In 2016, on one political organization board, I was literally the only Bernie supporter out of 18 people. I was not just a Bernie supporter. I was a passionate Bernie supporter. I drove over 100 miles just to be in the room with Bernie in Manchester, NH on that great victory night after the NH primary.
The two issues that were the source of my passion for Bernie were single payer health care and progressive federal taxation. Today there were a very few bitter Sanders supporters on social media, in what is hopefully just a distant echo of 2016, saying there was no difference between Biden and Trump, a transparently absurd proposition on issues from civil rights to international relations to race relations.
But it is the issue of health care this year that seems to cause the most passion. Let me say this about Joe Biden.
1. Joe Biden knows that he needs to unite this party, and he knows that a huge portion of his primary supporters are for Medicare for All;
2. Joe Biden is always underestimated because of his speech impediment and his style;
3. Frankly, this coronavirus crisis is going to shuffle our politics massively. I view my job as a strong supporter of Joe Biden as playing my part to have this country finally get Medicare for All.
It will happen. Biden knows this. He also knows we will not win without a “united” movement (to quote Bernie today) this November.
Biden is not a fool. He knows that this will not happen without the party being united on health care.
4. The smartest way to get there is to create a robust Medicare option that will naturally radically shrink the private health care sector.
I lived in Europe. Even in France, which has the best health care system in the world – and a single payer system – you can buy supplemental private health plans. We are making FAR too much if the issue of an alleged dichotomy between single payer and private insurance. We have to be politically smart to get this over the finish line. That’s what Biden is trying to do. That’s what Biden can do. That’s what Biden will do.
I don’t have the slightest doubt about it.
5. Anything that we all say about Joe Biden from here on out matters, and will be used by the Trumpists to damage him and drive a wedge between all of us.
There is a reason Barack Obama chose Joe Biden as his VP. There were lots of midwestern and mid-atlantic region ‘white guys’ with ‘street cred’ with working class people.
But Obama picked Biden because Biden, like Lyndon Johnson before him, believes in actually PASSING laws and programs to help ordinary people, and Biden knows how to work the legislative process.
That’s how you make it happen. Those of us who believe in Medicare for All are in good hands with Joe Biden.