Common Dreams - October 21, 2019
"... major sources of Buttigieg’s funding are in harmony with his recent hostility toward Medicare for All. “Pharmaceutical, health insurance, and hospital industry donors have flocked to Mayor Pete all year,” journalist Alex Kotch reported last week. “As of mid-2019, he was second only to Donald Trump in overall campaign cash from donors in the health sector. Among Democratic candidates, he was second to former Vice President Joe Biden in terms of pharmaceutical and health insurance donations.”
Pete Buttigieg burst on the national scene early this year as a new sort of presidential candidate. But it turns out he’s a very old kind—a glib ally of corporate America posing as an advocate for working people and their families. That has become apparent this fall as Buttigieg escalates his offensive against Medicare for All.
A not-funny thing has happened to Buttigieg on the campaign trail. As he kept collecting big checks from corporate executives and wealthy donors, he went from being “all for” a single-payer Medicare for All system in January to trashing it in the debate last week as a plan that would kick “150 million Americans off of their insurance in four short years.” The demagoguery won praise from corporate media outlets.
Those outlets have often lauded Buttigieg for his fundraising totals this year without scrutiny of the funding sources. They skew toward the wealthy—and toward donors with a vested interest in protecting the status quo.
“Of course, from a voter’s point of view, what really matters is not how much financial support a candidate is getting, but who they’re getting it from—because those supporters may not have the same interests as the voter,” Jim Naureckas at the media watchdog FAIR pointed out this summer. “In the case of Buttigieg, the two main sources of funds seem to be the tech industry . . . and the financial industry, that traditional source of funds for corporate-oriented Democrats.”
So far this year, Buttigieg has reported $27 million in contributions of $200 and above—accounting for 52.5 percent of his total dollars raised. Compare that to Elizabeth Warren at 29.6 percent and Bernie Sanders at 24.9 percent.
... The sordid story of Buttigieg’s about-face on Medicare for All was well-documented and deftly analyzed days ago by Jezebel writer Esther Wang under the headline “A Brief History of Pete Buttigieg Faking It on Medicare for All.” She observed:
Buttigieg is not the only Democratic presidential candidate who has switched positions on supporting Medicare for All, or is just generally using the public and political confusion around the issue to undermine real efforts to move to a universal system. Kamala Harris, who co-sponsored Bernie Sanders’ Senate bill, has consistently waffled, and has settled on a plan that continues to let private insurers play a role. But Buttigieg is the only candidate who is now making opposition to the Sanders- and Warren-backed Medicare for All a central focus of his campaign.
With the mutual alignment of Buttigieg and his corporate healthcare-industry donors, Mayor Pete’s approach seems to be a case of a flimflamming candidate who poses as a forthright leader. For the general public, instead of “Mayor Pete,” a more apt nickname might be “Mayor Elite.” ...
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