No Difference? Really?

No Difference? Really?

Lawyers Guns & Money's Scott Lemieux takes on the notion put forth in Doug Henwood's new book that there's no real difference between Democrats and Republicans:

The idea that abortion is the only issue on which Democrats are substantively different from Republicans is, at his late date of intense polarization, rather jaw-dropping. Hell, even with respect to the Supreme Court the substantive differences are massive. After a decade in which a Republican dominated Supreme Court has gutted the Voting Rights Act, denied Medicaid to millions of people while coming one vote short of striking down the ACA altogether, frequently voted against the interests of consumers and employees, severely limited affirmative action, etc. etc. etc., it’s just embarrassing to suggest that abortion is the only issue at stake. And, of course, the divisions among Supreme Court justices don’t just come from nothing; they reflect the values of the presidents that appoint them. Obama and a Democratic Congress passed a historic expansion of Medicaid and increased regulation of the industry and consumer subsidies; the Republican position is that Medicaid should be curtailed or ended and that subsidies were too generous and the industry too regulated in 2008. Federal Democratic public officials generally support reproductive freedom and LBGT rights; Republican ones opposed them. Democratic public officials passed increased regulations of the financial industry and new consumer protections Republicans fiercely oppose. The Obama administration has greatly expanded environmental regulations; Republicans believe that climate change is a hoax and that environmental regulations were far too onerous in 2008. The kind of people who serve in the civil rights division of the Department of Justice are massively different under the Obama administration than under the Bush administration. This is far from an exhaustive list.

The idea that reproductive freedom is the only issue that divides Democrats and Republicans is something nobody paying any attention could possibly believe. Hillary Clinton is far from my ideal candidate. But the case for her in the general election isn’t that she’s better than the Republicans on reproductive rights. It’s that she’s massively better than Trump/Rubio/Cruz on countless core issues and worse on literally none (even foreign policy, her worst point.) By all means, criticize her. But if you try to deny this rather important point, people are going to strongly disagree with you, and not because they worship Hillary Clinton.


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