Saturday, February 22, 2020

I’m not promising any great shakes tonight. It’s been a lovely day, if a bit cold, and I have been unable to pay attention. So let’s go, hey?

Today’s the Nevada caucuses and, as opposed to the mess that Iowa wound up being, it seems to be going fairly smoothly. So far as anyone can tell, this one’s going to Bernie Sanders and no question about it. Granted, here at 6:15 p.m. Hillbilly Standard Time, there’s plenty of shifting that could happen once the polls close and the numbers are counted, but right now it looks like Sanders followed, fairly distantly, by Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg.

Despite her powerful performance at the debate Wednesday, Elizabeth Warren came in at fourth followed by Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer. Amusingly, contentious candidate Tulsi Gabbard came in dead last after “Uncommitted”. Another interesting quirk is Sanders won heavily among service industry folk despite the Culinary Workers Union coming out against him and his health care plan.

Born and raised in the Deep South, I confess I cannot always wrap my head around the power and pull unions have in the rest of the country. I used to be a member of a union for Mississippi reporters, but it’s been 20 years and I don’t remember the name, obviously. In any event, this break by the workers against their Union is significant mainly in how it casts into sharp relief how much the health care issue lords over just about ever aspect of the 2020 election.

And it’s a big deal with me. I’m approaching my 45th year and I have severe hypertension, plus anxiety and dysthmia. The high blood pressure is the nasty one, though. I found out quite by accident, clocking a 270/160 reading. That’s really high, like, blood-spewing in a kung fu flick high. As it’s all genetic, I will have a really bad time of it without regular medication that I’ll have to take the rest of my life. I take four different pills a day, fairly powerful ones I’m told, and without insurance, I could not do it.

For a while I got insurance through my job, and it was pretty good, too. Thanks to the bits of Obamacare that neither Trump nor the state of Mississippi haven’t been able to save us from, I’ve got fairly good private insurance. Get’s the job done and doesn’t put me in the poorhouse. I am lucky as hell, especially after going most of my adult life without health insurance because I couldn’t afford it.

To put it simply, the ACA saved my life. That being said, the way this country deals with health care costs is beyond screwed up. When I first found out about my hypertension, I spent 10 days in the North Mississippi Medical Center with the fine doctors trying to figure just what was wrong with me. I got run through all sorts of machines and doo-dads, and eventually got a bill for 70 grand. Insurance brought it down to $6,000.

Like I said, I had pretty decent insurance through a pretty decent job. I lucked out where a lot of folks in the service industry don’t have insurance through work or can’t afford private insurance. The GOP did its damnedest to gut the ACA to make it harder to access for the very people it was designed to help. And since Trump took office, he’s done nothing but encourage the Republican decimation of Obama’s signature accomplishment.

So, to bring it all back around, it sort of makes sense that despite what the Culinary Union pushed for that the actual workers are going for the guy who’s pushed health care reform as his key issue. I’m sort of surprised Warren’s campaign seems to be stalling out, but I suppose the three-way fight between Biden, Buttigieg and Klobuchar for the moderate vote is sucking up all the gas in the room.

Once again, though Nevada’s the first primary of any significant size, we’ve still got a long way to go. For almost as long as they’ve had the black vote, the Democratic Party hasn’t given African American voters the attention they’re due while trying to rope in “working class white” voters that are probably never coming back. What this means is once the primary comes down South, things are definitely going to shake out different. Biden and Michael Bloomberg are putting all their eggs in that particular basket.

That all being said, Sanders has a fairly commanding lead going into the next round, March 3, called “Super Tuesday” for 10 the states doing the voting that day. If he wins big on that front, it’ll be pretty difficult for anyone to catch up no matter how well they do in the South the next week. Again, it’s still way too early to prognosticate, but I imagine there are some happy folks in the Sanders campaign tonight.

Another interesting quirk in the political world today was actor Clint Eastwood coming out for Bloomberg after supporting Trump in 2016. Known best for joining Merle Haggard for the Number One country hit “Bar Room Buddies“, Eastwood made waves when he argued with a chair at the 2012 Republican National Convention. Of course, he’s just trading one rich asshole for another, but what’s interesting is how quickly the M-zombies turned on him. They are vicious and dedicated to their Blind Idiot God, and though I doubt Eastwood gives a shit, it should be taken as a warning.

Trump supporters don’t care about the Republican Party or erstwhile supporters who doubt his holy wisdom. All they care about is Trump and his hold on power. That’s why GOP congress critters seem so spineless, they know what all of us need to learn. All that matters is Trump and his supporters will feed you to the pigs if you doubt their king. Them’s just facts, pilgrim, that’s just how they roll.

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