1. It’s Monday, April 18, 2016.
2. Your tax filings are due today. If you haven’t filed them yet, it’s more likely National File-For-An-Extension Day.
3. It’s also Patriot’s Day in Massachusetts and the running of the Boston Marathon. The weather is gorgeous here in the Northeast – in fact, it might be too hot for a 26-mile, 385-yard run. But best to all the runners and spectators.
4. So I’ve been saying that, even though I support Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders should keep running. He’s had something important to say, and I’ve believed that he’s making Clinton a better candidate for the run in the fall.
And I still think that.
I’m hearing more people talk about how this campaign is starting to drag, and the more it goes on, the more annoying they think Sanders is. It seems to them as though Sanders says pretty much the same thing all the time, in the same gruff shout.
These people are going to throw up if they hear the phrase “millionaires and billionaires” one more time. Or “Wall Street bankers.”
Yes, income inequality is an important problem in this country. Yes, we need more younger people involved in the political process. Yes, Clinton should release the transcripts of her speeches to Goldman Sachs and others.
But in the months since this campaign started, these folks – and I don’t know that I agree – believe Sanders is only focused on a couple of issues. He does not have the breadth of knowledge and the ability to change focus that Clinton does.
And, while some may doubt Clinton’s sincerity about her compassion for people, has Sanders shown any emotional attachment to the people he says he running to help? He does not have a personal touch in the same way that she or President Obama have among Democrats.
Tomorrow is the New York Primary, and Sanders needs a good showing to make the argument that he is a better alternative to the flaws of Hillary Clinton. He has a lot of support among young people, as evidenced by those big rallies in Greenwich Village and Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.
But will Democrats turn out for Sanders? I’m skeptical. I think Clinton wins by 12 or 13 percentage points.
5. One important way to bridge the income gap is to make sure everyone can afford health care.
That’s what Obamacare is supposed to do. And, according to an analysis reported in The New York Times today, that’s exactly what it’s doing.
The study, based on 2014 statistics, shows that the poor and minorities have gained the most from the law. Hispanics have seen their coverage rates grow at the fastest pace, up more than 10% from the year before the law took full effect.
And this growth comes despite the spite of Republican governors in 19 states who have refused to expand their Medicaid programs to the poor. They, of course, are more interested in making a political statement than helping people.
Obamacare isn’t perfect. Lots of folks have seen their insurance rates soar and, despite President Obama’s promise, lost the coverage that they had and enjoyed.
But even the president acknowledges that his signature achievement needs fine tuning. Hopefully, that will happen in the new administration, and the gains shown as a result of the Affordable Care Act will grow.
6. One Republican governor who is not spiteful is John Kasich of Ohio. Although it seems unlikely that he’ll be his party’s nominee, it would be interesting to see if he campaigned on these improvements in health care coverage that he, honestly, contributed to.
That probably wouldn’t sit well with the GOP orthodoxy – but would make him a better candidate against the Democrats.
7. Another interesting thing in The Times today is an op-ed piece on immigration by former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana.
The Republican defends President Obama’s right to focus on the immigration issue in the way he sees fit, saying Congress abdicated its responsibility to him. But, now that it doesn’t like what he’s doing, it and other Republicans are challenging him.
It’s like we don’t want to tell you how to do your job, but you should do your job they way we want you to.
The Supreme Court is listening to the GOP arguments against Obama’s executive actions on immigration today, which is why Lugar’s piece appears. He’s one of those Republicans that the hard core would call a RINO – Republican In Name Only. But he’s actually governed, which is more than you can say for the clowns who dominate the party now.
Lugar’s piece is worth a read.