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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In sore loser/sour grapes news, “Roy Moore files lawsuit to block Alabama Senate result,” reports AP’s Kim Chandler. “Moore’s attorney wrote in the complaint filed late Wednesday that he believed there were irregularities during the election and said there should be a fraud investigation and eventually a new election.”…Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told The Associated Press Wednesday evening that he has no intention of delaying the canvassing board meeting…“It is not going to delay certification and Doug Jones will be certified (Thursday) at 1 p.m. and he will be sworn in by Vice President Pence on the third of January,” Merrill said.” It’s not hard to envision Alabama Democrats and Republican moderates hoisting their tankards on New Year’s Eve to the bitter end of this once powerful politican, but now ineffectual loser.

In Trump’s latest betrayal of a former highly-praised associate news, WaPo’s Carol Leonnig reports that “Trump legal team readies attack on Flynn’s credibility. “President Trump’s legal team plans to cast former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn as a liar seeking to protect himself if he accuses the president or his senior aides of any wrongdoing, according to three people familiar with the strategy…The approach would mark a sharp break from Trump’s previously sympathetic posture toward Flynn, whom he called a “wonderful man” when Flynn was ousted from the White House in February. Earlier this month, the president did not rule out a possible pardon for Flynn, who is cooperating with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.”

In unintentional consequences news, Robert Pear outs a delicious irony befalling Republican political strategy in his NYT article, “Years of Attack Leave Obamacare a More Government-Focused Health Law.” As Pear notes, “The Affordable Care Act was conceived as a mix of publicly funded health care and privately purchased insurance, but Republican attacks, culminating this month in the death of a mandate that most Americans have insurance, are shifting the balance, giving the government a larger role than Democrats ever anticipated…And while President Trump insisted again on Tuesday that the health law was “essentially” being repealed, what remains of it appears relatively stable and increasingly government-funded.”

At The Monkey Cage, Sarah Binder and Mark Spindel, co-authors of The Myth of Independence: How Congress Governs the Federal Reserve, share “5 lessons from a Republican year of governing dangerously,” which include ‘1. Congress veered to the right; 2. A strong economy cannot heal partisan divisions; 3. Internal divisions narrowed the GOP agenda; 4. Republicans bent and broke rules where needed; and 5. GOP played a strong game of kick the can.’ In their conclusion, Binder and Spindel note, “Congress may find moderate solutions to fund children’s health care and protect the Dreamers. Bipartisan efforts could roll back some banking regulations and upgrade the nation’s infrastructure. Accomplishing these would require Trump and Republicans to set aside internal disagreements and tack to the center, engaging Democrats under the Senate’s normal, supermajority rules…But can Republicans manage that to convince voters they can govern — without further demotivating their partisan base — before the midterm elections next fall? Republicans’ year-end gift to taxpayers should give the economy one more boost before lawmakers face the voters, but it will be hard to run on a signature legislative achievement that is so disliked.”

A couple of juicy nuggets from columnist Robert Samuelson’s “The top 10 stats of 2017” at The Washington Post: ‘7. Americans make up 4.4 percent of the world’s population — and own 42 percent of the guns. 8. Ninety-one percent of Trump’s nominees to federal courts are white, and 81 percent are male, according to an Associated Press analysis.’

Single-payer advocates may want to take a gander at “The Leap to Single-Payer: What Taiwan Can Teach: How one nation transformed a health care system. Can America do big things anymore?” by public health experts Aaron E. Carroll and Austin Frakt, who explain, “Less than 25 years ago, Taiwan had a patchwork system that included insurance provided for those who worked privately or for the government, or for trade associations involving farmers or fishermen. Out-of-pocket payments were high, and physicians practiced independently. In March 1995, all that changed…Taiwan chose to adopt a single-payer system like that found in Medicare or in Canada, not a government-run system like Britain’s…The health insurance Taiwan provides is comprehensive. Both inpatient and outpatient care are covered, as well as dental care, over-the-counter drugs and traditional Chinese medicine. It’s much more thorough than Medicare is in the United States…Access is also quite impressive. Patients can choose from pretty much any provider or therapy. Wait times are short, and patients can go straight to specialty care without a referral…Premiums are paid for by the government, employers and employees. The share paid by each depends on income, with the poor paying a much smaller percentage than the wealthy.” There were pitfalls and problems aplenty on Taiwan’s road to successs, but “Taiwan’s ambition showed what’s possible. It took five years of planning and two years of legislative efforts to accomplish its transformation. That’s less time than the United States has spent fighting over the Affordable Care Act, with much less to show for it.”

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