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The Democratic Party, or at least its 2020 presidential candidates and new stars, are allegedly lurching significantly leftward. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ platform seems to be a center of gravity, even a bit of a throwback for relying mostly on class warfare instead of identity politics. Some see Joe Biden as the avatar of old Democratic ideas.
This may be the Democrats’ dirty little secret: most of the big, “new,” “progressive” ideas are really decades old. Most of these ideas have been flogged by the lefties who grew up among the New Left of the 1960s and ’70s, eventually dominating the party establishment while settling for neoliberalism when mugged by political reality.
Take - Bernie - Signature - Proposal - Medicare
Take Bernie’s signature proposal of Medicare for All, please. Single-payer health care has been Democrats’ holy grail since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman. After Lyndon Baines Johnson got Medicare through Congress, Democrats immediately started talking up a national insurance program, which is mentioned several times in the party’s 1972 platform.
Once New Left-era boomers got to high office, Bill Clinton (who cut his teeth on George McGovern’s 1972 campaign) proposed a “health care security card” entitling every citizen to medical treatment and preventative care. In his heart, Barack Obama preferred single-payer, but was forced to settle for Obamacare.
Crop - Candidates - Supports - Medicare - All
So the current crop of Democratic presidential candidates supports Medicare for All or–in a common equivocation–”the goal of” Medicare for All. Most voters outside Iowa and New Hampshire are not policy wonks reading white papers. They just want to know candidates are on board with the vision, even if the talk is about a “broken health care system” that Democrats are largely responsible for breaking.
Sanders is also considered the godfather of the Green New Deal, although the Green Party got there first. This behemoth, reduced to its essence, would mark the...
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