Emil Guillermo: Obamacare, Millennials, and Hillary or Donald for Halloween?
October 26, 2016 7:34 PM
Earlier in October, my dogs tore up a nerf-like facsimile of a Donald Trump head, thinking perhaps it was more nutritious than it looked.
Many of my social media followers liked it. Maybe it helped them to design dog-proof Trump Halloween masks? More on that in a bit. In the meantime, the Trump head lobotomy was not fatal, and I am still able to squeeze it whenever the polls stress me out.
There's a lot of stressing going on in the final days.
Right now, despite sex tapes, sex charges, proposals to build a border wall, a ban on Muslim immigrants, disparaging remarks about Mexicans, Asians and Asian Americans, and disabled people, as well as his continued failure to disclose his income tax returns, even after all that, Trump can still win.
Why? Because so many Americans are rightfully anti-Washington that even an elitist like Trump can be seen as an outsider, and thus a better alternative to more of the same. No matter how much trash on Trump gets released. It's like Hillary's wikileaked e-mails.
It's a big so-what?
Each side's base is unwavering, so the focus now is on the fringes, left, right or middle, the undecideds, or the half-hearted, who may be lured by a trick-or-treat.
With less than two weeks to go, here's a pre-election grab bag to expose some of the trickery out there.
TRICK: OBAMACARE PREMIUM INCREASES
Yes, there's a 22 percent increase on average in premiums. That's real. But it shouldn't be considered some October Surprise to be used gleefully by Trump and the Republicans.
What's needed is a fundamental understanding of insurance.
Obamacare meant people with pre-existing conditions and those otherwise rejected by normal insurers suddenly became eligible for health care. About 20 million who didn't have health care now have some coverage.
But when they're the only ones in the pool of insureds and they actually use the insurance, that's not good. That's an insurer's nightmare. They sell you insurance hoping you never use it. They profit until you do use it, then curse the heavens and pass the cost back to consumers in higher premiums.
It's the reason these people got priced out or rejected from private plans in the first place.
What did we expect? People who had no insurance suddenly had it and started using it. Hopefully, they're healthier now. But it exposed the problem in Obamacare if we want a program with modest premium increases. To get that, we need broader pools of people to include the healthy and all those who had been insurance untouchables.
As the pools expand, guess what that looks like? Medicare. The single-payer system we all approve of and don't dare call "socialized medicine."
It's unfair for Trump and the GOPers to say, "I told you so." Besides, Trump's workers are covered by employer-based programs that have broader pools of people with and without health issues. And as for the rest of you lucky to be in private plans, Obamacare hikes are irrelevant. Your insurers made it impossible for those Obamacare folks to have insurance in the first place.
So what should be the proper reaction to those painful Obamacare premium hikes? You're still lucky. Your premiums would be higher in private plans. Or you wouldn't have any insurance. Even with a rate hike, you're better off than having nothing.
Obamacare was a good compromise. But it needs to evolve into the ideal of "single-payer" sooner than later to cover everyone at the best possible price.
Right now, that's being held up by politicians using Obamacare premium rates as their main talking point to get your vote. They're the ones who don't have your best interests at heart and are truly beholden to politics and corporate insurance interests.
As I write, Trump tweeted out about Obamacare: "Repeal and Replace."
By what? Don't be tricked.
Instead, think of the approach espoused by the old Clinton Administration line when Republicans attacked affirmative action: "Mend it, don't end it."
TRICK: MILLENNIAL MALAISE?
No disrespect for Ronan Farrow, whose reports I love on NBC's TODAY show. But his report this week on millennials being turned off to the current presidential race was typically only part of the story.
The white story.
Farrow used a University of Wisconsin-Madison focus group that appeared all white. None of them could see a last-minute rush of millennial voters to duplicate the Obama campaigns of 2008 and 2012.
Farrow even mentioned #Nobody2016 on social media as being indicative of this malaise.
Now, if Farrow had consulted the National Asian American Survey, he would have seen that 18-34 year old Asian Americans were far more engaged than even AAPI baby boomers. Especially when it came to support for Hillary Clinton.
Millennials were 61 percent for Hillary Clinton; 14 percent for other candidates; 8 percent for Trump; 14 percent, "Don't know."
Asian Americans aged 35-plus were 53 percent for Hillary Clinton, 6 percent for others; 17 percent for Trump; 17 percent, "Don't know."
Millennials disengaged? Maybe the white ones.
Once again, the NAAS survey fills in the holes in the general polling. Asian American millennials don't seem to have a problem with voting for Clinton. They prefer her 61 percent to 8 percent.
That's not exactly indifference. Asian American millennials prefer pantsuits to empty suits and see Trump as a loser. Big League.
That may be because there's an active bloc of millennial non-voters mobilizing friends to make sure DACA and DAPA aren't railroaded by politics. Or it may be that there's an emerging group of young African American and Latino voters to go with the young Asian Americans, who are now beginning to understand the potential of real political power.
But they're there. More turned on, than off. It's an important election, and they will live with the consequences longer than anyone.
Stories about voter malaise set up self-fulfilling prophesies, which are just a different kind of voter suppression. Self-rigging. Don't buy into it. Just vote. No matter what age you are.
After all we've been through, you can't not vote.
TREAT: HALLOWEEN COSTUME
Finally, this is for those of you who think the prospects of voting between two of the most disliked politicians in American history have sucked all the fun out of politics.
If you're among the many who will be kicking off their Halloween on the weekend, do your own unscientific political poll! Why should Quinnipiac have all the fun? Check out the party of your choice and what do you see? More Hillarys in pantsuits at Halloween gatherings? Or Donald Trump look-a-likes?
Costumes during general elections are always some kind of indicator. This year, in a race where both candidates are disliked, will there be more Creepy Clowns?
I'm betting there still may be someone out there contemplating a sexy Hillary outfit. (Likely a Republican.)
I'm sure we'll see some Zombie Donald Trumps grabbing at undocumented workers.
You might even consider a Billy Bush costume, though people would constantly be asking you what kind of Bush you were.
From Halloweens past, I still have my Obama mask. Is a Trump mask like my shrunken voodoo Trump head in your future?
I'm sure if someone is capable of making a nerf Trump that my dogs chewed up, there must be a non-flammable Trump mask for those who want to avoid all that orange hair and makeup.
Sure enough, there were a number of masks. Mind you, this is no endorsement from me. The mask is a rubber job that covers your entire head, 360-degrees (kind of like Anderson Cooper). And it has openings for eyes, mouth, nose, and ears, but not guaranteed that applies to Democrats. Seller says one size fits most adults. Unclear if the 9" diameter head opening would fit an actual size Donald Trump.
For 5 bucks, it's a bit cartoonish for style mavens.
A national chain is selling one for $12.99 that looks more realistic, but appropriately comes with a warning:
WARNING - Certain states require us to provide consumers with special warning for certain products if those products expose consumers to chemicals above threshold levels. We care about our customers' safety and hope that the information below helps with your buying decision.
FOR CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects and/or other reproductive harm. Do not put in mouth or chew.
A Trump mask that causes cancer when sucked on or chewed?
Now that's a buyer beware for trick-or-treating voters.
Remember, it's just Halloween. Pretend time. Fun time. A break. And when Oct. 31 ends, we'll be left with one last week before Election Day 2016, when our true national nightmare is over.
* * *Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.
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