Why Democrats must force Trump to take a stand on Ryan’s plan to end Medicare and raise the retirement age
In retrospect, Mitt Romney did a couple of very smart things in 2012.
He junked a dopey video Donald Trump made for the GOP convention and he hid Paul Ryan during the last weeks of the election.
Donald Trump in 2012 was Donald Trump now.
In the weeks before the election he was running a racist stunt involving Obama promising money for charity he had no intention — or ability? — to pay. He just hadn’t destroyed the Republican Party yet, by defeating nearly every “promising” conservative star in a fashion that should haunt and humiliate them forever.
And Paul Ryan was Paul Ryan.
He hadn’t yet “saved” the Republican party by “reluctantly agreeing” to become Speaker of the House. But he was pushing the same things he always does — massive cuts that push costs on to seniors and workers so we can “afford” more tax breaks for the rich.
Last month Paul Ryan introduced his Obamacare “replacement,” which is predictably terrible. Not only would it uninsure 20 million, it would turn Medicare for anyone 55 or younger into a program that’s almost exactly like Obamacare. The big difference is there would be a public option that would be like Medicare, except you’d get to pay more because that’s how much you love freedom.
Also, he’d raise the retirement age to 67.
Trump’s support is obviously built on strategic racism, but there really is a perpetual recession going on for many Americans, heightening the economic anxiety that might make Trump’s shameful demagoguery alluring.
For instance, if you’re an unemployed white man in your mid 40s with no college education, your life is a misery. Republicans have systematically attacked unions and eliminated many of the public jobs that might keep in the middle class. And unlike minorities, who’ve had generations if not centuries to acclimate yourself to such strife, you’re adrift with little hope of finding any economic stability — and pissed.
And what is Paul Ryan offering you? The return of any preexisting condition that may prevent you from getting health insurance and the chance to work even longer.
The Speaker has “reluctantly” endorsed Trump. He’s “convinced” that Trump will appoint conservative judges willing to ban abortion, same-sex marriage, the minimum wage, salad sneeze guards… And he says Trump will give him opportunity to “turn his agenda into laws.”
Trump has proclaimed that he wouldn’t cut Medicare — but his constant hedging and private statements suggest that he could be easily swayed to Paul Ryan’s position that Medicare shouldn’t be touched “for current seniors.”
But it’s far more likely that Trump would be forced to reject Ryan’s plan.
Why? It’s incredibly unpopular — like even more unpopular than Donald Trump.
That’s why Romney hid Ryan. He didn’t see Ryan getting booed by AARP. He saw the polls.
Forcing Trump to promise to veto Ryan’s plan is exactly the kind of blow to conservatives that could get many of them — if not millions of them — to stay home in November.
As of yet, Trump’s sagging poll numbers have not trickled downballot. That’s because Republicans have been able to run away from Trump and toward Ryan. It’s time to make the Speaker as toxic as the Old Yeller.
Taking the House — given the obscene gerrymandering Republicans have put in place — will be difficult, if not impossible. It requires not only the nominee to be unpopular. It requires tearing the GOP apart. And this may be one way to do it.
[Image by Joe Taylor | Flickr]