Under Trump, Blue and Red state divisions deepen
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So Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL players stand in tunnel during anthem, extending protests 12 former top intel officials blast Trump's move to revoke Brennan's security clearance NYT: Omarosa believed to have as many as 200 tapes MORE is now president.

And it’s becoming obvious that the Republican Party is going to go completely crazy for the next two years at a minimum and undo many decades of progress, as has been their fondest wish for generations.

Not just to fight the battles of today, but to go back and erase the legacy of eighty years of progressive successes from the history books.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis) and the GOP House is salivating at the chance to roll back the New Deal, turning Medicare into a privatized voucher program and rolling back recent Medicaid expansions. Bills are being drawn up right now that are transparently designed to challenge Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court.

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So let’s say they manage to do everything they want to in the next two years. They repeal the ACA and fail to replace it. They privatize Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, overturn Roe v. Wade, nullify same sex marriage, eliminate the federal minimum wage, gut public education, and every evil little thing their shriveled black hearts desire.

What happens then?

Well, without federal oversight or protections, many of these issues will fall back to the states. Let’s run the clock forward a few years to see what that might look like.

-Blue states in the northeast and Pacific Coast will likely pass universal healthcare reform legislation much like Massachusetts did years ago, providing their citizens with the protections and peace of mind that the ACA had attempted to provide before years of mindless obstruction and sabotage. 

  • State level initiatives in those same states will offer recognition and legal protections for Same Sex marriage and the LGTBQI community in employment and housing, attracting a wave of immigration, including many highly creative people in the arts, enriching the lives of and culture of everyone.
  • Women’s reproductive rights in these states are preserved. Abortion remains legal, accessible, and safe, while low cost or free contraceptives are written into the universal healthcare legislation. Comprehensive sex education in public schools merge with birth control access to keep unwanted pregnancies and therefore abortion rates down across all age groups and free up welfare funds for use elsewhere. Equal pay measures pass, which riding alongside with greater reproductive freedom attracts more professional women with their greater levels of education achievement to the growing economies.
  • Minimum wage laws like the $15 per hour pilot program in Seattle that’s already proving the doomsayers wrong are expanded, empowering the lowest rungs of the economic ladder and increasing consumer spending, stimulating these state economies further still.
  • Public education is defended and funded at all levels, from K-12 and onto college, continuing the trend of ever-greater levels of education for their citizens and all the future business creation and tax revenue those scholastic achievements, start-ups, and investment capital represent.
  • Environmental protection measures and green energy initiatives work to further protect the health and prosperity of the blue state populations, tackling infrastructure issues like lead poisoning and creating thousands of blue-collar jobs in the solar and wind industries.
  • Issues of law enforcement are tackled head-on, increasing community policing models, de-escalation training, etc, as well as a shift from prison to treatment programs for drug addicts, freeing up significant tax dollars from incarceration. Weed legalization spreads, followed by a tax revenue windfall. Marijuana related arrests plummet, now limited to just impaired driving, freeing up still more tax revenue.

Meanwhile, in Red dominated states, a very different picture emerges.

  • Healthcare delivery and coverage revert to the same broken system that existed before the ACA. Millions lose coverage. Hundreds of thousands are forced to use the emergency room as their primary option again. Tens of thousands are forced into medical bankruptcy. Thousands could die needlessly. Costs for those both with and without health insurance spiral upwards, putting strain on insurers and providers and forcing many insurance companies to pull up stakes. The elderly population, “freed” from the twin safety nets of Medicare and Social Security find themselves unable to retire, exacerbating the issue of job availability for younger generations.
  • The rights of the LGTBQI community erode under onerous new “Religious Freedom” laws, leading to a gay flight away from red states to more tolerant locations.
  • Women’s rights come under prolonged assault, cutting funding for women’s health clinics and driving down their numbers with unnecessary regulations. Widespread access to birth control disappears. Teen pregnancy and STD rates skyrocket as is already happening in Indiana.

Abortions increase right along with maternal mortality rates as has occurred in Texas. Welfare spending explodes to keep up. Women with education and financial mobility increasingly follow the LGBTQI community out the door.

  • Minimum wage disappears, swelling the welfare rolls further still and devastating available consumer discretionary spending, dragging state economies backwards while racking up government debt. Red state bond ratings start taking hits, driving up interest rates and increasing the debt load further still.
  • Public education is gutted. From pre-k and Head Start programs straight through to public colleges, budgets are slashed, tenure ends, professors flee, research grinds to a halt, and businesses stop recruiting. This is already happening in the University of Wisconsin system, which is plunging in college rankings on almost every front.

The environment takes a back-burner to selling off public lands for wealth extraction. Doomed legacy energy production methods like coal and oil fired plants are given favor over cheaper, healthier alternatives. Infrastructure crumbles, sparking public health crises that the already overstressed healthcare system is ill-equipped to tackle.

The Red State/Blue State divide has the potential to grow to such ridiculous extremes in the coming years that the emergence of two distinct nations, one modern, stable, and healthy, the other backwards, impoverished, and sick.

Eventually, Nation A will get tired of carrying the economic weight of Nation B and the split will become irrevocable.

Working class citizens in GOP dominated states have been voting themselves deeper into poverty and into earlier graves for years already. They have less time than they think to reverse course and start healing the rift with the affluent coastal states that allow the whole system to sputter along.

If you’re blue collar, voting Republican is no different than smoking; it feels great while you’re doing it, but it’s sucking money out of your wallet and taking years off your life. The only cure is to stop cold turkey. Your first chance comes Nov. 6. 

Don’t blow it.

Patrick Tomlinson is an author and regular contributor to the Hill on state, local and national politics. Follow him on Twitter @stealthygeek.


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