SHOTGUN STRATEGY

Posted in Rants on September 19th, 2017 by Ed

Another week, another urgent exhortation to CALL YOUR SENATORS RIGHT NOW TO SAVE HEALTH CARE. SERIOUSLY IF YOU DON'T DO IT RIGHT NOW ALL IS LOST. I know we said the same thing last week when we asked you to drop everything and call your Senators, and we weren't lying then. We're not lying now either. This just keeps happening, like, every week. And it will until someone puts an end to this farce.

I don't think anyone is in charge of the GOP right now; it's a rudderless ship so enormous that momentum alone will carry it onward for another couple of years after its crew pulls a Mary Celeste. But Ryan and McConnell are conniving little weasels of the old school of weaseling, and they are not above using the din of the Trump Circus as cover for their otherwise moribund legislative agenda. The fact is that the more they propose an ACA repeal – and this latest bill is distinguishable from the "skinny repeal" option from two months ago in name only – the higher the odds they will succeed. Short attention spans and, much more importantly, fatigue work against anyone trying to organize opposition to it. You can only see that URGENT MESSAGE to CALL YOUR REPS IMMEDIATELY so many times before you stop calling, before you eventually stop noticing it altogether, and before and it becomes another repetitive background image in the cheap cartoon we're living in right now.

Perhaps you're full of vim and vigor and I'm projecting here. The social media effort to flog opposition to Graham-Cassidy felt more than a little tired and desperate, though. It felt like the tenth cup of coffee you consume in the vain hope of inspiring one last burst of activity from your adrenal glands. At some point it becomes a lost cause. All the coffee in the world isn't going to keep you awake and alert.

Here's a great analysis of the irregularity of voting on this bill before it has a CBO score and honestly I just can't, again. We've been through this so many times already. Each iteration will have fewer activists showing up at protests, fewer people dutifully calling their reps in Congress, fewer people summoning up the outrage that we all seem to be exhausting on a daily basis for the past seven months. And that, of course, is how they will win (If they do. It's not a given. For now.)

Mobilizing activists is like asking your friends to help you move; the more often you do it, the closer the odds of a positive response get to zero. That's a Big Ask, and you have to hoard it and use it strategically. The Democratic base came into 2017 low on enthusiasm and energy to begin with, united and motivated seemingly by hatred of Trump alone. Bringing back a Single Payer proposal was a reasonably smart move if for no reason other than the potential to generate a little enthusiasm. They're going to need it.