to the fact she was a good boss and they enthusiastically supported her.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/14/2019 - 01:25 pm.

      If she bombs in Iowa, which looks like the most likely outcome, she’ll probably drop out. I think she should stay in meantime, she deserves to know how the vote goes at this point one way or the other.

  4. Submitted by John Hoefs on 12/13/2019 - 11:47 am.

    She should call for Joe Biden to drop out because of his actions in Ukraine, i.e. threatening to hold back aid unless their prosecutor was removed. When he drops out, much of his support will move to Amy!

  5. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 12/13/2019 - 11:48 am.

    Well, what we see is movement, and it’s movement in the right direction. That’s better than going down, and not to be sniffed at.

    I’ve been a Warren fan for a long time, but Warren made a HUGE mistake on her Medicare for All position about immediately abandoning all private plans. Needless harm by shooting herself in the foot, and that surprised me–she’s had a smarter campaign than to do that dumb thing. Warren’s electability immediately was put into question.

    Amy Klobuchar is electable. She’s a solid Democrat (which Sanders is not) a whole generation younger than Biden and Sanders–both really old white men with health or attention issues–and she beats Mayor Pete on experience in getting elected and in governing. She’s a moderate who might attract Independents not willing to go whole hog left with Sanders or Warren.

    As Rachel Maddow would say: “Watch this space.”

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 12/13/2019 - 01:32 pm.

      I was leaning Warren before, but that’s where she lost me. Looking at the polling, she seems to have lost a lot of people.

      • Submitted by Scot Kindschi on 12/13/2019 - 02:59 pm.

        The election is almost a year away. That will all change, as far as Amy is concerned, we do not need another republican in the White House.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 12/13/2019 - 09:53 pm.

          You are right – if we run a Medicare for all candidate, we absolutely will have a Republican in the white house. Hopefully Amy will be the Democratic nominee and we can win.

    • Submitted by Tom Crain on 12/14/2019 - 09:42 am.

      I don’t understand this hesitation to disallow private insurance as competition to a medicare for all type plan. We all know how that story ends: the profit seeking private insurance companies will pawn off the the sickest people on the public ‘option’ and market to young and healthy people for their plans. No thanks.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 12/16/2019 - 03:13 pm.

        Because a lot of people have private insurance through their employers and won’t want to be forced to switch to government coverage. Just look at the reaction to the ACA, which outraged people just because it required them to get insurance at all.

        Also, it will be found unconstitutional by this Supreme Court.

        Medicare for All is great in theory (and would probably by great in practice) but its political cancer.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/14/2019 - 01:31 pm.

      There are very important reasons for Warren’s position of private plans. I wouldn’t worry about too much at this point, we still haven’t really gotten into that issue yet, we just nibble around the edges. I understand the plan, so I’m not going walk away from Warren simply because she describes it. And I don’t think it’s a mistake to describe it, If she gets the nomination she’ll be able to zero in on it and explain it. And it’s not going to be a tough sell. 100 million have private insurance, but they’re obviously not happy with it or we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/15/2019 - 09:00 am.

        I continue to marvel at those “moderates” who put HRC on the ballot and lost to Trump, yet still pretend to be the ones in the room who know what “electable” candidates look like… and they all look like that last candidate that lost!

        Whatever. If you really think that program that will save lives and dramatically improve the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans will kill any Democrat’s chance of winning the election, you can’t claim to be able to recognize electable candidates. If you think providing Insulin to Americans without telling them to go Canada to get it is a vote killer, you need to go back to your day job.

        • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 12/15/2019 - 07:59 pm.

          Taking the position that:

          “The only way I will support you is if you pass my litmus test of supporting a program that will never be passed”

          Seems a little counter-productive.

          MFA will require a 60 vote majority in the Senate, a D president and a D controlled house.

          This is not going to happen anytime soon…

          Instead first repairing Trump damage to the ACA, next, adding a public option within the ACA and if that is successfully implemented and well accepted, MFA becomes inevitable. This should be the “official D position” for all these candidates. It is realistic, attainable.and reflects a strong majority of all voters.

