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Paul Krugman drops the hammer on the GOP’s growing ’embrace of cruelty’ under Trump

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In a damning column for the New York Times, Nobel Prize-winning columnist Paul Krugman called out Republican lawmakers for turning their backs on the needs of their constituents saying it is nothing less than incomprehensible cruelty.

Pointing to a Washington Post article on the desperate need for medical services for the poor in red-state Tennessee, Krugman said that Americans in rural communities that voted heavily for Donald Trump are bearing the brunt of the GOP’s desire to gut the Affordable Care Act.

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“Since the focus of the [Washington Post] report was on personal experience, not policy, it’s understandable that the article mentioned only in passing the fact that Tennessee is one of the 14 states that still refuse to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. So I’m not sure how many readers grasped the reality that America’s rural health care crisis is largely — not entirely, but largely — a direct result of political decisions,” Krugman suggested.

“The simple fact is that the Republicans who run Tennessee and other ‘non-expansion’ states have chosen to inflict misery on many of their constituents, rural residents in particular,” he continued before adding, “So if rural America is suffering, a large part of the explanation is gratuitous political cruelty. This cruelty has denied health insurance to millions who could have had it with a stroke of the pen. And rural hospitals are closing, rural doctors leaving, in large part because people can’t afford to pay for care.”

According to Krugman, Republican lawmakers cynically play on their constituents hatred of Washington D.C., making it looks like out of touch bureaucrats are to blame for their plight. In fact, as he illustrates, neglect of their needs can be directly attributed to Republican governors and GOP-dominated statehouses.

“While rural Americans often tell reporters that they feel neglected and ignored by big-city coastal elites, the people preventing them from getting health care aren’t in New York or D.C., they’re in their own state capitals, ” he wrote before asking the big question: “But why are Republican state-level politicians so determined to punish their own base?”

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According to the economist, it comes down to old-fashioned “mean-spiritedness.”

“Some of it may reflect the general meanspiritedness, the embrace of cruelty, that was already infecting the G.O.P. even before Donald Trump, and has now become one of the party’s defining traits. Yes, that’s harsh, but you know that it’s true,” he wrote, answering his own question before calling out GOP lawmakers over their cynicism.

“One way to make people feel hostile toward those elites is to block their access to federal benefits, and hope they don’t realize who’s actually causing their misery,” he explained. “Is it conceivable that conservative politicians have that much contempt for their base? Yes.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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2020 Election

Critics respond after Jill Biden says vote for husband even if you like policies of other candidates more

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"Jill Biden may have settled for her husband, but I'm not sure why anyone else should."

Critics are responding harshly to comments made by Dr. Jill Biden Monday in which she claimed that even if Democratic primary voters prefer the policies of other 2020 candidates over those of her husband, former Vice President Joe Biden, they should vote for Biden anyway because he's more electable.

Dr. Biden made comments to that effect on Monday in a campaign appearance in Manchester, N.H., reported first by NBC News.

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2020 Election

Susan Sarandon scorched for attacking Elizabeth Warren at Bernie Sanders event (video)

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Susan Sarandon is still a pariah to many Democrats who believe her very active support of extremist Jill Stein during the 2016 presidential election helped elect Donald Trump president. And she’s under fire once again.

The Academy Award winning actress and activist on Monday spoke at an event supporting Senator Bernie Sanders, who is once again running for president as a Democrat. Sarandon appeared to throw shade at Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is currently battling the Vermont independent lawmaker for the number two slot in the polls.

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2020 Election

With key vote just days away, activists ramp up pressure on DNC to hold #ClimateDebate

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"Only a climate-specific debate will show whether the candidates are climate ready or not."

The Democratic National Committee faced increased pressure on Monday to hold a climate debate from progressive organizations demanding the party live up to its own governing platform and "treat this crisis like the emergency it is."

Efforts to change the DNC's mind appear headed to a headed to a fever pitch as the committee will meet later this week and reportedly vote (pdf) on a proposed resolution to hold a climate debate—and potentially a resolution put forth by DNC Chair Tom Perez that critics believe represents an effort to kill a climate-focused debate.

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