Ed Rendell was the Democratic Governor of Pennsylvania and before that the Mayor of Philadelphia. He also served as DNC Chairman back in 2000. Today Rendell wrote an opinion piece for the Hill saying Democrats are leaning too far to the left. He warns that the consequences of making promises the party can’t keep will be four more years of President Trump.
For Democrats, one trend that has taken hold is quite alarming: our swing to the far left. That trend has been exemplified by almost all of our putative presidential candidates. The two clearest examples of trying to appeal to our base by being as progressive as possible were the rush to embrace a “single-payer” health care system after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) publicly endorsed it, and the stampede to call for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)…
Regardless of your opinion on its merits, single-payer is not a reasonable solution to the challenge of making health care accessible and affordable; it will never get the 60 votes necessary in the Senate, even if Democrats were to win back the chamber on Nov. 6. Our candidates should work for solutions that are politically achievable, and not appeal to voters with a plan they know cannot become reality. (That’s like saying, “Mexico would pay for the wall.”)
Rendell also believes Abolish ICE managed to steal defeat from the jaws of victory by changing the subject at a time when President Trump was being hammered for separating families at the border. Finally, Rendell says the left’s reaction to the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh also fits into the category of overreach:
Once he was confirmed, we should have let the issue drop. But too many of our most vociferous progressive candidates and progressive media outlets promised that Democrats will begin impeachment proceedings against Justice Kavanaugh if we take back the House…
But, of course, there is no way we would ever get 66 votes to convict him and remove him from the court. So, they were guilty of making a shallow promise with no basis in reality.
Rendell concludes, “if we continue to tack to the far left in the 2020 election cycle, we surely will see another four years of President Trump (please, no!).” That’s certainly the equivalent of a Halloween nightmare for many on the left, but he has a point.
Lots of people support the concept of Medicare-for-all so long as it’s divorced from the cost of implementing it. A study released this summer suggested the cost over 10 years could be $32 trillion. Democrats tried to push a lie about the study (saying it showed the plan would save money overall) but fact-checkers agreed that wasn’t an accurate portrayal of the findings.
Rendell is right that before the far left promises voters the moon, Democrats should think carefully about what the party can actually deliver. When it comes to health care in particular, there are problems with existing single-payer systems that Americans might want to consider before leaping in with both feet. Long delays are often part of the system as is overcrowding. Recent reports suggest the solution to some of this in the UK may be to have people meet with their doctors in groups of 10-15. You can imagine how much fun that would be, i.e. describing your medical issues to a doctor in front of a dozen strangers. I suspect this sort of thing won’t be mentioned in the glossy single-payer brochure Democrats pass around the next few years. Finally, here is a report by BBC’s Newsnight from last October which describes the current situation in British hospitals as unsustainable: