The most important development of the 2016 elections is not the presidential race; instead it is a ballot issue in Colorado, which the national media is ignoring. Colorado could be at the forefront of revolution that will completely change American government and nobody is paying attention.
Amendment 69 would create a single-payer health insurance system that would cover healthcare costs for all Coloradoans. This would make Colorado the first US state to adopt a single-payer health insurance system like the ones in Europe and Canada. It would also be the biggest shakeup in US healthcare since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.
This issue is also making for some very strange bed fellows. News reports indicate that US Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colorado), a liberal; and the ultraconservative Koch brothers are united in their opposition to Amendment 69. Bennet had earlier shied away from the issue because it is popular with the Democratic base.
“Michael does not think that single payer is the right approach to solving our health care problems, and in particular has concerns about putting a complete overhaul of our health care system, including a massive tax increase, into the State Constitution where it can’t be changed,” Bennet’s campaign spokesman; Andrew Zucker, told The Colorado Independent.
Bennet is sounding like a Republican here, because he is afraid that 69 will bring out a lot of conservative voters that could harm his reelection chances in November. His refusal to join the debate underscores how single-payer and healthcare have become the third-rail of American politics.
Republicans do not want to go near the issue because it shows how unpopular their free-market and small-government agenda has become. Democrats stay away because it exposes the complete failure of Obamacare, and makes them look very bad. Democrats like Bennet may also be afraid that the issue could spark a civil war in their party, similar to the one that’s ripping the Republicans apart.
A Test for New Tactics
ColoradoCare Yes, the group pushing Amendment 69 is also underscoring how US Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) has transformed American politics with his failed presidential bid. Colorado Care Yes is using Sanders’ tactics of targeted digital marketing and small scale fund raising to promote its initiative.
The campaign for 69 will certainly be a test of such tactics. This campaign may show us if such strategies can overcome the traditional political and media weapons that big donors like the Koch Brothers will certainly deploy against it. If successful, 69 could spark similar initiatives in other states.
A Paradigm Shift in American Politics
Amendment 69 could also spark a paradigm shift to the left in American politics. Many historians believe the conservative revolution that brought Ronald Reagan to power; and pushed all American politicians to the right in the 1980s, began with a radical California ballot initiative called Proposition 13 in 1978.
Proposition 13 was effectively a popular revolt against high taxes; much as Amendment 69 can be seen as a popular revolt against the health insurance industry and Obamacare. Proposition 13 passed by two-thirds of the vote, and it brought radical changes by cutting property taxes by 56%.
Voters used 13 to voice their displeasure with the status quo and frustration with politicians that were unwilling to change the tax structure. Likewise voters could use 69 to send a message to politicians that they’re fed up with the current healthcare system; and they want real change, not more bureaucracy and higher insurance bills.
The success of 69 could be the beginning of a leftward shift in American politics. Therefore this amendment and not the three-ring circus known as the Presidential race is the big political story of 2016. One has to wonder how long it take the big media; and national political leaders like Hillary and Trump, to notice what is happening in Colorado.
The real political revolution could begin on Colorado’s ballot, and not in the presidential primaries. Amendment 69; unlike the Trump clown show, will actually affect how Americans live and work. America is on the verge of a political revolution and nobody seems to be noticing.