Republicans and Democrats: Refusing to consider compromise




Ed Meek



Republicans are to healthcare as Democrats are to immigration. Both are against current policies with no replacements and the two camps use these issues to run against each other.


In addition, the problem goes beyond these two issues since they are not the main problems we face. Those problems are climate change and the changing economy and these issues, as proponents of the Green New Deal point out, are connected. By the changing economy, I am referring to the disparity between the rich and the poor and the coming disruption of AI. Really, of course, everything outside of climate change is a sideshow.


Trump and his Republican friends keep attacking the ACA because, although it was not proposed as such, the ACA helped a lot of poor people get health care. Many of those helped happened to be African-American (though more whites are on Obamacare than blacks). So, Republicans hate the ACA for the same reason they hate food stamps. They are convinced that minorities are the principle beneficiaries (even though twice as many whites as blacks get food stamps). This is also why they love the get tough on crime approach—because the people who are arrested and jailed and killed are often black and poor (though again, most are white).


Republicans have no replacement for the ACA because their constituents are under the misguided impression that it won’t affect them. The reason the Republican Party is against the ACA is slightly different than the reasons they profess to their base. They are against insuring people with pre-existing conditions because it is expensive for the insurance companies who contribute to their campaigns. Like their base, the last thing they want is that everyone has healthcare. That would be like…a giveaway.


This stance by Republicans gives Democrats a good platform for attacking them because Democrats want everyone to have healthcare. In some cases, this takes the form of Universal Coverage (Beto); in other cases, there are calls for Medicare for all (Bernie, Warren) and in between are calls for a combination of universal healthcare (Harris, Kobluchar), with or without Medicare slowly being offered to the population as a whole. There is a question as to whether healthcare would be offered to non-citizens but that’s kind of third rail.


Democrats are, as above, on the side of the angels when it comes to immigration. We want to give citizenship to the Dreamers. We want a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and we want humane treatment of those families seeking asylum at the border. Does this mean we want open borders? Hillary was caught saying “in an ideal world we would have open borders,” but she was not advocating for them in this world. The Democratic base is happy to attack the Trump administration for the horrendous treatment of immigrants seeking asylum but no one on the left seems to acknowledge that Americans worried about immigration have legitimate concerns (see healthcare).


Of course, in both cases, healthcare and immigration, there are compromises and policies that could be worked out by reasonable parties. But one of the parties is completely unreasonable. The other party has within it many factions that also refuse to consider compromise. It’s a problem. Neither party for example will target health care costs and the rising out of control costs of drugs. Neither party will hold employers accountable for hiring and underpaying illegal immigrants. Republicans may take a public stance against immigration yet love the cheap labor derived from immigrants.


Only the left wing of the Democratic Party is willing to take on climate change and the economy but we will see if those efforts will help a progressive candidate win the election. Leaving those problems to the private sector will just result in more short term thinking and that’s what got us into this mess in the first place. We need healthcare for all and a new immigration policy but failing to prioritize dealing with climate change first and foremost is courting catastrophe.





Ed Meek

Ed Meek writes poetry, fiction, articles and book reviews. His most recent books are Spy Pond (poems) and Luck (short stories). You can follow him @emeek on Twitter.

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