Next month, Nancy Pelosi needs a majority vote in the House to be confirmed for her next speaker term. Since the Democratic majority became very slim after the November elections, only a handful of votes not cast in her favor may block the nomination. Apparently, the scenario seemed probable enough for the party leadership to take action. Earlier this month, House Rules chair Jim McGovern warned possible dissidents that they would be voting for the “QAnon wing of the Republican Party” unless they back Pelosi.
Well, there is a suggestion on how to do exactly that and it has been making quite the ruckus on political Twitter over the last few days. The goal is not to spite Pelosi or help the GOP, but to force her to take a vote on Medicare for All – a system of universal healthcare in the United States proposed to replace the one currently in place.
There is of course virtually no chance that such a piece of legislation would pass even at a time of a crippling pandemic, considering that Joe Biden opposes universal healthcare.
But a vote would be on the record, and every Democrat seeking reelection would have to answer to their constituency, the plan is. This election cycle, candidates supporting Medicare for All on the campaign trail were remarkably successful at winning seats, a fact that ‘squad’ member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used to defend progressives when they were attacked from the center over disappointing election results.
A call to AOC and other like-minded representatives to force a M4A vote came last week from comedian and political commentator Jimmy Dore on The Hill’s Rising program. The idea gained a lot of traction online and even made Dore’s name trend on Twitter at one point. But there was also plenty of pushback, some of which may seem a bit bizarre.
One commenter, for example, called out several supporters by name and branded them “very white Bernie Sanders left,” who treat women of color on the squad as “… ‘the help’ to be ordered around.” The sentiment was backed by MSNBC star host Joy Reid.
— Joy WE VOTED!! WEAR A MASK!! Reid 😷) (@JoyAnnReid) December 13, 2020
Ironically, the not-so-veiled allegation of racism cites a post by Justin Jackson, an NFL player who happens to be black. He called out Reid, saying she was using her platform “to purposefully misinform struggling Americans” about healthcare.
Your worldview begins and ends with hating republicans, all while allowing establishment democrats to deny Americans the exact same things, while just coating it in a nicer façade. It’s shameful, and this black man sees right through it.
— Justin Jackson (@J_ManPrime21) December 14, 2020
For what it’s worth, AOC herself rejected the idea, saying there was no sense in voting on a bill that is destined to fail and that she would rather use her “leverage” on something doable. However, her example of passing a $15 minimum wage for federal workers is on Joe Biden’s platform, so it was not clear why she would need to pressure centrists over it.
In contrast, you can use leverage to push for things that *can* happen and change lives – ie a $15 min wage vote in the first 100 days (doable), elevating longtime progressive champions to important positions of leadership (also doable)
That’s the opportunity cost to weigh
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 12, 2020
2020 was a major win for centrist Democrats, who managed to rein in the progressive ‘insurrection’ from the Bernie Sanders wing of the party and circle wagons around Joe Biden. The promise was that once Biden was elected president he could be pushed left on policies.
The Biden administration is yet to take the helm, but so far his cabinet picks offer little hope that a leftward shift would materialize, political observers say. It is dominated by Obama world corporatists and includes Neera Tanden, a very vocal critic of anyone on the left of the Democratic establishment.
If you like this story, share it with a friend!