Sanders wins big with free public college and Medicare for all
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While President Trump has as many changing positions  as an Octopus has tentacles, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersRepublican spin on Biden is off the mark Sanders on Medicare expansion in spending package: 'It's not coming out' Briahna Joy Gray: Biden must keep progressive promises or risk losing midterms MORE (I-Vt.) is winning big victories in the battle of ideas over college education and Medicare for All healthcare.

Trump is like a work of impressionist art where the colors change every day. He has been moving fast to adopt positions that former Secretary of State Clinton has long held.  


He has flip-flopped and totally reversed on policy toward China, Russia, Syria, NATO, the value of the dollar and the future of the Federal Reserve Board in ways that might lead Trump voters to conclude that if they wanted the policies of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSuper PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump I voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary MORE they should have voted for the real thing.


Remember how many times Trump attacked Clinton for being too close to Goldman Sachs and too friendly to big banks? What Trump voters received for their support is a Trump administration populated by investment bank powerhouses pursuing policies that would virtually destroy important rules and regulations protecting consumers from financial abuse.

Bernie Sanders, by contrast to Trump's constant shape-shifting and position changing, is a pillar of progressivism with a rock-solid commitment to the values and causes he stands for.

The Sanders proposal for a free public college education is one of the most important and powerful reforms in the political market, which would do a world of good for students and parents enduring the astronomical cost of a college education.

By the time of the last Democratic convention, Clinton had grown fond of the Sanders proposal and supported the successful effort to include a version of it in the Democratic platform.

A growing number of Democrats in Congress are coming around to supporting plans modeled after the Sanders proposal, and New York state has recently enacted a similar plan into law with more states almost certain to follow!

In the field of healthcare, while the first failed Republican attempt to "replace and repeal" turned into a politically self-destructive fiasco for the GOP, the always consistent Sanders forges ahead with his Medicare for All proposal that will bring single-payer healthcare back to the center of our national debate.

Medicare is one of the most brilliant and popular government programs ever created, and Sanders has the moral and political high ground when he champions extending Medicare to all Americans and protecting Medicaid from GOP attacks.

If and when the GOP renews its attacks against Medicaid and Obamacare, Sanders and liberals will respond by offering the public option, an opening bid for Medicare for All, and adamantly opposing attacks against Medicare.

If and when Republicans again treat healthcare as a project to be undertaken by the GOP and the right alone, treating Congress and the presidency as a one-party state, their "product" will be so alien to the views of mainstream America that their next version, like their first try, will be an unmitigated disaster politically.

Obamacare has become increasingly popular as the threat to repeal and replace it becomes imminent and real, and GOP plans have become widely unpopular among voters.The Sanders vision and plan, by contrast, taps into support for the public option that usually polls at 60 percent of more favorable, while Medicare and Medicaid poll even higher.

In the most important sense, Sanders and progressives are winning the battle of ideas in American politics, which will serve Democrats well in the midterm election in 2018 and the presidential election in 2020.

It is ironic that Trump acts more like Clinton in national security; Clinton acted more like Sanders during the last Democratic convention, and Sanders and progressives are winning the larger battle of ideas that will define the future of Democratic and American politics.


Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Chief Deputy Majority Whip Bill Alexander (D-Ark.). He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He is a longtime regular columnist for The Hill and can be contacted at

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.