Nate Silver Unclear As To Why Democrats Are Acting Like Their Ideas Are Good Or Something
There is a certain kind of wisdom, long held by a certain type of Democrat, that the true path to victory is pretending as though all left-of-center ideas are vegetables that must be disguised as something other than vegetables to get people to eat them. I call this the Vegetti Principle.
Republicans do not abide by this principle. They will go right out there, push for the most extreme and horrifying thing they can think of and insist, whether or not it is actually the case, that it is what the people want. They sell the things they want and they sell them hard. The vast majority of people in this country want background checks, but you will never, ever hear a Republican say that out loud. You will never hear a Republican go "Oh gosh, maybe we should temper our position on gun control a little so we don't scare the people who want background checks!" You will never hear them say "Hmm... but it seems like women don't actually want to lose their reproductive rights!" Hell no. They go out there and start accusing us all of murdering perfectly healthy babies while we are giving birth to them, for funsies. They don't say "Oh, it seems like a lot of people are very supportive of trans rights," they say "They're going to molest your children in the bathroom!"
You will, however, hear Democrats going "Well maybe we need to concede to the Right a little more on gun control and abortion and trans rights and that's how we'll win! They'll be soooooooo grateful when they see how reasonable we are! Surely, people with conservative views in these areas will vote for us instead of the real thing. For reasons!"
This is how they keep winning. Because selling things works better, generally, than not selling things. I say this as a person who worked in sales for a very long time. Who do you think sold more shit? The people who were afraid to up-sell on accessories for fear of scaring the customer off entirely, or me, the bitch who did not just sell a sweater and earrings and a belt, but an aspirational vision of who that customer wanted to be. I will give you a clue, it was me and I was amazing.
Self-doubt is a prelude to disaster, bitches.
Finally, after many years of firmly adhering to the Vegetti Principle, some Democratic candidates are starting to act not only as if their ideas are good, but like they could actually get passed or something. But not everyone thinks this is a good idea, including Nate Silver, the guy whose amazing prediction skills resulted in millions of people assuming a Clinton win was in the bag back in 2016.
Pardon my language, but what the fuck kind of thing is that to say?
Let me be very, very clear here. Republicans are not more inclined to vote for a more moderate system of national healthcare that allows private health insurance to continue to exist than they are to vote for Medicare for All. They're just not! For at least four decades, since Nixon and Kennedy had their whole big healthcare debate, Republicans pushed for a mandate-based national healthcare plan while Democrats pushed for single payer.
President Richard Nixon's National Health Strategy (1971)
- All employers required to provide basic health insurance, including a range of specific coverage requirements
- Employees required to share the cost of insurance, up to a cap
- Insurance companies can only vary benefit packages to an extent
- Special insurance programs at reasonable rates for self-employed and others
- Replace most of Medicaid for poor families with a completely federal plan open to any family below a certain income level; cost-sharing rises with income.
Obama came along, could not have been nicer or more gracious to the Right, and pushed a mandate-based national healthcare plan that was, frankly, more conservative than Nixon's plan was, and the Republicans immediately got all OH MY GOD! IT'S SOCIALISM! THEY'RE TRYING TO DO SOCIALISM TO US! OH GOD HOW COULD THEY BE SO CRUEL????
If they're going to have their tantrums anyway, why not go for what we actually want? And what would actually work well? And then, if it is what "the people" actually want, then they will vote out Republicans (and Democrats) who oppose it. Why not do what Republicans do and actually argue that the things we want are good and that we can make them happen? I mean, shit, Bill Barr is out here arguing that "the people" voted for Donald Trump to do all the crimes he wanted, and we can't say "The people voted for health care?" Really?
But I digress.
What, exactly, is more effective about saying "We want this thing... but we know people will hate it, so let's be extremely delicate about going through with it!" rather than saying "This is a good thing that people will like and should definitely get excited about!!" I don't get it, and no one, so far, has been able to explain to me why it is the best idea ever, and no one has ever been able to show me one instance ever of Republicans going "Oh wow, thank you for choosing the more moderate option here, allow us to repay your graciousness with some votes for a thing you want!"
Tell me one time it's worked and I swear I will start pretending that everything we all want is bad stuff that people don't want and that we can never make happen in real life.
ANYWAY. I am done ranting and this is now your open thread. Where, if you like, you can tell me all about the time that going around saying "Well, we know everyone will be repulsed by this idea and that we can never get it passed so let's try to implement it VERY, VERY slowly" was an effective strategy of any kind, for anything.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse