ONTD Political

Sanders wins over crowd in rural trump state with healthcare comments + report on Trump voters

2:42 pm - 03/14/2017
Vermont Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spoke at a town hall meeting hosted by MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes on Sunday. The town hall took place in McDowell County, West Virginia, and focused on how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has affected the residents’ lives and what they believe would happen to them if it is repealed, as it is currently being debated in Congress.

Republican President Donald Trump took West Virginia in a 69 percent to 26 percent landslide against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in last year’s presidential election, with the remaining votes being split primarily between Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

Just because Trump won the state handily doesn’t mean that all of the voters there — or even all of those who voted for him there — support his efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with the American Health Care Reform Act of 2017 being pushed by Republicans.

A major sticking point for those who oppose the ACA being repealed and replaced is the potential loss of funding for Medicaid, a government program that assists economically disadvantaged Americans by providing them with healthcare. Under the ACA, Medicaid was substantially expanded, providing assistance to millions more Americans in need. If the ACA is repealed and replaced with the American Health Care Reform Act, many of those who gained coverage under the ACA could lose it — regardless of how dire their healthcare needs may be.

“As expected, the House bill essentially eliminates the enhanced funding levels that made possible states’ expansion of Medicaid to their poorest working-age adult residents, something that 31 states and the District of Columbia now have done,” Health Affairs explains. “Expansion states could face up to a 40-point difference between the federal funding enhancements they expected to receive in 2020 for the expansion population and what they actually would receive under the bill. What is at stake is continued coverage for some 11 million of the more than 16 million people who have gained eligibility since full implementation of the ACA Medicaid expansion.”

When Hayes asked of the town hall attendees “How many people in the room are either on Medicaid or someone they know and love is on Medicaid?” nearly every person raised their hand.

Hayes then asked Bernie Sanders what he thought losing the Medicaid expansion would mean for the people of McDowell County.

Sanders began by saying that, unlike many of his colleagues in Congress, he believes that healthcare is a right and that the country should move towards providing a Medicaid-for-all, single-payer style of healthcare system.

The comment met with enthusiastic applause from the attendees.

Sanders then dug into some of the specifics of what repealing and replacing the ACA with the Republican plan might look like.

“When you look at the Republican bill, it should not be seen as a healthcare bill because throwing millions of people off of healthcare is not healthcare legislation. What it should be seen as is a huge tax break for the wealthiest people in this country. At a time when we have a massive level of income and wealth inequality, where the rich are getting much richer while the middle-class shrinks, this legislation would provide, over a ten-year period, $275 billion in tax breaks to the top 2 percent. So when people tell you that we don’t have a money to invest in McDowell County or rebuild our infrastructure nationally, but we do have $275 billion to give to the top 2 percent who are already doing phenomenally well – when they tell you they don’t have the money, don’t believe them.”

The response of the people at the Bernie Sanders town hall meeting was indicative of the tensions among American voters, and even within the Republican Party, over repealing the ACA. The Trump administration and Republicans in Congress who favor the American Health Care Reform Act have met resistance from some Republican voters and legislators.

Millions of Republicans are enrolled in Medicaid or other insurance plans under the ACA and are anxious about losing coverage or benefits. On the other hand, as the New York Times recently reported, more conservative Republicans and special interest groups feel that the new plan still has too much in common with the ACA.

Report: Trump voters in Michigan like economically populist Democrats

In 2008, Macomb County, Michigan, voted for Barack Obama by an 11-point margin. The county broke again for Obama in 2012 by 5 points.

But in November, Macomb swung hard against the Democratic Party — backing Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by more than 10 points, and helping Trump win the crucial swing state on his way to the presidency.

A new report says one way for Democrats to win these voters back is to more aggressively attack Wall Street, corporate tax breaks, and international free trade deals.
On Friday, the progressive think tank the Roosevelt Institute and Democracy Corps released a 17-page memo detailing extensive focus group studies with 35 Democrats and independents in Macomb who voted for Trump.

It found that some of the Trump voters were “put out of reach by their racist sentiment, Islamophobia, and disdain for multiculturalism.” But it also suggests that most are not particularly enthralled with Trump, and that the president’s standing with them could be weakened if they were convinced that he opposed their economic policy priorities, particularly on entitlements and taxes.

The report comes amid a widening debate about the strategy Democrats should pursue in the 2018 midterm elections and beyond to repair the smoking heap of rubble that is their political party. One portion of that debate centers on how much the party should emphasize populist economic policies that could appeal to members of the white working class who crossed the aisle to vote for Trump in November.

Those are the questions the Roosevelt Institute report explored.

“A majority of these voters were very open to Democrats ... who oppose trade deals, want to protect consumers from Wall Street, oppose corporate tax breaks, and will bar secret campaign money so government works for the middle class,” writes Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg, who served as a political adviser to Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry. “That’s the kind of change they were hungry for.”

In the immediate aftermath of the election, Democrats on Capitol Hill admitted to wrestling with the same problem that Hillary Clinton’s campaign faced: Trump’s outrages seemed so wide and varied, it was hard to focus on one long enough to make it stick.

“We are often way too schizophrenic on all of these issues, and we just sort of throw things at the wall in a scattershot and incoherent way as they come up,” one Democratic aide on the Hill told me. “We have to get smart and begin recognizing what attacks are sticking and which ones aren’t.”

The Roosevelt Institute generally supports progressive economic messaging, so it’s not surprising it found that could be key to success. But it also explored what attacks on Trump could be most effective. Going after the Trump Organization’s business conflicts and the president’s refusal to release his tax returns did not seem particularly damning for these voters, the institute found.

