5Every major program that has improved the lives of Americans over the past 100 years has been created by Democrats.

Read that sentence again. I know it’s a lot to take in, but it’s a fact.

Every major program that families like yours and mine have relied on to improve our health, education, and economic outcomes was proposed, planned, and passed by Democrats.
Social Security (1935)
GI Bill and VA Loans (1944)
Medicare and Medicaid (1965)
Pell Grants (1972)
Affordable Care Act (2010)
American Rescue Plan (2021)

Here’s another fact: not a single person reading this can raise their hand and say, “neither I nor my family has benefited from any of these.” If your family is like mine, you’ve likely benefited from many,
if not all, these programs.

Those monthly payments that started the month after your 62nd or 65th birthday, the ones that never miss a month, whether the economy is in expansion, recession or depression — Democrats instituted those after the Great Depression, so that seniors would be able to retire and enjoy that time of life, rather than working until the day they drop dead, which is how it used to be.
Those grants for low-and moderate-income families to send their kids to college were dreamed up by then-Democratic U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell, in response to the soaring cost of college and a realization that a college degree is a gateway to the middle class. Since its inception, 80 million Americans have received Pell grants.

Lyndon Johnson signed the Medicare and Medicaid Act into law as part of Democrats’ war on poverty and what a difference it’s made! Currently 145 million Americans are on Medicare or Medicaid - that’s 44% of the country! Nearly five million of those great Americans live right here in NC.

Since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, the rate of uninsured in the U.S. has fallen to its lowest level in history. A full 92% of Americans now have health insurance, due to Democrats’ vision for a nation where people could - gasp! - go to the doctor when they need to, instead of staying home, getting sicker, and dying earlier than they have to. Incredibly, that number would be even higher but for the 12 Republican-led states, including NC, that refuse to expand Medicaid benefits to their working poor.

On Aug. 7, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 passed the U.S. Senate. It’s headed to the U.S. House next, where the Democrat so many people love to hate, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will drag it across the finish line (likely without any Republican votes) and deliver it to President Joe Biden’s desk.
Once it goes into effect, it will cap the out-of-pocket costs for those on Medicare to $2,000 per year or $166 per month. That’s it. That’s all anyone on Medicare will pay out of pocket each year, no matter how much the medical bills actually are!

The original bill also included a $35 per month cap on insulin for the seven million Americans who need it and purchase it each month. Republicans in the US Senate (including NC’s Thom Tillis and Richard Burr) objected to that and voted it out of the bill. Now, even if the IRA becomes law, those on employer-sponsored insurance plans or who have private insurance will continue to pay between $350 and $1,000 each month for insulin. Remember, it could have been $35!

Friend, there has only been one party in this country, that, during the past 100 years, has looked at the national landscape and decided that the people’s government should work better for the people.

Only one party has seen the sick, the poor, the uneducated, and the elderly being left out or left behind and said, not on our watch.

Only one party has held fast to the novel yet noble idea, that hardworking taxpayers should see the real, material impact of those tax dollars on their quality of life. That has been the Democrats! And Republicans have opposed this progress every step of the way.

Despite the near-constant media narrative that the country is terribly polarized, with Democrats and Republicans split down the middle, I’d say that many if not most Americans favor Democratic values by a wide margin.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a litmus test.

If you rely on a monthly social security payment, that’s an endorsement of Democratic policies. If you or your child are one of the more than six million Americans using a Pell grant to help fund your college education this year, then you actually like Democratic principles. If your 25-year-old remains on your health insurance, so that even though they’re unemployed they don’t have to be uninsured, then you probably feel really grateful for Obamacare. If you were able to purchase your home with a VA loan, then you too, are a champion of Democratic values.

In November, each voter has an important choice. There are many ways to frame that choice but at its root it comes down to a single decision — elect Democrats or elect Republicans.

The choice is yours, of course, but before I’d go into the ballot booth and elect a Republican, I’d thank my lucky stars that the voters who came before me didn’t do the same. If they had, many of the very programs we rely on for our healthcare, our children’s education, and our economic mobility wouldn’t exist today.

Editor's note: Sen. Ben Clark has served since 2013 in the NC Senate representing Cumberland and Hoke counties. He is running for the NC 9th Congressional District, which consists of all of Chatham, Hoke, Lee, Moore, Randolph and Scotland and parts of Cumberland, Harnett and Richmond counties. The 9th is also home to Fort Bragg.

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