No Dem Incumbent Will Lose a Primary by Voting for the Health Care Bill

The only Democrats who I hope vote against the final health care bill are center-right incumbents who face primary challenges from their left.

Even though I favored passing the gutted Senate health care bill, I am heartened by the noise some progressives are making in opposition to it.  Without such noise, there would be no hope to improve the bill, or much hope of getting better health care legislation in the future.  In keeping with the basic principle of the Overton window, there has to be prominent, public left-wing disagreement with Democratic policy, or else the national political discussion will never move to the left.

The degrees of acceptance of public ideas can be described roughly as:
  • Unthinkable 
  • Radical 
  • Acceptable 
  • Sensible 
  • Popular 
  • Policy
The Overton Window is a means of visualizing which ideas define that range of acceptance by where they fall in it, and adding new ideas that can push the old ideas towards acceptance merely by making the limits more extreme.

Progressives looking to defeat the bill from the left are currently in either the "acceptable" or "sensible" stage.  While it is pretty amazing that they have even been able to get that far in such a short period of time, they have not moved onto the "popular" stage just yet.  That is why efforts like these are bound to fail, and fail spectacularly:

We also dedicate ourselves to Defeating Progressive Caucus Dems who vote for HCR without a Public Option @keithellison #p2 #fb

Such proclamations are necessary both to continue moving the national political discourse to the left, and in fostering a much needed culture of primary challenges.  However, withonly 16% of self-identified Democrats favoring defeating the bill (and many doing so from the right), the beliefs backing up those proclamations still have a long way to go before they become electoral winners:



Chris Bowers was a full-time editor at MyDD from May 2004 until June 2007. Some of his projects have included the creation of the Liberal Blog Advertising Network, the first scientifically random poll of progressive netroots activists, the Use It Or Lose It campaign, the nation's most accurate forecast of Democratic house pickups in 2006, and the 2006 Googlebomb the Elections campaign.
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