Sunday, March 08, 2020

Sanders vs Biden

It was good to wait. Voting for a suspended campaign would have been a waste. But now it's Sanders or Biden. Blegh. Not a vote I feel as good about.

Can we solve this on electability?

The conclusions largely appear to be:

  1. The data suggests both candidates beat Trump.
  2. The data currently suggests Biden would have a larger safety margin.
  3. We keep learning that we can't trust the polling numbers, and need large safety margins.

If Biden wins, Bernie's army of young voters don't mobilize. If Sanders wins, swing voters are lost to Trump. Sadly there's no consensus candidate left.

Benefit to Biden, but it's clear that we still don't know enough to be sure.

But Biden was a bit of a shitbag until recently.
He's come down on the wrong side of a LOT of moral arguments over his long and very successful career.

  • War on drugs, marijuana criminalization.
  • Anti-abortion
  • Civil forfeiture.
  • Encryption bans
  • Anti-LGBTQ, marriage equality.
He has admittedly flipped his stance on most of these, a few conveniently for election purposes, but a few where he openly admitted his mistakes (eg. on Roe v Wade). I've applauded others who have legitimately come to evolve their positions (eg. Tulsi Gabbard on LGBTQ issues), but Biden's list is pretty long.

This is a pretty strong warning sign against Biden, but depends on how important history is versus his current advertised platform.

Then the elephant in the room: healthcare.
Medicare for All solves America's healthcare problems. Universal coverage, controlled out of pocket costs. It'll resolve the vast majority of the inefficiencies in the system that are inflicted on the population. But wow is it expensive to start: $34 trillion over 10 years.

An Affordable Care Act public option has the potential to fix a lot of things. A government-run insurer can quickly start taking control of costs, expand coverage, and become a tool of dismantling the profiteering systems in healthcare. On the other hand, it's not clear that it grants universal coverage nor does it eliminate out-of-pocket costs. Wasn't that the point? But at least it's affordable, at a mere $750 billion over 10 years.

Sanders' plan is plainly too expensive to be implemented in current American politics. Biden's plan is an unambiguous substantial improvement in the status quo, but in contrast to the various Democrat healthcare plans, is laughably uninspired.

I'll take Biden's boring but plausible plan, admitting that the USA probably can't reach single payer in a single step.

The personal touch.
Sanders wants to break up the tech companies (where I work). Would this be disasterous? Not entirely. After all, many of these companies merged through acquisitions in the first place, so clearly they can be split. It would just be a very large, very wasteful, completely pointless, spectacle.

Sanders is against most trade agreements, including NAFTA (how I originally arrived in the US). The Trans-Pacific Partnership is more complex - while potentially beneficial on trade, it had some ridiculous intellectual property provisions.

Biden wants to remove tech liability protections for user-generated content. This is a fundamentally terrible idea, essentially forcing corporate moderation on the Internet, which will be a far more chilling effect. Sanders would wade into this too, but is not taking as strong a stance.

A mixed bag, but favors Biden.

Biden. I'm not happy about it, but Biden.

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