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Jan 5 · Last update 4 mo. ago.

What can we learn from #ForceTheVote?

In January 2021 Nancy Pelosi was running for her 4th term as Speaker of the United States House or Representatives. Pelosi is a centrist Democrat who has refused to bring MedicareForAll up for a vote in the House, despite America having one of the most dismal pandemic responses in the world and the majority of Americans being in favour of the public healthcare (46% Republican voters, 88% Democrats, and 68% Independents). With a slim Democratic majority in the House, Pelosi needed progressive Democrat support for her 4th term, some of whom have been long term advocates for policies such a MedicareForAll and have been elected on the ground of their support of a universal healthcare system. #ForceTheVote was a online political pressure movement started by NFL Footballer Justin Jackson and Comedian Jimmy Dore to pressure progressive Representatives to use their vote for Pelosi as leverage to force a vote for MedicareForAll in the House in response to the pandemic. The hashtag campaign gained widespread support from left leaning journalists and commentators who backed the approach of progressives forcing Pelosi to hold a vote on a single-payer health care system in exchange for her re-election as speaker. However the campaign was argued to be as much of an attempt to reveal which progressive politicians were actually willing to advocate for universal healthcare when they had the leverage, and which were unable to appose centrist Democrats like Pelosi; who really supports MedicareForAll. Ultimately #ForceTheVote failed to gain enough traction with progressive democrats and Nancy Pelosi was reelected on January 4th without any significant opposition, but #ForceTheVote gained significant opposition from progressives such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez What can we learn from the failure of #ForceTheVote? forcethevote.org newsweek.com/69-percent-americans-want-medicare-all-including-46-percent-republicans-new-poll-says-1500187
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The need for a third party
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The Squad is not willing to actually advocate
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Nothing - #ForceTheVote was never going to work
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Obama-era posturing is still acceptable
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The need for a third party

The most important lesson to take from the failure of #ForceTheVote is that progressive politicians are willing to sell out their own voter base, the people that have elected them to their positions, and are not willing to actually fight for popular progressive policies. This boldly underlines the need for a third political party in America, an alternative to the corporate-captured Republican and Democrat parties, and one which is willing to advocate for people and for the policies popular with them. The movement for a People’s Party is a grassroots progressive populist organisation established to start a major third party, one that offers actual political opposition to the general neo-liberal conservative consensus of US politics.

The movement for a People’s Party is planning to form the People’s Party in 2021, to run in the 2022 midterms, and may run a presidential candidate in 2024 on a democratic socialism, environmentalism, and anti-imperialism platform, while supporting MedicareForAll. Such a outlook is a void in the current US political landscape which focuses mostly on identity politics and completely fails to consider real policy. A 2020 Hill-HarrisX poll showed that the majority of voters not only want a viable third party, but think it a necessity for an effective political system. 60% of registered voters thought that there needs to be a three party system in the US, 61% of Democrats, 68% Independents and even 51% of Republicans support the establishment of a third party [1]. Americans are sick of this hyper-partisanship stalemate that is US governance and #ForceTheVote has shown that mounting a campaign from inside a party is not going to work, the US needs a third party.

twitter.com/PeoplesParty_US/status/1345857117643829249 peoplesparty.org/force-the-vote-cornel-west-jimmy-dore [1] thehill.com/hilltv/what-americas-thinking/517088-poll-60-percent-of-voters-say-a-viable-third-party-is-needed-to

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D H
Jan 12
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DH edited this paragraph
The most important lesson to take from the failure of #ForceTheVote is that progressive politicians are willing to sell out their own voter base, the people that have elected them to their positions, and are not willing to actually fight for popular progressive policies. This boldly underlines the need for a third political party in America, an alternative to the corporate-captured Republican and Democrat parties, and one which is willing to advocate for people and for the policies popular with them. The movement for a People’s Party is a grassroots progressive populist organisation established to start a major third party, one that offers actual political opposition to the general neo-liberal conservative consensus of US politics.

The Squad is not willing to actually advocate

It is clear from the #ForceTheVote campaign that progressive Democrats are not really interested in pushing progressive policies, but are just happy to talk the talk and will bypass golden opportunities to advocate meaningfully. But the #ForceTheVote campaign was a success in its more cynical goal, it has effectively demonstrated to Democrat voters exactly who is willing to mount political pressure in the Democratic party and who is just utilising progressive rhetoric to aid their political career. Not one progressive democrat opposed Pelosi or used their vote as leverage, and all members of "the squad" of four high profile congresswomen (Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley) voted for Pelosi without question, while only corporate Democrats opposed Pelosi in any way.

Some progressing Dems opposed #ForceTheVote by arguing it wasn't the best time and that MedicareForAll being voted down would be bad optics for the policy, making it increasingly unpopular. However a whopping 88% majority of Democratic voters are for MedicareForAll so there is a clear need for political pressure campaigns on Democratic politicians, to force them into alignment with what their voters actually want. Likewise history teaches us that this logic is flawed also, in the UK the conservative Tory government voted against the establishment of the National Health Service 21 times between 1946 and 1948 before it was ultimately passed, and it is a popular institution to this day. #ForceTheVote has effectively shown the public who is really behind MedicareForAll, and for most progressives it seems to be just rhetoric, as they are unwilling to pressure the establishment of the Democratic Party.

