Ben Sasse Is “Bonkers”
When Ben Sasse ran for the Senate in 2013–14, he presented himself as an intellectual and a wonky technocrat. The image certainly rang true since Sasse has a series of fancy degrees from the likes of Harvard, Oxford and Yale. There is no doubt that Sasse is an intelligent man.
At the same time, Sasse postured as the so-called Obama Care “nemesis” and made his opposition to that law the centerpiece of his campaign. He campaigned around the state with the lengthy copy of the law to demonstrate his opposition to it. (The Republicans were against lengthy and complex laws before they were for them.)
Due to Sasse’s occasional sad tweets expressing mild criticism of Trump, the incumbent Senator has drawn a challenge from the far right. Lincoln businessman Matt Innis has based his Senate run upon the proposition that Sasse isn’t sufficiently loyal to Trump. It’s a bit of a laughable campaign theme since Sasse has voted with with Trump 96% of the time in 2018, compared to the 97.5% party average for Senate Republicans. Moreover, Sasse voted with the GOP 99.3% of the time in 2018, which was higher than average for the GOP Senate caucus.
Now that Sasse has a right wing challenger, he has dumbed down his approach to appeal to GOP primary voters. Sasse is running a folksy radio ad in which he claims he is running against Washington even though he has been a senator for the last five years and served several years in the Bush43 Administration.
At the same time, Sasse has tried to be a regular guy in two recent statements. Nebraska’s junior Senator described the math behind Medicare for all in the following one line, sophomoric statement: “Hahaha. This make-believe math is bonkers.” Sasse described his service on the Judiciary Committee confirming right wing judges as follows: “On the Judiciary Committee we chew bubblegum and confirm great judges — and we’re all out of bubblegum.” Let’s unpack these silly statements and explore the real Sasse record.
Sasse’s criticism of Medicare for all rings hollow in light of his inexecrable record on health care. When he announced for the Senate in late 2013, Sasse fearlessly predicted that “If the Affordable Care Act survives, America will cease to exist.” Since he made that lamentable prognostication, the U.S. economy created over 200,000 jobs during Obama’s second term. (That pace has since slowed down to approximately 130,000 jobs per month since Trump’s failed policies have been implemented.) The last I looked, the U.S. is still around.
Since he has been in Washington, Sasse hasn’t produced an Obama Care replacement plan. Instead, he voted for the 2017 Trump Care bill that would’ve taken away insurance from 21 million Americans and gutted pre-existing condition protections. In light of that vote, Sasse has no standing to take on any critique of Democratic health care plans.
Similarly, Sasse is in no position to challenge the cost of any Democratic health care plans. In 2017, Sasse voted for the $2 trillion deficit funded Trump tax cut bill. That failed legislation has increased the annual deficit from $585 billion to $1 trillion for the indefinite future. ( If a Republican wants to go to war or cut taxes for the rich, no one asks any questions. But if a Democrat proposes universal pre-kindergarten or expanded health care coverage, then suddenly those same Republicans and reporters want to know how they will pay for it.)
Sasse’s tenure on the Judiciary Committee has also harmed Nebraskans. In 2017, Sasse abandoned Nebraska farmers when he left the Agriculture Committee for the Judiciary Committee. For most of 2017, there was no Nebraska representative on the Agriculture Committee in either house for the first time since the early 1970s. At the same time, Nebraska farmers have borne the brunt of Trump’s failed trade wars.
While Sasse has been on the Judiciary Committee, he has rubber stamped Trump judicial nominees who are pro-big business and anti-choice. Trump’s judicial nominees were carefully vetted by the right wing Federalist Society and are part of the top 1%’s multi-decade campaign to capture control of the federal courts.
The extreme judicial nominees that Sasse has supported will follow the path blazed by their right wing predecessors who gutted voting rights, restricted the rights of unions to participate in the political process and opened the door to the wealthy to spend unlimited amounts of dark money to buy elections. In addition, those same judges will continue to restrict the rights of women to make their own personal health care choices.
That is the real Ben Sasse record. Nebraska’s junior Senator is a loyal servant of Trump, the top 1% and the radical right. Sasse isn’t this folksy regular guy that he is portraying in his re-election campaign. He is another D.C. elitist who will prioritize the special interests over his Nebraska constituents.
In addition to being a tool for the nation’s financial elites, Sasse has been an ineffectual do nothing Senator who is more interested in making money off his books rather than serving his constituents. Chris Janicek, Angie Philips and Dan Wik are all running against Sasse. I would recommend that you get behind one of these candidates and help them throw out Ben Sasse. We must regain control of the Senate and end McConnell’s destructive obstruction. Now let’s get it done!