In an effort to shine a light on those skulking around in the shadows, I present to you the curious case of Joe Donnelly and Heidi Heitkamp.
You may remember Donnelly, the former Democratic Senator from Indiana, as one of the co-leaders among conservative Democrats in the fight against Universal Healthcare. He ran his campaign during the last election around the proclamation that “socialists” who “want to turn health care over to the government” can do so “over my dead body.” He explained this stance by saying, “when you talk ‘Medicare-for-all’ …you start losing the people in my state.”
You may also remember Joe Donnelly as the man who decisively lost this election. That would be, an election in a state where voters ranked health care as their #1 issue, and in which 55% were shown to support Medicare-for-all.
Likewise, you may remember Heidi Heitkamp, the former Democratic Senator from North Dakota, as another of the co-leaders of opposition to Universal Healthcare. She, like Donnelly, was one of four Democrats to vote with Republicans against a single-payer amendment when it was put before the Senate. Further, she insisted throughout her time in government that “The decision was made in 2010 to go with a market-based system,” as in, there is no discussion to be had, that anyone who says otherwise is pulling a “political stunt.”
Of course, you may also remember Heitkamp as the woman who got steamrolled by double-digits in the last election, in a state where voters ranked health care as their second most important issue — in a virtual tie for first place with the economy — and 51% expressed support for Medicare-for-all.
Don’t worry. Having found themselves suddenly, and emphatically, out of a job, both Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Donnelly were able to land on their feet.
Donnelly, for his part, landed a cushy lobbyist job with a firm that fights against Medicare-for-all, the reward for his years of service, one would assume. Meanwhile, Heidkamp has spent her time writing condemnations of single-payer healthcare in the Washington Post, where she incredibly proclaimed, “Polling indicates that most Americans are satisfied with the health care they receive.” At least you can’t say she isn’t learning from the President.
Then, this month, a major announcement that the two former-Senators would be teaming up to launch the ‘One Country Project,” a nonprofit with a goal “to bring rural voters back to the Democratic Party.”
One might wonder how two people so out of touch with the needs and desires of their own states, particularly in rural areas — both lost essentially every single rural area in their state in 2018 — can think themselves qualified to speak on, or to, rural America as a whole.
But then, they don’t really think that, do they?