youtube.com/watch?v=LyAXpYPA7C4 twitter.com/RichMcGowanMD/status/1345925019499712513 westendatwar.org.uk/page/what_resistance_was_there_to_the_formation_of_the_nhs twitter.com/briebriejoy/status/1346279643083649024 youtube.com/watch?v=w7WDyWpyeKM thelasttradition.com/2021/01/jimmy-dore-lowers-boom-on-aoc-aocs.html socialistalternative.org/2020/12/23/jimmy-dore-is-right-aoc-should-force-a-floor-vote-on-medicare-for-all

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D H
Jan 12
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DH edited this paragraph
Some progressing Dems opposed #ForceTheVote by arguing it wasn't the best time and that MedicareForAll being voted down would be bad optics for the policy, making it increasingly unpopular. However a whopping 88% majority of Democratic voters are for MedicareForAll so there is a clear need for political pressure campaigns on Democratic politicians, to force them into alignment with what their voters actually want. Likewise history teaches us that this logic is flawed also, in the UK the conservative Tory government voted against the establishment of the National Health Service 21 times between 1946 and 1948 before it was ultimately passed, and it is a popular institution to this day. #ForceTheVote has effectively shown the public who is really behind MedicareForAll, and for most progressives it seems to be just rhetoric, as they are unwilling to pressure the establishment of the Democratic Party.

Nothing - #ForceTheVote was never going to work

#ForceTheVote teaches us nothing as it could not have worked, what sounds like a good idea would have accomplished nothing, even if progressive democrats jumped on board. As AOC pointed out to Justin Jackson the problem with the idea is that there's no thought given to the second step, the majority in the Democratic Party does not support MedicareForAll and the Democrats have a "razor-thin margin" in the house [1]. Medicare for all would be voted down in the House, let alone passing in the Senate, it would need every single Democrat to vote on it and this is just statistically impossible at the moment.

Hypothetically speaking, if Nancy Pelosi would have agreed and a forced MedicareForAll vote earned no votes it makes the cause itself look hopeless and pathetic, and for a piece of legislation as divisive as this, this could just be a death knell for the policy. This outcome would only serve to humiliate progressives, while further dividing the left in an attempt at spending political capital they do not have, there may be a growing number of progressives in the Democratic Party but not enough to just dictate policy. Furthermore, Joe Biden has already planned to expand Medicaid to address the pandemic, allowing people can opt into it without affecting insurance plans, a much more realistic policy in the US as things currently stand. The left needs to be strategic in presenting policy and building support, not just posturing and making these issues more unrealistic in the long run.

youtube.com/watch?v=RP-mI_P97s0 foxnews.com/politics/progressives-aoc-dems-pelosis-medicare-for-all [1] twitter.com/AOC/status/1337619367857713154?s=20 nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/12/jimmy-dore-aoc-medicare-for-all-strategy.html

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D H
Jan 12
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DH edited this paragraph
#ForceTheVote teaches us nothing as it could not have worked, what sounds like a good idea would have accomplished nothing, even if progressive democrats jumped on board. As AOC pointed out to Justin Jackson the problem with the idea is that there's no thought given to the second step, the majority in the Democratic Party does not support MedicareForAll and the Democrats have a "razor-thin margin" in the house [1]. Medicare for all would be voted down in the House, let alone passing in the Senate, it would need every single Democrat to vote on it and this is just statistically impossible at the moment.

Obama-era posturing is still acceptable

The #ForceTheVote campaign marks a revealing turn for the so-called “justice democrats” or “the Squad” as, other than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), all refused to even acknowledge the campaign despite significant support. Most revealing was AOC whose denial of action marked a specific return to Obama-era rhetoric and inaction, with arguments that can be essentially boiled down to "trust us the adults are handling things", while doing nothing to oppose the status quo. Just like Obama, AOC adopted a movement that got her elected and is now turning her back on the exact rhetoric that she was elected on, just like Obama replacing his significant grassroots support with lobbyists as soon as he took office.

These progressives in Congress are 'diversity-washing' evil neoliberal policies in much the same way as Obama, this is nothing new but it is still surprising that this Obama-era rhetoric still holds water. This is especially shocking considering the parallels between 2008 and 2020, the bank/corporate bailouts and foreclosure crises that seem set to repeat this time amidst a pandemic, and progressives are ignoring a grassroots campaign to reform the broken US' healthcare system. Moves like this make it clear that progressives like AOC are co-opting diversity to indulge in political inaction in order to profiteer personally from their position in much the same way as Barak Obama. Just as Obama set the stage for Trump, this continued political inaction could set the stage for much worse.

twitter.com/james_roe/status/1345944107307339776 foxnews.com/politics/progressives-aoc-dems-pelosis-medicare-for-all cnet.com/news/obama-defends-secret-nsa-spy-program-trust-us ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/november/13/the-return-of-the-obama-adults-in-a-joe-biden-administration-is-likely-to-spell-ruin-for-america newrepublic.com/article/140245/obamas-lost-army-inside-fall-grassroots-machine youtu.be/QBPDfbPkTlU?t=7285

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D H
Jan 7
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DH edited this paragraph
The #ForceTheVote campaign marks a revealing turn for the so-called “justice democrats” or “the Squad” as, other than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), all refused to even acknowledge the campaign despite significant support. Most revealing was AOC whose denial of action marked a specific return to Obama-era rhetoric and inaction, with arguments that can be essentially boiled down to "trust us the adults are handling things", while doing nothing to oppose the status quo. Just like Obama, AOC adopted a movement that got her elected and is now turning her back on the exact rhetoric that she was elected on, just like Obama replacing his significant grassroots support with lobbyists as soon as he took office.
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