But one potentially effective attack was simple: Trump is a Republican who is governing, in many ways, along lines that would please the Republican establishment. “In contrast with Trump, they believe Republicans have ‘always been for the upper class,’” the report concludes.

Told that half of the president’s “middle class tax cuts” would go to the 1 percent of richest Americans, the Trump voters were furious — and suddenly willing to believe that he “may just be a typical politician who will tell you what you want to hear and then nothing changes,” the report says.

“These critiques successfully raised questions on whether Trump is a working class warriors,” they write. “It aligned him with the economic and cultural elite who won’t bring the promised change.”

Nor is Trump’s alliance with congressional Republicans likely to be particularly popular:

We showed these voters pictures of Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and by their responses it was clear they do not trust them. They describe them as “shifty,” “only look out for themselves,” and “like the CEOs.”
And while the focus groups were unfazed by the fact that Trump had appointed billionaires to his Cabinet — “They are fine with him bringing all his wealthy friends in government ‘if they can help him’ and if they are also ‘straight-shooters’” — they were much more alarmed by the Cabinet secretaries’ positions on important social insurance programs.

Appointing Cabinet officials who want to cut Social Security and Medicare could hurt Trump. During the study, the researchers told the Macomb voters that members of Trump’s Cabinet wanted to voucherize Medicare and raise the Social Security retirement age. (Tom Price, Trump’s health and human services secretary, supported Speaker Paul Ryan’s plan to privatize Medicare, according to CBS News. Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget under Trump, has called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme” and said he wanted to look into raising the retirement age during his confirmation hearing.)

“When voters learned about the position of Trump’s cabinet secretaries on Medicare and Social Security, alarm bells went off,” the report says. “They say a betrayal like this would be along the lines of what the banks did to them.”

by Darien Cavanaugh | by Jeff Stein
rainbows_ 15th-Mar-2017 03:42 am (UTC)

rainbows_ 15th-Mar-2017 03:44 am (UTC)

blackjedii 15th-Mar-2017 08:58 am (UTC)
I was SO IMPRESSED and heartened that both Hayes and Sanders did that. Went through WV last week a la Bluefield / Princeton and it is flat out sad how ruined and underfunded the area is. Traffic lights just swinging on one long cord...
omimouse 15th-Mar-2017 12:45 pm (UTC)
My wife was born and raised in Cabell county, and we lived there for a while before moving to WA three years ago. The state is pretty much being dragged down with the coal industry, and, at least while I was living there, absolutely no one in any kind of office is doing anything to try and bring in jobs in a different industry. At least, they sure as hell aren't campaigning on it.

m1ch43l1c3 15th-Mar-2017 10:37 am (UTC)

Ok, just to give you an idea of WV, because i live here and am from here - many west virginians were pro bernie from the start. But Bernie lost, and the majority were against Hillary from the start. But to be fair, yes there were many who were pro trump and only trump. If you look at our state primaries, youll see what im saying. If Bernie had been the democratic nominee, its very likely that he would have defeated Trump in this state.

mhfromnh 15th-Mar-2017 01:39 pm (UTC)
I for one am sick of this "Bernie would have won". if he had been the nominee, Fox, Breitbart, Infowars all would have been telling the brainwashed masses all sorts of shit against him. there were too many factors to blame this on one single reason.
invisiblegirlx 15th-Mar-2017 01:56 pm (UTC)

but he really would have won. he would have won in exactly the places where hillary lost the election. it's not like the Russians would have had a whole smear campaign put together for Bernie like they did for Hillary either. it's a fair conclusion based on how things broke down. but the election is over. it's time to work on moving the party to a better position in the next 4 years while the trump regime crumbles under the weight of all the scandals

omimouse 15th-Mar-2017 05:19 pm (UTC)
We want to believe Bernie would've won (there is no way to tell, bluntly) even when it means ignoring the sharp rise in anti-semitism and how that would have likely worked against him in the campaign, because we don't want to think about the alternative, that being that a lot of angry white people just wanted to burn the whole fucking establishment to the ground rather than let anyone that wasn't like them gain anything remotely close to an equal footing.
darlinglili 15th-Mar-2017 09:46 pm (UTC)
halfshellvenus 15th-Mar-2017 06:35 pm (UTC)
Told that half of the president’s “middle class tax cuts” would go to the 1 percent of richest Americans, the Trump voters were furious — and suddenly willing to believe that he “may just be a typical politician who will tell you what you want to hear and then nothing changes,” the report says.

NO, really?

If only they hadn't been so gullible before the election.

But I guess that given a wealthy asshole, born INTO wealth, who has never had any prior interest in doing nice things for other people, the OBVIOUS expected outcome was that he would help the working class and the underemployed.

Because evidence means nothing.
meadowphoenix 15th-Mar-2017 06:35 pm (UTC)
It's nice to see people believe that Russia wouldn't have thought Sanders was any sort of threat.
backincharge 17th-Mar-2017 03:23 am (UTC)
Russia was the least of Clinton's problems. That's not why she lost.
lightframes 15th-Mar-2017 11:07 pm (UTC)
It found that some of the Trump voters were “put out of reach by their racist sentiment, Islamophobia, and disdain for multiculturalism.”

Well at least people are starting to admit it.

But I'm glad the democrats are starting to look at some different strategies. We have to try something. (Although I still resent the "white working class" thing... as if the rest of the working class doesn't matter or doesn't have the same concerns.)
backincharge 17th-Mar-2017 03:25 am (UTC)
They're mostly referring to the rural areas that mostly white, working class voters who do determine our elections.

They're actually democratic counties, just not satisfied with the current democratic party (which is a pile of shit).
betray802 17th-Mar-2017 10:01 am (UTC)
Because there is no Non-White Working Class. Just lazy takers waiting on their check from George Soros for fake protests.
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