Right now California’s new junior U.S. senator, Kamala Harris, is the presidential candidate to watch.
It’s way early and it is promising to be a crowded field but from what little I’ve seen so far she seems to have the energy, the wits, the charm, and the backing.
I am not endorsing her here, just noting.
And my political prognostication record is something like 0 for, well, for how many prognostications I have made.
But with President Trump’s approval rating in the various polls taking a major slide and with indications that Republicans in the capitol are growing weary of him and with his rooting section on the right-wing talk shows even calling him out on things, it would seem the Democrats have an excellent chance to take back the White House and perhaps the Senate.
But in the presidential race they might do themselves in if the field is too crowded.
And then there is that Starbucks guy threatening to run as an independent or third-party candidate — and that always works as a spoiler. The independent just siphons votes making either the Democrat or Republican lose.
But back to Harris. I’m trying to get a feel for what her politics really are. But it seems she has chosen to come out swinging to the left, calling for Medicare for all, as a single-payer health care system to replace what we have now — still primarily private insurance or employer-sponsored insurance, with Obamacare woven into the system. Basically, if you do not have employer-sponsored health insurance and you are not already on Medicare, you can get a private plan that may be augmented by the government in some way.
(I personally am of retirement age so I get Medicare but have a private Medicare supplement and I still work — yeah, I still work. That’s my retirement plan. I only mention this to go with the fact that I admit I am not up on the current state of Obamacare.)
So Harris was making remarks at what was called a town hall meeting and she is being quoted as saying she would be for doing away with private insurance to cut out all the red tape between you and medical care. And I have paraphrased. I did see a video clip and heard what she said but I think it is a matter of semantics. Not sure, but I think she may have meant that, yeah, if you had single-payer insurance from the government you would not need private insurance (at least not as the main policy). Of course Barack Obama famously promised everyone that they could keep their own health plan under Obamacare but then people found out that insurance companies cancelled some of those plans due to new requirements under Obamacare.
Whether it is government-sponsored health care or private or a combination there is going to be red tape. There is always some type of bureaucracy needed as a gate-keeper. But there ought to be a way to make things fair and efficient and moral.
But anyway whatever she meant she is in favor of so-called single-payer government health insurance. I did hear her say that health care should be a basic right. And I read that at least one poll indicates that 70 percent of Americans favor single-payer now.
Times, they are a changing.
I know Bernie Sanders was enamored of the Scandinavian style of universal health care — trouble is few of us know how that really works and the United States is not Scandinavia. I think all European countries have some form of universal health care as well as other industrialized and not so industrialized nations around the world.
I wrote more than once in this space that Medicare should be expanded to cover people who otherwise could not get coverage, regardless of age.
And basically I am for guaranteed universal health care in the general sense.
I do think, however, consumers have to have some amount of skin in the game in order for them to do their part in making the system cost efficient and effective.
I for one do not want to spend my days standing around the free clinic.
Also I recall bleeding uncontrollably from a cancer condition in an emergency room but having to wait in line behind people wandering in off the street with symptoms of the common cold.
But back to Ms. Harris. I also saw a video in which I wonder if the question were not planted but where she handled it extremely well. A man said someone (a man) had suggested to him that to go up against Trump it would be better to have a man. He said he wanted Harris to give him and answer to counter the “mansplaining” man.
I thought Harris gave a great reply with a combination of good nature but forcefulness. It looks like she would be an excellent debater. That is part of what we need.
If I had that video clip readily available I would provide the link, but alas I do not at the moment. You’ll be seeing and hearing plenty of her anyway.
It seemed strange that all those Republicans in those so-called debates or candidate forums could not handle Trump. Trump has no debating skill or knowledge whatsoever. He just bullies and name calls and struts.
Of course Harris is a Democrat, but her skill on her feet, which maybe she has (she was a prosecutor), could propel her to the top. She is relatively young, in her mid fifties, a woman in the time of women, and she is, shall we say, “ethnic”, having a Jamaican father and an East Indian mother — I guess she is considered a “person of color”. She smiles and laughs a lot but then goes into a serious mode. She’s good looking (and that can be important for a woman or a man in these political races these days, Trump notwithstanding perhaps — but maybe some women think he’s a cutie).
As a prosecutor, I have read, she made both the right and left mad. To me that could mean she was doing something right (as in correct).
It’s way too early.
The right-wing media I have seen appears to be concerned about Harris. That is an indication of her early strength.