You got to be desperately willing to lose to come up with the term “single payer” and keep using it obsessively. As a slogan, it has zero power. Go outside, stop people, and ask them if they want single payer. Isn’t it obvious that most will hear “single payer” as a vague threat? Like in “you’ll be this single payer and will pay through the nose, like always, without getting anything in return”? 

What kind of an impotent idiot includes the word ‘payer’ into their messaging? Do you know anybody who is excited to pay and wants to do more of it? The main objection to your plan will be that it makes people pay more in taxes and you confirm that by making it all about paying? The words “health” or “doctor” are nowhere near the title of the project. If you really want to lose, why not just call it “a tax raiser” and be done with it? Just to make sure that no voter finds their way to you by mistake.

But hey, the adepts are excited about the term, all three of them. They’ve been waiting for it since 1976, and it’s their dream come true. So let’s tank more elections by catering to their excitable asses because we haven’t lost enough yet. 

Look at the Oval Office. The guy sitting there has no brain, no experience, no ideology, no politics. But he knows messaging. And he showed us all how far this takes one today. Instead of debating what Hillary did to Bernie and vice versa, we need to come up with the kind of messaging that will get people energized. 


18 thoughts on “Losers”

  1. You think the slogan/wording is the problem when there are a significant number of people who don’t think that having access to healthcare is a right, let alone something everyone should have or the government should control?

    Would the Democrats not have lost the midterms in 2010 if they hadn’t attempted the ACA? (Which isn’t universal healthcare but a kludge?) Who knows?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I think that it’s definitely a huge problem. I asked students what the words “single payer” meant to them. The only response I managed to elicit was “does it have something to do with paying more taxes?” These are college students, young kids, our future. These words mean nothing to them. Definitely nothing positive.


    2. They lost because of the ACA. People hate it. Even I hate it and am glad I don’t have insurance through it. The insurance, which you are forced to buy, is almost unusable and covers very little. I realize, objectively, that it is in fact an improvement for many and so I am for it, but as I say, I can afford to be for it because I don’t have to deal with it, I was already insured. Before I was, I had major medical for major things like, if I were in an accident, and paid out of pocket for standard stuff, spending less total than I’d have to under an ACA type policy, and having a lot of choice. Again, I’m not saying I don’t see the point of ACA, I am just saying that many people in my situation, who went from what I had to having to buy much more expensive, less flexible, and less usable insurance on ACA, got incredibly mad and I understand them.


    1. ““Messaging” seems to prove that most people are willing to be shills to any charlatan who can either “validate” them or make them feel “special”.”

      • Yep. But if one wants to win in real life, that’s what one needs to do. Snappy slogans that fit well on a bright colored trucker cap.


    2. What is it about validation, feeling special, and also “feeling heard”? I don’t want these things, I want rights and justice. Why are people satisfied with these things, and why do they want them at all?


  2. And again, I guarantee you the words “for all” are going to set some people off like a rash.


    There’s one Obamacare repeal bill left standing. Here’s what’s in it.

    The proposal, crafted by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.), essentially turns control of the health-care markets over to the states. Rather than funding Medicaid and subsidies directly, that money would be put into a block grant that a state could use to develop any health-care system it wants. It also allows states to opt out of many ACA regulations. …
    The Medicaid expansion and subsidy funding would be cut sharply compared to current spending, going to zero in a decade.
    …“You can’t actually keep the same program if your federal funding is being cut by a third in 2026,” said Aviva Aron-Dine, a senior fellow at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. And even putting aside the cuts, she said, the block grant structure would fundamentally change the health-care landscape. “[Funding] is capped, so it wouldn’t go up and down with the economy,” when fewer or more people become eligible for subsidies…

    There’s a handy chart showing comparisons at the link.

    Call your senators.

    (202) 224-3121

    Call your rep.

    (202) 224-3121


    1. Thank you Shakti! This bill is awful and it is being advertised as the Real Solution. Cassidy will not be moved, I am tired of writing him to object, other people have to be mobilized to vote against.

      I agree that “heathcare for all” is a bad idea. It is vague, for one thing, and for another “for all” is precisely what people object to. They want it for themselves, without a lot of red tape. Thus “single payer” is the better slogan.


  3. I think wording is fundamental. I look at it as the poetic function of language. For example, I see a message on my colleagues’ doors saying “I am an unafraid educator with and for undocumented students” and I cringe at the tone and syntax of that, even while applauding the underlying message. “Single payer” is awful, while you could just say “health care for all.” People respond to language that evokes their core values, not to slogans that go into detail of the mechanism of paying for something. Geez.


    1. I see the general point but think “for all” would be the kiss of death — it does not represent core values of the average American at all. Single payer is a useful code word in the way that choice is (you can’t say “abortion on demand” for Pete’s sake, people object to that).


  4. “People respond to language that evokes their core values”



    1. Nope. That term is already used by republicans as a sleight of hand.

      Accessible health care is like saying that both Bill Gates and I both have equal access to a Ferrari (if we had the money to buy one). It’s a focus group-tested term that means nothing. No wonder Paul Ryan uses it all the time!

      Reminds me of that great quote: “In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.”


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