Democrats need to unify around a comprehensive ACA fix right now.

By Jack Runyan

The AHCA’s failure
was a monumental defeat for the Trump & the Republican Party. This defeat arose from a combination of factors, such as the House Freedom Caucus failing to rally for any health care bill that seemed reminiscent of the ACA’s regulatory framework, as well as pressure on moderate Republicans to vote against the bill from constituents at town halls. Of course, a lot of the damage was self-inflicted: the reality is that Speaker Paul Ryan put forth a set of vastly unpopular policies (only 17% of Americans supported Trumpcare) and the party did not put much effort into organizing around these policies. It’s also fair to say that even President Trump’s effort was no where close to President Obama’s in securing the ACA’s passage.

For the moment, the ACA is safe. But Paul Ryan is not done with trying to undermine the state of health care in the United States. He is meeting with donors on Thursday and Friday with a rough plan of what his next push on health care would be like. So if elected Democrats consider the issue of the ACA resolved, they had better think again.

Continue reading “Democrats need to unify around a comprehensive ACA fix right now.”

The case for Democrats to just run on Medicare for all

By Jack Runyan

One of the prevailing themes of the election in 2016 for Democrats was voting for Hillary Clinton was about protecting the Obama legacy. But the reality we face under President Trump is that Republicans are coming for it all. To approach Trumpcare as merely the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to miss the bigger picture, as the bill is actually an insidious attack on all of the achievements that the Democratic Party has made on health care for the past several decades.

The language of the Democratic platform indicates that the party will “will never falter in our generations-long fight to guarantee health care as a fundamental right” and supports “should be able to access public coverage through a public option, and those over 55 should be able to opt in to Medicare.” So why aren’t Democrats in Congress saying something to the effect of “the ACA fixes we’ll accept include a public option and a Medicare buy-in” right now? The unpopularity of Trumpcare would only be enhanced if Democrats were regularly reminding Americans what they stand for, which includes a public health insurance option that generally polls well (admittedly, polling could change based on the terminology used). With the threat of the American Health Care Act’s passage looming, which stands to reign in the ACA’s comparably more generous subsidies and alter Medicaid as we know it, I would argue that it’s time for Democratic answer to the Republican assault on health care to be Medicare for All.

Some may question the utility of such a strategy at a time when Republicans control both the White House and Congress given that a bill congruent with Medicare for all has no chance of becoming law under a Trump presidency. But that is precisely why Democrats should be loud and clear on the issues now. Never has there been a more critical time for Democrats to show the American people what they stand for, which is key to resisting a Donald Trump presidency. In this piece, I make the case for Medicare for all based on an appreciation for what Republicans are attempting to do now, I make the case for Medicare for all as an engine for Democratic messaging and answer common objections to doing so, I bring up a unique challenge for Medicare for all advocates that I believe goes unappreciated, and I make the case for Medicare for all simply based on what it means policy-wise.

Continue reading “The case for Democrats to just run on Medicare for all”

I am a Nov. 8, 2016 purist; anything else is complicity

Hawaii Delilah, Nov. 20, 2016

The election in the United States of Donald Trump as president on Nov. 8, 2016 — without a popular vote mandate — has evoked questions about how a loyal Democrat should deal with Trump voters personally, and also in the halls of power.    

In my view, the election of Trump — a multifaceted  bigot — has created an imprimatur for racists and misogynists to express their disdain for those of us who are women, people of color, immigrants, and various other minorities.   


Continue reading “I am a Nov. 8, 2016 purist; anything else is complicity”

I don’t want to hear Democrats talking about working with Donald Trump. I want to hear Democrats talking about stopping his agenda.

Jack Runyan,  Nov. 18, 2016.

Here’s the reality: President-elect Donald Trump won the White House without winning the popular vote. He has the highest unfavorables of any President-elect polled by Gallup since 1992. Only 29% of Americans believe Trump has a mandate to carry out his agenda.

Compare this to 2008, where President Obama won the popular vote, had very high favorables after being elected, and 50% of Americans believed he had a mandate to pursue his agenda. This was alongside a sweeping win where Democrats took over both houses of Congress. But back then, none of those political realities stopped Mitch McConnell from making his first and foremost agenda the goal to ensure President Obama was a one-term President. They simply didn’t give a fuck: President Obama’s agenda was to be opposed by virtue of the fact that President Obama was pursuing it. That’s all that mattered.

Continue reading “I don’t want to hear Democrats talking about working with Donald Trump. I want to hear Democrats talking about stopping his agenda.”

Wine Review: Hope and Grace Merlot (there’s a political analogy)

Hawaii Delilah, Nov. 4, 2016

I was chatting with friends about some of my favorite Napa Valley wines and found myself being reminded of the 2011 Hope and Grace Merlot.  I want to note that Hope and Grace is one of my favorite boutique wineries in the Napa region. There is something to love in all their wines.  In this case,  I am looking at the 2011 Merlot.  Of note is the fact that it spent 22 months in French Oak and only 10 barrels of this wine were produced.


Ruby red in hue, this medium-bodied wine features fruit forward flavors of black cherry and blueberry, and is warmed by brown sugar and honey accents. Before one can be lulled into a sense of complacency on the palate, one’s senses are sparked by hints of pepper and spice, along with surprising aromatic intimations of bay leaf, rose, and violet. The base notes of chocolate and tobacco make it clear that the Hope and Grace Merlot embodies substance.
Continue reading “Wine Review: Hope and Grace Merlot (there’s a political analogy)”

Why I, as a progressive, cannot vote for a 3rd party presidential candidate in the United States

Jack Runyan, Nov. 4, 2016

It’s fair to say that I’m generally to the left of the Democratic Party on most issues. To give you some idea, if there were a well-crafted ballot initiative in my state proposing, say, a statewide universal basic income, I would probably vote for it. I think the debate around the minimum wage gets fixated on adjusting for inflation when that’s only a part of the issue; my view is that it should be adjusted for gains in productivity as well. In general, on economic issues, I would like to see a Democratic Party that proposes a platform in the spirit of the Second Bill of Rights. Even more ambitious is the platform put out by Movement for Black Lives, which is arguably the most thorough platform I have seen this entire election.

It’s no secret that Hillary Clinton’s platform is no where near as ambitious as either the Second Bill of Rights or the platform put forth by the Movement for Black Lives. This does not mean her platform is insignificant however. Far from it.

Continue reading “Why I, as a progressive, cannot vote for a 3rd party presidential candidate in the United States”