Hispanics, Health Care and Winning the West
Can we have a serious debate about Health Care in our country? If you had followed the 2004 election - you'd probably think not. But things are changing...
As health care becomes a larger and larger issue for most Americans, we are likely to see the dimensions of the health care debate take on a greater electoral value. According to the Albuquerque Tribune:
The survey of 800 registered Latino voters in states, including California, with the highest density of Latinos showed a striking level of concern over access to quality, affordable health care...
Access to health services is seen by 91 percent of Latino voters as a basic human right; 87 percent believe that the government should guarantee that right...
Significantly, with control of Congress at stake this fall, a substantial majority of Latino voters - 62 percent - say they would be more likely to support a candidate for Congress who supported universal health care coverage even if it meant having to raise taxes to pay for it.
This has major implications for the Western United States. Arizona, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada all have large hispanic populations and are some of the fastest growing states in the country.
Western Democrats should champion health care and win, win, win.
There is some sort of bizarre notion universal health care is some rich, white liberal obsession that comes out only in the Democratic presidential primaries and then should vanish as a true issue around when the general election comes around. Consultants be damned - Democrats, especially Western Democrats need to lead on this issue. What a study like this shows is that this issue has an ability to unite various groups into the Democratic column during election season and beyond.
Mitt Romney has won praises from the pundit class from his health care victory-of-sorts in Massachussetts. There are various aspects to be critical of his plan, but he did it, plain and simple. The last thing we would want in the entire world would be to get pre-empted in the health care debate instead of walking into the next election with a full-throated support for universal health care (maybe state based?) and supporting it a basic right.
George Lakoff argues in Moral Politics that some issues are cascade issues because they accomplish a policy task with a simple aim and then proceed to affect other outcomes (hence the cascade). Health care is a simple cascade issue. With an American universal health care system, we can cover everyone and create a society of greater health. Furthermore, it has positive implications down the ballot line for other candidates that offer full support toward coverage among a fast growing democraphic group. Also, it increases the electoral possibilities for victories in crucial swing states based on that fast growing demographic. It also could possibly thwart the efforts of conservatives to successfully woo Hispanics into their fold.
I'll be watching and waiting for a Western governor to take on the health care issue full-on and play the presidential foil to Romney's own ambition. C'mon Sweitzer, Richardson, Kitzhaber, Napolitano...the West, the Democratic Party and dare I say the Nation are waiting.
Your Personal Note:
Talk about family values. What could be more important than securing health care for your family?
Posted by: Leo Brown | Jul 16, 2006 5:13:44 PM
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(and yes, we know that sometimes they're very, very wrong. Other times, they're right on.)