It was a rare moment of harmony in a Democratic debate marked by heated disagreements and a head-spinning array of zingers and takedowns. Two of the combatants, Democratic frontrunner Bernie Sanders and billionaire challenger Michael Bloomberg, bonded over each having two stents placed in their hearts.
“I think one area maybe Mayor Bloomberg and I share, you have two stents as well,” said Senator Sanders, gesturing to Mayor Bloomberg who appeared to affirm.
Sanders deftly utilized the moment of goodwill to launch into a description of his healthcare proposal. “Under my plan, you get two stents,” said Senator Sanders, holding up two fingers. “You get two stents on the house, then you’re on the hook ten percent for each additional stent.”
Not to be outdone, Senator Elizabeth Warren piped in, “I have two stents also,” she asserted to stunned moderators. “Yeah, that’s right, I had them put in while my son was away at public school.”
“Under my plan,” Senator Warren continued, “Billionaire’s are allowed to keep their first two stents free and clear, but we’ll remove each additional stent and give it to someone in need.”
The debate hall erupted in cheers while Mayor Bloomberg appeared to grab his chest in a gesture that registered somewhere between relief and panic.
Many of the Democratic presidential hopefuls and their supporters have been so merrily and comfortably ensconced in their far left bubble that they became somewhat alarmed to discover moderates, centrists and independents skeptical of their pie in the sky promises. Apparently, instead of a debate, they thought they were lining up last night for a two hour infomercial, becoming a little annoyed when others on the stage began to challenge them. Most notably, Sanders and Warren went after their fellow Democrats for repeating Republican talking points and not dreaming big enough. In a moment straight out of Trump’s playbook, Sanders even went after the CNN moderators and accused the network of being in bed with big health insurance companies.
As they try to sell their “big ideas,” you could forgive the far left candidates for being dismissive of centrist concerns, but of course some in the media were equally frustrated that moderates were allowed to occupy the same stage as their progressive heroes. Vox journalist Aaron Rupar weighed in from his parallel reality where any proposal to the right of a complete government take-over of the health insurance industry is viewed as Fox News propaganda. Rupar writes “People who tuned into the Democratic presidential debate could have been forgiven for thinking they accidently turned the channel to Fox News.” Because only Fox News would ask challenging questions of the Democrats. Other networks are supposed to enable the progressive free-for-all and not get in the way as the candidates make their pitches.
Echoing Sanders’ complaint of the debate moderators, Rupar takes issue with the line of questioning, “At times during the debate, CNN hosts framed policy questions around Republican talking points.” That 150 million Americans would lose their current health insurance is a fact, which also makes it a great talking point for Republicans. That the middle class would see a tax increase to pay for Medicare-for-all is also a fact that Sanders has conceded. Sanders and Rupar frame it as a Republican talking point. Why should Medicare-for-all Democrats be shielded from confronting fact-based questions regarding their healthcare plans? If it is true, as they argue, that healthcare savings will offset any tax increase middle class Americans might incur, then let them make that case now and have an opportunity to hone their message in the coming months. Better to get your reps in now while not as many people are paying attention and the stakes aren’t so high.
Of course, other plans to get to universal coverage were offered as well, but to even permit non-Medicare-for-all plans to have a public airing, or to attempt to draw distinctions between candidates is somehow seen as citing the Republican playbook. “Though no Republicans were physically onstage Tuesday night in Detroit, it too often seemed they were living rent-free inside the moderators’ heads,” Rupar concludes. Too often, it seems as if Rupar’s head is living rent-free inside his rectum. This is the same guy who this past weekend tweeted that Donald Trump claimed to be a 9-11 first responder even as Trump literally said that he wasn’t a 9-11 first responder. How do you misinterpret that statement to mean the opposite unless you are just willfully living in an alternate reality constructed from ideology rather than plain facts?
Some say President Trump is pretty adept at creating and deploying memes to his advantage. Not so fast, say Democrats, we think we’ve discovered a way to beat the president at his own game. Bernie Sanders, AOC and members of the MSM are having an important conversation about extending voting rights to the incarcerated. Many media experts think this could be the issue to carry Democrats into the White House in 2020.
“We think this is an issue voters care about,” says a former aide to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. “This is what we in the Beltway Bubble call a ‘kitchen table issue’. I personally don’t supper at a kitchen table. I usually dine out with political power players. But I understand most Americans talk politics at their kitchen tables, and we think prisoner voting is front and center of those discussions.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez thinks the conversation is important “To avoid looking completely + utterly out of touch w/ the reality our prison system.” Many analysts agree this is a shrewd move on the part of AOC, seizing the issue before the Democrat’s opponents have an opportunity to define it on their terms and use it to their advantage.
Even AOC’s chief of staff is weighing in on the debate. However, Saikat Chakrabarti doesn’t want the issue to get too bogged down in nuance, but rather should be summed up in an easy to understand meme. “”Unlock the Vote’. I envision a Democratic Convention where ‘Unlock the Vote’ is a near constant chant. This is the kind of thing that’s going to carry Dems into the White House.”
However the Democrats decide to deploy this winning strategy, they know one thing is for certain, many thousands of inmates will be grateful to them for restoring their right to vote. Said one inmate, “Do I look like the kind of person who votes to you? I’ve never voted a day in my life. Politicians can go fuck themselves.”