California Democrats to far-left single payer advocates: Stop bullying and threatening us!
In California, the far left is going after moderate Democrats with a vengeance. Using tactics usually reserved for Republicans, the nurses’ union, which is the most vocal proponent of California’s single payer bill, is calling for protests against Democratic members of the Assembly. The situation has become so ugly, with reports of death threats, that the entire Democratic Assembly caucus signed a letter asking single payer proponents to stop acting like violent bullies.
The letter reads in part, “we have become alarmed and disheartened by bullying tactics, threats of violence, and death threats by a few who disagree with the decision of Speaker Anthony Rendon to postpone the advancement of SB 562.” After referring to school bullies and the 2016 campaign, the letter continues, “These are tactics that we all abhor. Let us not become the persons that we detest.” In context, the Democrats in the California Assembly are clearly implying the far-left is acting a lot like candidate Trump.
Very briefly, here is what has been happening with the single payer bill in California. In May, the first cost estimate of the single payer bill said it would cost around $400 billion per year, only half of which would be covered by current spending. The other $200 billion is more than the state’s entire annual budget. That means the state would need to pass massive new taxes to implement the bill.
Despite this head-spinning cost estimate, the California Senate passed the bill about a week later. Why? In part because the Senate is very far left and in part because the bill would have died if it had not moved forward. This dumped the problem in the lap of the California Assembly which is a bit more moderate. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who says he supports single payer, set the bill aside last week with no plans to take it up again. He issued a statement saying it was “woefully incomplete” largely because it lacks any means of paying for itself. The nurses’ union responded with fury and outrage:
Rendon said Wednesday that he and his family have experienced “distressing” death threats since announcing late last Friday that the “woefully incomplete” Senate Bill 562 would not move forward this year.
“The threats that I’ve received are threats that, unfortunately, seem to be sort of a standard part of American politics these days,” he said of the messages, which have primarily come through social media. One tweet prays that “someone checks his schedule for baseball practice,” a possible reference to the shooting of Republican congressmen and aides at a baseball field in Washington, D.C., earlier this month.
Despite the death threats, the union isn’t toning it down. In fact, the tone of the attacks on CA Democrats is almost identical to attacks on Republicans for their attempts to repeal Obamacare, i.e. our opponents want people to suffer and die! They are even referring to Democrats as hostage-takers:
Meanwhile, Democrats around the country are aware of a simple fact. If you can’t pass single payer in California then you have zero chance seeing it become law across the nation anytime soon. From the New Republic:
In a state where Democrats have super-majorities in both legislative chambers and a Democratic governor, the conventional wisdom is that if California can’t pass single payer, it can’t be passed anywhere. In a statement in response to Rendon’s decision, Senator Bernie Sanders wrote, “If the great state of California has the courage to take on the greed of the insurance companies and the drug companies, the rest of the country will follow. The eyes of the country are on California today.”
Sanders’ organization is one of the groups leading the charge for the single payer bill in California. So in a very real way, this is a continuation of the battle we saw during the 2016 election between the socialists who supported Sanders and slightly more moderate Democrats who supported Hillary. Given that statement on bullying, it seems that intra-party conflict has only become more ugly with time.