It isn’t public knowledge unless the public knows it
Cast your mind back a short way. Back in November of 2021, President Biden signed a massive bipartisan $1.2T hard infrastructure bill. It was a signature achievement for Biden and the administration, and gave them early momentum.
After the law was signed, Biden, VP Kamala Harris, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg took off like bats outta hell on a whirlwind cross country tour for a victory lap, and also to tout the law benefits directly to the public. And the results of that grand PR tour?
Shhh. Listen closely enough and you can still hear the echoes from the thud. According to a recent poll, 33% of the American public has no idea of what’s actually in the bill, and how it helps them, and an incredible 25% of Americans actually think that the goddamn bill is still stalled out in congress!
After all of the hype, how is this possible? That part is easy. The Democrats got lazy. Democratic incumbents, both House and Senate were so busy slapping each other on the back that they forgot to hype the shit out of the law when they got home! They should have been holding town halls, nonstop appearing on local network news shows, and drive time radio shows to fully explain the new law, and what it did for constituents. Instead, the GOP spent more time hyping how much cash they brought home for a law they voted against than the Democrats spent touting their success.
And now I fear, here we go again. Today the senate finally passed the Inflation Reduction Act , on Friday Pelosi will ram it through the House, and sometime the week after Biden will sign it into law. And then everybody will scatter like roaches when the kitchen light comes on until after Labor Day. And if they don’t learn from their earlier mistake, they’ll just do it again.
The name alone is a vast improvement. The Inflation Reduction Bill of 2022 is clear and concise, it tells you what it does right in the title. What in the hell does Build Back Better mean? It should have been titled The American Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2021. With a title like that, 33% of Americans wouldn’t still be wondering what was in the bill.
Now comes the grunt donkey work, but guess what?, that’s what campaigning is. Val Demmings and Charlie Crist in senior rich Florida have to hammer home the $35 a month Medicare monthly copay cap until frost-tops like me can recite it in our sleep. Also the part about Medicare directly negotiating prescription prices with insurance companies. In the south and southwest, hammer home the value in the climate change portion in reducing wildfires and record breaking heat waves.
And everywhere, hammer home the basic benefits. Hold the town halls, with folders so people can sing along, especially at colleges and universities, so ecologically active young voters can see your commitment that they inherit a liveable planet. Get on the local network and drive time radio shows to educate the constituents.
In a run up to the general election season, let local activists and volunteers fo door-to-door with cheat sheets to explain to voters face-to-face what’s in it for them. Educate them on the income tax credit for the purchase of a new or used electric vehicle, and energy efficient appliances. And no matter who you’re talking to, senior or not, tout the prescription drug savings. And here’s why.
Right now, if you have private insurance, the benchmark for negotiating prescription drug prices is the drug company’s MSRP. That’s where they start, and then try to negotiate down. But when Medicare starts directly negotiating drug prices with Big Pharma, that will change. Private insurance companies will no longer be willing to start at the MSRP and negotiate down. They’ll want to start with the Medicare benchmark, and then force the drug companies to negotiate up, based on the size of their membership. That makes a world of difference.
And as long as you’re at it, might as well educate them to the infrastructure law as well, along with the other accomplishments. And end each appearance with a plea for votes, so the Democrats can expand their majorities and finish the job for them. Maybe throw a little shade on their GOP opponent’s intransigent attitude, and lack of policy proposals.
Look, the 2022 midterms are for all the marbles. If we can hold the House, and expand the Senate by 2 lousy seats, we can nuke or carve out the filibuster, and pass things like codifying Roe v Wade into law, codifying same sex marriages and rights, pass the new voting rights law, pass the George Floyd police reform bill, and so much more. Like expanding the Supreme Court to rein in the madness. This would pretty much make the Democrats untouchable in 2024. But if you want to accomplish all of that, then you have to Do the grunt donkey work! And that’s what scares me shitless right now.