It’s a common narrative that Republicans have moved sharply to the right in recent years. Unsaid is the Democratic Party’s ongoing rush to the radical left.
Members of the party’s socialist wing made plenty of noise during last year’s Democratic presidential primaries, as Bernie Sanders proved a formidable candidate. And now, it appears, they’re on the verge of a wholesale takeover.
On Wednesday, Sen. Sanders introduced a single-payer proposal that would essentially nationalize health care. Immediately, several of his Democratic colleagues with presidential aspirations in 2020 — including Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York — jumped on board. A similar measure has 117 Democratic co-sponsors in the House.
This would have been a fringe position among Democrats just five years ago.
The chances of single-payer passing the current Congress are nil, of course. But agitating for socialized medicine plays well today among the party’s dominant hyper-liberal faithful, who have all but abandoned free markets, fiscal prudence, self-reliance and individual responsibility to chase the siren song of collectivism.
While the Sanders proposal may be nothing more than a political statement, it is not without major risks.
Polls consistently show a majority of Americans — particularly in those “deplorable” states where Democrats so desperately seek to make political gains — rejecting full-blown socialized medicine. The concept didn’t even fly in Vermont, perhaps the nation’s most liberal state. Colorado voters last year overwhelmingly rejected a single-payer ballot proposal by a 4-to-1 margin.
In addition, while the details of the Sanders plan remain murky — it involves making everybody eligible for Medicare — the enormous tax hikes necessary to create and sustain “free” health care would only hasten the bankruptcy of a nation already $20 trillion in debt. All while likely eroding options and quality of care for millions of Americans.
Indeed, on Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal’s left-leaning columnist William Galston noted a 2016 report from the liberal Urban Institute. The study determined that the socialized medicine proposal Sen. Sanders championed during his presidential run would have necessitated a $2.5 trillion increase in spending during the first year and $32 trillion in higher outlays over a decade. Even Sen. Sanders’ soak-the-rich tax proposals couldn’t cover those costs, Mr. Galston observes. That means middle-class Americans would face massive tax hikes.
“This is not just a political calculation,” writes Mr. Galston. “From a policy standpoint, the danger is that ‘Medicare for All’ will become the Democrats’ ‘repeal and replace’ Obamacare.”
“Tax, spend and elect” has been the de facto motto of the Democratic Party for decades. At least now, a growing number of Democrats are out of the closet as they push the party to the extremes in pursuit of a socialist-progressive utopia.