Saturday, August 22, 2015

Tectonic Shifts in Politics and Health Care

Last night Donald Trump spoke before 30,000 people in a Mobile, Alabama stadium. This was an unprecedented event in the 2016 presidential campaign. He dwelled on his policies to make “American Great Again”and of how he would create jobs. He touched on ObamaCare . He would repeal and replace it with his “spectacular”policies that would lower health costs, and make health care accessible to everyone across state boundaries.

Some think Trump’s campaign represents a “tectonic shift” in American politics – a shift from political environment to a business environment in which straight talk and quick action replaces compromise and a slow legislative process in which politicians are “puppets” to the rich and corporate interests.

Trump has been masterful at monopolizing television, at attracting media attention without spending his own money, at belittling politicians as “stupid” tools and fools of the corporate and Washington elite , at articulating the anger and frustration of how people feel. And in the process, he has seized the lead in polls. Trump is clearly on to something. No one is sure just what.

But is Donald Trump real, is he a plausible presidential candidate, or is he an egocentric and bombastic phenomonon that will self-destruct? Are his policies workable? His policies on immigration – deportation of 11 million illegal immigrants and their families and changing the birthright policy of making babies born here automatic citizens – raise doubts.

And we have yet to hear the specifics of what he would do about ObamaCare ?

Is Donald Trump like former Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles? Winston Churchill described Dulles as a bull who carried his china shop around with him. Is Trump like Eleanor Roosevelt who said women politicians were like tea bags who grew stronger in boiling water? In Hillary Clinton’s words, the email scandal is a tempest in a teapot created by the “vast right wing conspiracy.” Will Jeb Bush,” the Tortoise,”
as a New York Times columnist, asked, overtake “The Hair”?

Who knows if Trump represents a political or health care tectonic shift? Who knows if he will self-destruct, the victim of his own rhetorical excesses? It’s too early to tell. To date, scientists have not been effective in predicting earthquakes secondary to shifts in tectonic plates.

And political and health care pundits are no better are forecasting human upheavals. In health care, the tectonic plates are ObamaCare, the medical industrial complex, personal health care, and the medical profession. Will they override each other and remain quiescent or erupt and shatter into different pieces?

At the moment, all we know is that Donald Trump has a long record of business accomplishments, he has tapped into how people feel, and he has his own set of solutions which have yet to be announced.

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