The election is over. The results will still take a lot of sifting through before we know exactly what has happened, but we do know that both parties have a stake in government now. Democrats took the US House, several legislative chambers, and six Governors offices. Republicans held, and even strengthened, their grip on the Senate.
This is going to be gridlock. But for Democrats, there is a very clear way forward that will point to a successful 2020 and beyond – possibly for a whole generation. It’s a matter of growing leadership and strengthening the position of problem solvers who work for the people of this nation.
I will get back to defining People’s Economics shortly. It only matters more after this.
It’s important to start with the significant loss for Democrats, and the nation, with Sen McCaskill (D-MO). She was an important voice for consensus and compromise, one of the last great leaders of this kind in the Senate. She will be missed.
Aside from that, this was the Democrat’s night. Taking the House assures gridlock, certainly, but it protects the Mueller investigation and puts an important check on the corruption and nonsense that defines the Trump administration. They can’t get away with as much as they have.
Going forward, getting anything done is going to be difficult. Focusing on what voters genuinely care about, health care reform, is clearly going to be the top of their agenda and it’s a good issue for many reasons.
Obamacare is very similar to the healthcare system in Germany and other developed nations in many ways, but with three key exceptions:
- There is no uniform billing standard, something which is extremely important and would save about $315 billion per year, as I wrote about earlier.
- There is something like a ‘Medicare for all” option in other national systems.
- Insurers have to be non-profit in most of the world.
The first of these is essential, the second is possible, the third … we’ll get back to someday, maybe.
Democrats have already made it clear that they will focus on prescription drug pricing, which indeed helps the bottom line for both citizens and government. I would hope that uniform billing is added as well, since the potential savings are much higher. These two, combined, position the Democrats as a technical party that solves problems which matter to everyone and are clear winners. They are also achievable even in the short term, assuming even a small amount of cooperation.
Republicans are going to continue to push immigration as an issue, despite all the growing signs that more immigrants, not fewer, are indeed going to be needed. This has been easily predicted and is obvious to anyone paying attention to demographics, but Republicans see it as an emotional issue rather than a practical one. It will isolate them even further as the party of chaos and rigid ideology.
Can anything get done in the next two years at all? It’s still not likely, but solid proposals put forward by solid leadership will either get the Democrats a lot more power in 2020 or will get something done. It’s where it all has to go, and the way forward in the short term is obvious.
Impeachment is still a possibility, but with a highly Republican Senate it has to be rock-solid. The election of Sen Romney (R-UT) is going to make things much more interesting on that front, as he is interested in purging Trumpism from his party. That, combined with the stench of a real loser, will be the big difference.
But that’s mainly politics, and voters don’t care about that as much. They want healthcare fixed. The way forward on that is straightforward and technical, and as such is a good issue. It should reasonably be achievable, even in a bipartisan Congress.
Democrats have their marching orders. Time to go forth and see what can get done, or at least why it can’t get done.