I was doing websearches on health reform. My main focus was on public option and polls, but I was checking out all the various issues. I keep coming across rightwingers who claim that Americans don’t want health reform and don’t want public option. I realize critics have their arguments and the data can be confusing. Still, after all my websearching, it still seems clear that support for public option has remained steady.
Rightwingers have only two responses when confronted with the fact that most people want health care reform, that most people support systems such as public option or single payer.
First, they attack the polls. They’ll claim that some polls show the opposite, but this excuse falls apart when it’s shown that the polls against are exceptions. Then they’ll say the polling is biased which simply dismisses that polling experts are well versed in potential bias and are careful to prevent it.
Second, they attack the American public. They’ll claim people are stupid, uninformed or easily manipulated. However, this misses the point that a majority of doctors also support health care reform and public option. So, they’ll claim that personally doctors benefit and so are biased which translates into we can’t trust doctors to actually care about their own patients.
This type of rightwinger will go around and around.
Below are some relevant data, videos and links (mostly about public option). What I found interesting is the fact that, along with most doctors, most church-going Catholics support public option and so are in agreement with most Americans in general. Even more interesting is the fact that the church-going Catholics even support a national plan that includes funding for abortion.
A batch of state polls by the non-partisan Research 2000 shows that in multiple states represented by key Dem Senators who will have to decide whether to support reconciliation, the public option polls far better than the Senate bill does, often by lopsided margins.
Here’s a rundown, sent over by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which commissioned the polls:
* In Nevada, only 34% support the Senate bill, while 56% support the public option.
* In Illinois, only 37% support the Senate bill, while 68% support the public option.
* In Washington State, only 38% support the Senate bill, while 65% support the public option.
* In Missouri, only 33% support the Senate bill, while 57% support the public option.
* In Virginia, only 36% support the Senate bill, while 61% support the public option.
* In Iowa, only 35% support the Senate bill, while 62% support the public option.
*In Minnesota, only 35% support the Senate bill, while 62% support the public option.
* In Colorado, only 32% support the Senate bill, while 58% support the public option.
I’ve noticed two pieces of data. Supposedly most Americans identify as conservative. The problem is that self-identified labels are very vague with many meanings. Demographics show that public opinion has become rather progressive.
Looking at US history, political labels are constantly changing meaning. Conservative at one time meant something along the lines of libertarianism or other similar ideologies. With the Southern Strategy, conservative became identified with “white culture” and the culture wars in general. This transitioned into neocon policies of being tough on crime along with being supportive of big military and big business. Now, conservative is regaining some populist connotations, but in America populism has always been connected with working class liberalism/progressivism/socialism.
To focus just on the younger generation, a clear future can be seen. They’re overall very liberal and progressive, but I think they might identify as more conservative/moderate than Boomers. I’m not sure though.
What I’m thinking is that we’re in the middle of an ideological shift in public opinion. In the last half of the 20th century, the entire political spectrum was shifting to the right. What that created was a rightwing corporatist government. Maybe in the first of the 21st century the entire political spectrum will be shifting back to the left again.
The one thing that seems very clear to me is that the culture wars as we knew them are over. Glenn Beck’s ranting against social justice Christians is proof that Christians themselves are becoming more interested in social justice.
People like Beck and Palin have helped to divide the conservative movement which has forced the extreme rightwingers into their own separate Tea Party. Some in the Tea Party would like to take over the GOP and make it even more rightwing, but I don’t think they’ll be successful. Instead, I think that Republican politicians will realize that they have to cater to a new base which isn’t exclusive to the shrinking demographic of white fundamentalists.
The GOP might become more moderate which means Democrats might become more strong in their opinions. This could explain why a nearly century old fight for universal healthcare has finally led to a bill being passed. Progressivism is returning. This fits the vision the younger generation has of government.