          And that is the objective of getting someone elected: become the one identified with reflecting the hopes and desires of a majority of the electorate. And it is not that hard:

          Health Policy:
          As described above.

          Medicare and Social Security:
          Put it on a solid footing with no threats of any benefit curtailment for at least 50 years and even offer a modest benefit increase to Social Security to reward those who saw a 30 year ever widening gap in income disparity during their work life.

          Post Secondary Education:
          Low interest school loans with strong tax credit benefits to allow for repayment: Go to school, apply that knowledge gained to getting a job, 50-100% tax credit on earnings the first 4 years out of school. 25% After that for another 6 years. If you get a $50K job this applies about $80K over the 10 year period to loan debt just out of tax credits.

          Taxes:
          Those are the 3 top priorities for this administration. Taxes will reflect the cost of implementing those priorities applied in a progressive manner.

          Add in not being D Trump nuts with 123 tweets in 1 day and you have a winner: You get the old folks, the young folks and many in the middle.

          Trump basically gets grumpy white guys and some compliant wives who don’t have a problem with P grabbing.

          Again, it does not have to be difficult:

          https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/10/26/bill_maher_to_democrats_stop_wearing_your_most_divisive_issues_on_your_sleeve.html

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/17/2019 - 11:13 am.

            Edward, I can only assumed your litmus test applies to moderates who refuse to vote Warren for Sanders?

            Again, if this “moderate” approach is the big win you seem to think it is why are your moderate candidates so far behind in the polls? 10%?

            The public option isn’t a incremental step towards MFA, it’s a blocking maneuver intended to delay MFA indefinitely. The Neoliberal/moderate/incremental strategy will never be to replace the public option with MFA, it will forever be to “fix” the public option while blockading MFA at all costs.

            Any public option that exists within the existing market scenario will have severe limitations built into it in order to keep private plans “competitive”, much the current regulations that prevent federal drug price negotiations. The public option approach is yet another moderate failure pretending to be partial solution. A public option that preserves private plan will require that Americans not only pay unnecessarily high prices for a restricted and limited public option, but they’ll also be subsidizing the higher cost private options.

            Better to set our sights on MFA and fight for it until we get it.

    • Submitted by Miriam Segall on 12/15/2019 - 12:35 pm.

      I have to agree with Connie. Warren seems to me to be the one with the clearest picture of why we have to get money out of politics and tackle the inequality that is grinding down the 90%, and how we might go about it. But her jumping on the bandwagon of Sanders’ “Medicare-on-steroids-for-all” as a be-all and end-all cure for everything that is wrong with our so-called health care system is something no self-respecting wonk should have done, and if she is being “punished” for something, I hope that’s it. The first priority is to beat Trump, and if the price for that is four years of wishy-washy instead of really tackling the problems of inequality and the overwhelming power of money in America, so be it, and in that case, as far as I’m concerned it’s Klobuchar.

  6. Submitted by Arthur Himmelman on 12/13/2019 - 12:27 pm.

    While the media keeps involving us in endless, meaningless political polling speculation about Democrats, this is what is happening in America: Vladimir Putin has made a president of the United States into an advocate of Russian geopolitical policies. Trump’s exceptional talent for demagoguery has secured the unquestioned fealty of the entire Congressional Republican Party and 90% of Republicans voters for the Putin/Trump agenda. The Senate will acquit Trump of the abuse of power and contempt of Congress. On that day, Trump’s actions as the first American dictator president, and the end of Congress as a “co-equal” branch of government, will be confirmed on television for all to see. Can we stop wasting time with polls and focus what is actually important: we are witnessing the greatest subversion of one country by another, without military intervention, in the history of the world.

    • Submitted by BK Anderson on 12/15/2019 - 11:05 am.

      Well, said, but the impending loss of the foundations of American democracy is not something that the supine American media are permitted to cover as such. The Big Picture cannot be presented.

      Hence the endless Horse Race stories, which is what “election coverage” in the US now principally consists of. And since there can be no horse race on the Repub side in 2020, this means Dems alone must receive this treatment until July 2020, and only Dem policy proposals critiqued.

