Both Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) recently claimed that Democrats not only hate President Trump, they hate the 63 million people who voted for him. That would include many of you folks who live outside urban areas.
President Trump and Republicans like Scalise and Jordan want you to think that urbanites are socialists and leftist elites that look down on blue collar Americans, farmers and everyone like many of you who don’t have a college degree. They want you to hate liberals back so you won’t vote for Democrats.
Certainly, rural areas are suffering. They have fewer good-paying jobs; hospitals are closing; adequate health care is scarce; public schools are substandard; and a way of life formed over the decades seems to be diminished. The population is aging all over the nation but more so in the heartland. Younger, college educated people are drawn to the cities where the better jobs are. That may be the way it is – but Democrats didn’t cause this.
Think back to 2008 when the nation was on the cusp of the Great Recession. Loosely regulated financial institutions were making billions of dollars trading over-valued assets involving subprime mortgages. The housing bubble burst and those securities became “toxic.” President George W. Bush wasn’t totally at fault for millions of Americans losing their jobs, their homes and their employer provided health insurance – but his Republican administration should bear the lion’s share of the blame.
President Obama entered office in 2009 with a Democratic-controlled Congress. They immediately passed a large stimulus package to help create jobs and they began work on the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare. It was designed to provide more Americans with health insurance, specifically those without employer coverage, like many of you.
It’s been widely publicized – and is quite obvious from his actions – that then-Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) initiated a policy among congressional Republicans to obstruct everything Obama attempted to accomplish.
Not one Republican in the U.S. House and only three Republican senators voted for the stimulus legislation even though it included substantial tax cuts for working Americans. No Republican in either chamber voted for Obamacare in 2010.
Obama’s stimulus helped end the recession in June 2009 but unemployment still reached 10 percent that October. The entire nation was struggling and the economy was in the doldrums. Yet, McConnell refused to help the president alleviate your suffering and speed a recovery. He claimed that his “main goal” was to make Obama a one-term president. How un-American and politically corrupt was that?
Americans for Prosperity – a Koch brothers organization funded mainly by billionaire conservatives – and the GOP railed against the stimulus and viciously attacked Obamacare, both in the courts and in the media.
Obamacare was designed to force every state to expand Medicaid coverage. A Republican-backed lawsuit in the Supreme Court sought to invalidate Obamacare in its entirety but failed in that objective. It did, however, achieve a ruling that states could refuse Medicaid expansion. That’s exactly what numerous Republican states did after the GOP took control of state governorships and legislatures in 2011. They deprived millions of you in rural areas from having health insurance and 14 of these states still do that to this day.
Candidate Trump made numerous claims in the run up to the 2016 election, one of which was to immediately repeal Obamacare and replace it with a much better plan. He also claimed he would bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States and renegotiate trade agreements that he claimed were a disaster for U.S. manufacturers and farmers.
Yet, a Republican-controlled Congress failed to fulfill Trump’s Obamacare repeal promise in 2017 because their replacement plan would cause around 20 million Americans to lose their health insurance. Hospitals and health care providers depend on Medicaid and other insurance dollars to remain viable, particularly in the countryside. And many small hospitals have closed as a result of GOP attacks on Obamacare, particularly in Republican states that didn’t expand Medicaid.
Trump did manage to sign a massive tax cut in 2017 that mainly benefited corporations and the wealthy. That’s one reason why Census Bureau numbers indicate that income inequality in the U.S. is at a 50-year high. Companies primarily used this largess to buy back stock and increase dividends to their mostly urban, rich shareholders.
Yes, Trump renegotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). But his trade war with China and tariffs he imposed on products from other countries have damaged U.S. farmers and disrupted manufacturers, many of which are in small communities. As of the year ending in September, farm bankruptcies had increased 24 percent over the same period in 2017-2018 and U.S. manufacturing is currently in recession. When farms aren’t profitable and these businesses are idled, you folks in the surrounding areas really feel the pain.
No, Democrats don’t hate you. In fact, the Democratic-controlled House recently passed Trump’s NAFTA replacement. And they’re eager to raise taxes on the wealthy to provide comprehensive, low-cost health care for your family and better education for your children.
Actually, it’s the conservative billionaire supporters of the Koch organization that really hate you. They despise Democratic programs that would provide rural American families with better health care and education because that might increase their taxes. And like Scalise and Jordan, they want you to hate liberals so Republicans can remain in power to protect their wealth.