Bernie Sanders doing the Democratic Party job of persuading congressional colleagues to help organize nationwide pre-inaugural protest rallies over potential cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, as well as other health matters Republicans are likely to take up in Congress come January.
By Meteor Blades (dailykos.com)
In what Tim Fernholz at Quartz calls the Democrats’ “first major gesture of opposition” to the incoming Trump regime, Senator Chuck Schumer, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and Senator Bernie Sanders have put their signatures on a letter to congressional colleagues Wednesday that might have come as a surprise to many of them. It encourages them to join with Sanders to help organize pre-inaugural rallies in their states to rouse opposition to a Republican-driven budget bill “that will severely undermine the health needs of the American people.” Leftover money from the Sanders campaign will fund the organizing effort.
The expected budget bill provisions, as you see in the full letter below, are a direct attack on Medicare and Medicaid, the three say, and will likely include hikes in prescription drug prices and a threat to nursing home care for millions of Americans.
Called “Our First Stand: Save Health Care,” the resistance rallies are slated for Sunday, Jan. 15. Here’s Fernholz:
Sanders, whose run for the Democratic presidential nomination this year emboldened the left wing of the Democratic party, has seen his cachet rise in a party looking for leadership following Hillary Clinton’s defeat in November. Amidst the recriminations and a messy race to head up the party’s national committee, it hasn’t been clear who would be the face of Democratic opposition to Trump. Now, we have an answer.
While Sanders’ harsh critique of the millionaire and billionaire class turned off professional Democrats who benefit from the global economy during his primary run, the election results have convinced party leaders that they need to better articulate how their economic policies will lead to broadly shared prosperity.
These rallies can perform several purposes, the obvious ones being to stir up resistance before the regime takes office and a chance for elected Democrats to unify people around a crucial common objective—fighting against further destruction of the New Deal/Great Society legacy of social welfare programs. But the rallies can also give citizens a chance to let their representatives know that they had better show some spine against the Republican agenda. There should be no pretending that, just because all the ceremonial trappings of democracy are present, we should normalize what’s going on. We shouldn’t. And our representatives shouldn’t.
In that light, a Sanders’ spokesman repeated what’s been heard before from the senator and others about being willing to cooperate with Trump and Republicans “where they can find agreement.” In normal times, this would sound like plain old common sense. It would be encouraging to live in such times, when bipartisanship thrives. But we haven’t been there for quite some while. And the line-up of cabinet appointments indicates it’s soon going to be far worse. Too many Democrats have harmed the interests of their constituents by behaving as if most Republicans believe that cooperation is a two-way street. They obviously do not. And they need to be treated like they don’t.