      Our local media must be cut some slack until Iowa, given we have a Favorite Daughter in the race. But the criticism in general stands. And it is now giving complete cover to McConnell and his senate Repub majority, who have openly stated that they will not conduct a legitimate trial of the charges against our political criminal, but instead will “coordinate defenses” with him. One might think that this crisis would compel the full attention of sitting Dem senators, but apparently not.

  7. Submitted by Scot Kindschi on 12/13/2019 - 02:52 pm.

    Uh…no.

  8. Submitted by Kyle Anderson on 12/13/2019 - 03:22 pm.

    I believe that 2008 should be Ron Paul and not his son.

  9. Submitted by Leslie Davis on 12/13/2019 - 05:45 pm.

    A pro-life economics scholar was directed to my abortion video and while at my channel also viewed my Money Plan. She told me the Money Plan is the only piece of legislation she ever saw that could economically benefit every single American.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDFo1HnILRGZ2iZgLDtkgBg

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/15/2019 - 09:05 am.

      Dude, a “pro-life” economics scholar? Neither abortion or abortion rights are economic policies. And people who would kill women in order to “save” fetuses are not “pro-life”.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 12/17/2019 - 09:53 am.

      Not being snarky here, genuinely curious. Exactly how many elections have you lost? What is the motivation after all these years?

  10. Submitted by Jim Marshal on 12/13/2019 - 05:48 pm.

    Perusing the coverage of Amy’s perpetually flailing campaign, the casual reader might easily conclude that America is in the throes of chronic Amy Mania or, at any rate, that an insurgent Klobuchar breakthrough is mere days or weeks away. That we are positively crying out for a plainspoken moderate whose biggest idea has been expanded personal savings accounts.

    Nonetheless, there’s a bit more at work in Klobuchar’s narrow appeal than the superficial crushes she’s induced in a handful of pundits made giddy by her canned one-liners and tiresome, “aw-shucks” Midwesterner schtick. Run through the most effusive coverage her campaign has received, and you’ll repeatedly find something else in the mix: namely, that Klobuchar is a darling of the pundit class because her principal political message involves telling people wracked by angst and economic insecurity that they can’t and shouldn’t expect anything better.

  11. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 12/14/2019 - 09:10 pm.

    Klobuchar entered public life as a prosecutor, and her interrogation of Kavanagh showed off that courtroom skill set.

    However, the skills required of a president are not the skills required of a courtroom attorney. Presidents are supposed to have a vision of America’s future and persuade the voters to join them in that vision. JFK could do it. Reagan could do it, even though I disagreed vehemently with his vision. Obama could do it, although he didn’t follow through and let himself be co-opted by corporate interests. Trump can create a vision for a certain type of voter, too, although his vision appears to be a toxic combination of neo fascism and economic libertarianism. But I’ll grant him this: He knows how to win certain types of people over.

    I think Klobuchar (or Kamala Harris, who has a similar background) would make an excellent attorney general.

    However, as president, she would be the ideal spokesperson for the people who hold are benefiting from the status quo, would alienate the millions who desperately need real change in our system, and would lead the increasingly desperate voters to try the Republicans once again.

  12. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/15/2019 - 08:45 am.

    Just to step back from Klobuchar (Frankly, if she weren’t from MN we wouldn’t be talking about her to begin with), I would draw attention to the developing Republican narrative. Republican narratives are always dishonest, misleading, and fanciful, but they’ve GOT a narrative and they have some success in selling their narratives to voters.

    I’ve actually been a little surprised by the addition of the concept of “do-nothing” Democrats to the Republican narrative, it’s clever. Of course it’s dishonest in the sense that neither they or Trump has done so much, and it builds on the myth that Trump follows through on promises, but it’s short and to the point. It also works on a couple levels, there’s the mythic level that Trump supporters embrace, but there’s also the legitimate observation that aside from not being Trump, Democrats like Biden aren’t running on doing anything.

    Like Mr. Marshal points out above, the “moderate” Democrats all focus on the little things they think they can do with Republican consent while admonishing anyone who want’s to do “big” things. Democrats run the risk of being defined by the Republican narrative (again), as they have been for decades now. Trump will say of Biden: “You’re a do nothing!”. Biden’s response for all practical purposes will be: “I’m trying to do anything! Or at least I’m trying to very much.”

