I Get Letters

The single biggest proponent of SB562, California’s single-payer health care bill, is the California Nurses Association. But here’s something I didn’t know until yesterday: the CNA is aggressively using support for SB562 as a litmus test for being a true progressive. The bill is basically unpassable, but it’s being used as a way of whipping up the Bernie wing of the Democratic Party against traitors who fail to support it.

Apparently this applies even to B-list bloggers. I got an email today from Chuck Idelson, communications director for CNA’s umbrella organization, National Nurses United. Here’s how it ended:

Having seen two years of your hatred for Bernie Sanders, it’s not surprising you would be equally hostile to ideas he champions like single payer, but it would be nice if you were a little more honest with your readers, or maybe you can recommend the name of your magazine be changed from Mother Jones – who actually fought for working people – to Milton Friedman, which would better reflect your class sympathies.

It’s good to see that progressive organizations are learning communications skills from the Trump administration. But I wonder if this kind of attitude is helpful in attracting and maintaining support for progressive causes?

POSTSCRIPT: Just for the record, I’ve supported single-payer health care for at least the past 25 years. But for a variety of reasons, it needs to be done at the national level. No state has ever been able to make it work.

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