July 18, 2017

Democrats’ Single-Payer Litmus Test A Major Midterm Headache

The Democratic civil war has impacted political races from Virginia to California. Now the intra-party fight is increasingly focused on single-payer, which has the potential to infect every Democratic fight between now and the midterm elections.

Senator Bernie Sanders has spent 2017 “aggressively pushing Democrats to embrace a single payer system,” but according to McClatchy, single-payer could harm Democrats’ midterm prospects:

“Democrats are showing uncommon unity in fighting Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. But the discipline masks a deep and fundamental divide within the party that could complicate Democrats’ efforts to gain ground in the 2018 election and beyond.”

Yet liberal activists are not heeding that warning, and some like Democracy for America are planning on making it a key litmus test next year:

“’We are nearing the point where support is going to become a litmus test, not just for progressives, but for Democrats writ large,’ said Neil Sroka, a spokesman for Democracy for America.”

Yet the polling by organizations like Pew Research show that the public is decidedly against their extreme vision. In a June Pew poll, 63% of Americans said that they did not support a “single national government program” providing health care coverage for Americans. While liberal activists might succeed in establishing their single-payer litmus test within the Democratic Party, the end result will be electoral disaster in general elections across the country.