Trump op-ed: We must stop Dems' march to Venezuela-style socialism

“The truth is that the centrist Democratic Party is dead,” Donald Trump declares today in a rare op-ed in USA Today. If Democrats win the midterm elections, the president warns, their leadership will begin transforming America into Venezuela. It may start with health care, the ostensible subject of Trump’s essay, but it won’t end there:

The truth is that the centrist Democratic Party is dead. The new Democrats are radical socialists who want to model America’s economy after Venezuela.

If Democrats win control of Congress this November, we will come dangerously closer to socialism in America. Government-run health care is just the beginning. Democrats are also pushing massive government control of education, private-sector businesses and other major sectors of the U.S. economy.

Every single citizen will be harmed by such a radical shift in American culture and life. Virtually everywhere it has been tried, socialism has brought suffering, misery and decay.

Trump starts off the piece attacking Democratic plans to pass “Medicare for All,” which would complete a government takeover of the health-care sector. In doing so, they would eliminate Medicare Advantage plans after forcing insurers out of the health care business entirely, which would increase costs to seniors and disabled consumers who are currently benefiting from it. The massive rationing required to keep costs down in such a system would essentially make it impossible for many to get access to effective care, Trump argues. “Medicare for All would really be Medicare for None.”

But Trump’s real point is that Medicare for All is just the beginning. It doesn’t take long for Trump to get to his favorite topic when describing the dystopia to come if Democrats come to power:

Indeed, the Democrats’ commitment to government-run health care is all the more menacing to our seniors and our economy when paired with some Democrats’ absolute commitment to end enforcement of our immigration laws by abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That means millions more would cross our borders illegally and take advantage of health care paid for by American taxpayers.

Today’s Democratic Party is for open-borders socialism. This radical agenda would destroy American prosperity. Under its vision, costs will spiral out of control. Taxes will skyrocket. And Democrats will seek to slash budgets for seniors’ Medicare, Social Security and defense.

It’s tough to dispute this when the Democratic Party’s standardbearers are Bernie Sanders and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, or even Nancy Pelosi. Democrats would be better off rallying behind leaders like Rep. Tim Ryan and Senators Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Donnelly, but the latter two might not be around much longer, as Republicans are assisting in making moderate Democrats an endangered species. The progressive-socialist wing is ascendant where it’s least accountable, in deep-blue states like California, Massachusetts, and New York.

This essay isn’t really about the midterms, let alone Medicare for All. Even if the GOP lost control of both chambers of Congress, which is extremely unlikely, Trump could hold off any Medicare for All legislation with his veto power. This is Trump’s opening shot in the 2020 election cycle, taking aim at Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory “Departacus” Booker, and all of the other progressives intent on unseating him. Trump — or whoever wrote this under his name — wants to remind voters now that he’s all that stands between them and the Dark Night of Venezuelan Socialism, and maybe remind a few wannabe Republican challengers of that point, too.

Update: Clearly I didn’t have enough coffee this morning when I erroneously wrote “chambers of Commerce” rather than “chambers of Congress.” I’ve fixed it above, and thanks to Russell Michaels on Twitter for pointing out the error.