    And before Klobuchar and Biden supporters rush forward with their lists of bi – partisan bills passed; I need point out the obvious fact that a vast majority of voters will have never heard of this legislation, and it cannot be described as transformational on any level. These claims are rather like attempts to point to a bunch of trees in that have been saved in the midst of a raging forest fire. Moderate voting records are always problematic because we can always dig up so many votes that one side or the other will disagree with. It’s not difficult to describe someone who votes against MFA but in favor of buying medication in Canada as a “do-nothing”.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 12/16/2019 - 06:40 pm.

      If you want to bore people, cite facts & figures.

      If you want to influence people, tell a story.

      Democrats can give us plenty of facts. Republicans are great storytellers.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 12/17/2019 - 08:43 am.

      I do not think any elected official has ever had the opportunity to vote for or against the MFA: Which is exactly my point. Why get all bogged down in something that is not going to happen anytime soon: D President, D House, 60 votes in the Senate.

      Maybe moving the ball forward four yards at a time rather than throwing one hail Mary pass after another is a better way to go. I can agree that MFA is the end zone. I disagree on how to get there. If one of those small steps is showing the practicality of Canadian drug availability more power to it.

      As a frequent visitor to Canada, I get a lot of chances to talk with them about their healthcare and while they see the faults where theirs, it is difficult to find many who would trade it for ours. The more we know about how others do it, the better our chances to learn and copy from them.

      And for those who scoff at that idea and tout American Exceptionalism in healthcare I have a single question: How’s that new Toyota working?

      And, I can agree with you on superior R messaging. Saw a note that commercials opposing impeachment to those supporting it were something like 5000 to 1.

      Shame on Tom Steyer, who spent millions on “The need to impeach” and now that we’re here there is no similar effort for “The need to convict”. Too busy running for President, which maybe was his goal from day 1: get his name out there and then do the bait and switch.

      Why can’t the Ds get more single minded, corrupt billionaires like Sheldon Adleson? Over 100 million dollars as a bribe to R politicians to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem. They get results!

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/17/2019 - 11:54 am.

        Just a couple things: First of all, MFA isn’t a solution to any problems the Canadian’s are having nor does it pretend to be. MFA is NOT the Canadian system.

        You can talk to the Canadians about their problems if you want, but if you think they have bigger problems than Americans… you need to talk to more Americans. Let’s focus on understanding our own problems and understand what MFA means to America and how it works. The only thing you will learn by looking at anyone else’s system is that it’s better than ours. We rank 48th in over-all health care and 1st in high cost.

        The historical problem with incrementalism is that there are few instances of it in action, and for the last few Decades here in the US it’s been delivering a steady stream of lost yards rather than progress… unless you think Trump represents some kind of progress compared to Eisenhower?

        Just because some of our battles last for years or decades doesn’t mean that those battles were won in increments. Women didn’t win the right to vote state by state or in increments… one day they couldn’t vote, the next day they could. Just because change can be slow… doesn’t mean you fight for slow change. Too often this demand for “increments” is really just a attempt to save the status quo and delay change for sake of comfort. This is how MLK described it:

        “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

        We needed MFA, the Green New Deal, living wages, a state of the art transportation infrastructure, etc. etc. etc. decades ago. We haven’t been moving towards any of these things in increments, those advocating incremental change have been blocking and marginalizing these necessary policies and agendas.

  13. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/17/2019 - 12:28 pm.

    Another problem some of us have with the public option is the fact that it was supposed to be a part of Obamacare to begin with. I voted for Obama because his proposal contained a public option. The first order of business for moderate Democrats was to kill the public option, so when they say now that the public option is their new best friend frankly I don’t believe them.

    Be that as it may, the time for the public option has passed. Given the experience with Obamacare the public option no longer makes as much sense it might have a decade ago.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 12/17/2019 - 07:17 pm.

      And do you now why Obamacare did not include a public option?

      Despite having 60 D Senators, one of them, Joe Liebermann, would not go for it.

