A movement has begun within the Democrat party in the United States of America that has widespread implications for the party as a whole and larger American politics. Progressive political commentator and comedian Jimmy Dore is one of the central figures of the movement which calls itself ‘Force The Vote’ and is concerned with providing healthcare to all American citizens.
The 2020 US Election results are at the core of the rise of the movement. Before the elections, Democrats enjoyed a comfortable majority in the House with 232 seats compared to 197 for Republicans. In the elections that transpired, Republicans gained 15 seats and the parties currently stand at 222-212 in favour of Democrats. The majority figure is 218.
‘Medicare for All’ activists demand that progressive politicians withhold their votes which are extremely necessary for Nancy Pelosi in order to get re-elected as the Speaker of the House unless she agrees to hold a vote on the matter on the Floor of the House. A candidate requires 218 votes in order to be elected speaker. If only five progressive congressmen and congresswomen refuse to vote for her, she cannot get elected Speaker.
The website for the ‘Force The Vote’ movement states, “Voters sent progressives to Congress to fight for Medicare for all and this is their fleeting moment of leverage. Establishment Democrats make demands of Pelosi for their votes and so should progressives. Wall Street makes demands of Pelosi for their support and so should progressives.”
“Democrats ran under the banner of “healthcare is a human right,” but it’s easy to campaign on or sponsor legislation that will never come up for a vote. A vote on Medicare for all will prompt a national conversation on guaranteeing health care in the middle of a pandemic. It will show the country who really supports it, not just rhetorically, but in practice. Then we can hold our representatives accountable,” it adds.
The initiative was launched by Jimmy Dore and has received support from others including including Aaron Maté, Briahna Joy Gray, Caitlin Johnstone, Dr. Cornel West, Graham Elwood, Katie Halper, Krystal Ball, Kyle Kulinski, Marianne Williamson and Max Blumenthal. A petition launched for the initiative has attracted over 28,000 signatures.
The petition was addressed to 15 specific Congress representatives who campaigned on providing ‘Medicare for All’. The list of members include Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Barbara Lee, Chuy Garcia, Cori Bush, Ilhan Omar, Jamaal Bowman, Jamie Raskin, Katie Porter, Marie Newman, Mark Pocan, Pramila Jayapal, Rashida Tlaib, Raúl Grijalva and Ro Khanna. The petition asks its audience and the elected representatives, “Will you stand up to Democratic Party leadership when we need it the most?”
‘Medicare for all’ has been one of the most basic progressive demand in recent times. The second most popular politician in the Democrat party, Bernie Sanders, campaigned on the idea during his presidential run. But progressives appear far more hesitant than one would have assumed them to be now that their progressive base is holding their feet to the fire.
There has been a growing disenchantment among the progressive voter-base with the establishment wing of the party and they have come to the conclusion that the ‘progressive’ politicians such as AOC they helped get elected are not doing enough to deliver on core demands such as ‘Medicare for All’.
The movement has not only exposed fissures between the progressive voter-base and their elected representatives but also within so-called progressive media. Jimmy Dore had a public falling out with Cenk Uygur, a giant in the progressive space but suspected of dubious loyalties.
Cenk Uygur, for some bewildering reason, is against the idea of withholding the vote for Nancy Pelosi and has lashed out in public against the comedian who previously worked at The Young Turks, a digital media venture established by Uygur, before going on to establish his own YouTube channel ‘The Jimmy Dore Show’.
Cenk Uygur accused Dore of ‘jumping in’ with a ‘half-baked plan’ and said that his former colleague had made a ‘mess’. Jimmy Dore, on the other hand, has shot back and accused the other of lying and took potshots at him for taking money from Clintons donors. Cenk has also fueled the notion that the Speaker’s position would fall to Republicans if progressives in the House do not vote for Pelosi, an idea that Dore calls a lie as Republican candidates would require 218 votes as well which they do not have.
Cenk has also claimed that the comedian “has his feelings hurt so much he lashes out wildly against all other progressives” with Dore hitting back at him for taking a great deal of money from Clinton donors and asking for donations from people multiple times during the day in the middle of a grave economic crisis.
Jimmy Dore also dedicated a segment to the TYT founder on his YouTube channel where he went all in at the ‘independent media guy’ for trying to subvert the progressive movement for ‘Medicare for All’. He was visibly angry with Cenk for repeated calls for donations as Dore has himself made his content free since the economic crisis began.
The two have had previous disagreements in the past and it was obvious since Dore quit TYT that the two had decided to charter different paths but the differences have been aggravated a lot more during the Trump years. Unlike Cenk, Jimmy Dore does not believe in Russia conspiracy theories and has spent significant time in debunking the Russian collusion allegations against Donald Trump.
The comedian has also been appreciative of Trump on specific issues and was not onboard the ‘Orange Man Bad’ train. He was a staunch supporter of Bernie Sanders who gave up on the Democratic Socialist because he believed the latter lacks leadership qualities and is not willing to fight for his supporters. Dore has also appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News to speak on progressive issues.
It remains to be seen how the ‘Force The Vote’ movement transpires and if it manages to secure a victory. But clearly, the issue itself has immense support on the ground and overwhelming support among Democrats. Medicare for All would guarantee healthcare to every citizen in USA at a time when millions of people have lost their insurance after falling into unemployment.
The movement has clearly exposed the fissures within the Democrat party as well and even within the ‘Progressive’ bandwagon itself. AOC, by some weird twist of fate, is not enthusiastic about Dore’s idea. The comedian shot back at her as well after the Congresswoman made it clear that she was not enthusiastic about the idea.
Jimmy Dore has made quite a few ‘enemies’ due to his relentless criticism of ‘progressive’ politicians and Joe Biden. At a time when supporters awarded Joe Biden their complete support, Dore maintained that he was not sure the president-elect was a lesser evil than Donald Trump. During this movement, he is again facing a barrage of criticism and personal attacks, including allegations that he received money from a ‘pro-Assad’ group.