      So you can blame Obama for the actions of a Senator who arrived on the scene almost 20 years before Obama was elected.

      The ACA, flawed as it may be, still greatly reduced the numbers of uninsured. Restoring and supplementing it will continue to reduce the numbers of uninsured.

      You can take the martyrs route of:

      “I want everything or nothing”

      I’d just as soon put Trump in the rear view mirror…

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/18/2019 - 08:36 am.

        Mr. Blaise,

        No public option ever made to a vote, it was discarded without debate by moderate Democrats. Lieberman wasn’t the only one to oppose it.

        Counting votes in the senate isn’t a “centrist/moderate” superpower, we can all do that. We’re all aware of the Senate rules, and the current partisan composition of the Senate. I don’t know why you keep making this observation as if it’s conversation stopper?

        To begin with, in any scenario where Republicans either the Senate or the House you’re limited agenda has no more chance of passing the 60 vote threshold than does MFA. If you think Republicans will vote to “fix” or restore elements of Obamacare they dismantled, or if you think that Republicans will vote for a public option, you’re as delusional as anyone who would expect Republicans to vote for MFA.

        Obviously Democrats willing to for MFA have to take control of the Senate, OR Democrats with a lesser majority would have to use the “nuclear option” to pass the bill. I don’t know why you keep assuming that nobody understands this or that Republicans will forever and always control the Senate.

        Obamacare implemented some long long long overdue basic reforms, but the fact that even that was soooooo difficult to accomplish simply reveals the strangle hold that the corporate elite has on both of our major political Parties. Sure Obamacare finally implemented some basic coverage requirements that should’ve been enforced decades before. The problem is Obamacare failed on so many fronts in so many ways that it left the health care crises in tact.

        Finally, regarding this all or nothing garbage that moderates claim to be responding to: Unlike moderates who will torpedo liberal proposals, liberals won’t torpedo moderate proposals. No one who supports MFA will vote down more limited proposals in the interim, Sanders for voted for the ACA, he didn’t try to kill it.

        We knew that Obamacare would leave tens of millions of Americans in crises, we knew it wouldn’t control costs, we knew it would do nothing to mitigate bankruptcies, but we didn’t FIGHT it, we didn’t try to kill it. The idea that people who are committed to the best possible solution are “extremist” demanding all or nothing is simply and expression of moderate extremism. And it was moderate extremism that put Trump in office. Obamacare didn’t win the 2016 election, what makes you think it will win the 2020 election?

        We already have a majority of Americans who want to replace Obamacare with single payer or MFA, the idea that the only way to win elections is to block MFA and promote or modify Obamacare is simply moderate extremism.

  14. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/18/2019 - 09:05 am.

    Actually, to put a finer point on it, the public option was kept off the table by insurance industry and health care industry lobbyist, who still hold sway over many Democratic candidates.

  15. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/19/2019 - 08:36 am.

    Just to end cap this business about MFA: In other discussions I’ve pointed out the fact that the individual mandate at the core of Obamacare will likely be struck down in the courts, and much of Obamacare with it. Well, the court just struck it down again. I actually agree with the court, not because I want to dismantle or repeal Obamacare but because I don’t think it’s Constitutional for the government to require that everyone purchase a private product of some kind, I can’t think of any other instance in US history where that’s happened.

    People keep talking about the 100+ million people with private insurance as if they all have it voluntarily, when in fact they’re all trapped in private insurance by default and actually required to purchase it by law. All that is is a huge subsidy for private health insurance.

    Be all of that as it may, if Obamacare collapses in the courts the notion of “fixing” it somehow incrementally becomes moot. The idea of a public option minus Obamacare, or going back and trying to create and pass a new Obamacare that will be entirely Constitutional is more challenging and daunting than simply expanding Medicare and Medicaid to cover everyone.

    And of course we see again my annoying point that the seeds of right wing victory are sown into our political system by “moderates” who block, marginalize, and oppose liberal agendas and policies. This fatal flaw in Obamacare was deliberately built into it by moderates trying to avoid and forestall the best and most comprehensive policy solution. Not only did they build a system that left the health care crises in tact, but they build one that self destructed.

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