Anti-'Trump-McConnell Care' protesters greet the Senate Majority leader in Elizabethtown

By BERRY CRAIG

AFT Local 1360

Donald Trump won 62.5 percent of Hardin County's vote Nov. 8.

So, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell probably figured he was on friendly turf Friday in Elizabethtown, the county seat, where he showed up for a local GOP fund-raiser.

"But some folks decided to let the senator know they aren’t happy with him or his healthcare plan," Hardin countian Jim Pence posted on his feisty Hillbilly Report blog. "Deep Red Elizabethtown, Kentucky used to be a very welcoming place for Senator Mitch McConnell, but it ain’t now."

Pence, who lives in nearby Glendale, took photos and shot videotape of the protesters and of McConnell going into the fund-raiser. The senate's top Republican, who sported a blue jacket, light gray trousers, loud socks and loafers, didn't look toward Pence.

Most of the protesters--about 85 strong, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal--packed home-made signs. Messages for Kentucky's longest-serving senator included "HEALTHCARE IS A RIGHT," "HEY MITCH YOUR HYPOCRISY IS SHOWING," "SAY NO TO TRUMP-McCONNELL CARE," "Tax Breaks For Wealthy Versus Health Care For All WWJD?" and "SINGLE PAYER FOR ALL."

A woman connected to an oxygen line and a portable oxygen supply brought a hand-lettered, bright pink sign stuck on a yardstick. "I DESERVE TO LIVE," it declared.

McConnell preached to the choir inside the historic State Theater, dissing the Democratic "party of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren" and slamming single-payer healthcare. 

McConnell is glad the country has a private health care system. The U.S. is the only industrial nation that doesn't have some form of comprehensive national health insurance.

Doubtless, the Republicans bought everything McConnell was selling. But single-payer is becoming more popular, according to a Pew Research Center poll that came out last month.

Thirty-three percent of those who responded to the survey "said they favor a single-payer system, in which the government covers medical expenses with tax money, over the current system based on private insurance companies," The Hill reported

"That's an increase of five percentage points since January, and twelve points since single payer was polled in December 2015."

Added Hill scribe Julia Manchester: "60 percent of Americans who were surveyed said the federal government is responsible for providing healthcare coverage to all Americans, compared to 39 percent who said it was not the government’s job."

The poll came out a day after McConnell's Senate Republicans trotted out the first draft of their plan to gut the Affordable Care Act.

While McConnell fired up the faithful inside the old movie house, naysayers to "TRUMP-McCONNELL CARE" stood outside on a sidewalk chanting slogans like, "This is what democracy looks like," "People united will never be divided" and "Health care, we love it; want more of it."

Even so, Trump was not without fans. One of them drove an old blue pickup truck past the protestors. A pair of big Confederate flags sprouted from the bed and "Work For Health Ins. Dont Kill Babies Donald Trump" was daubed on the tailgate with what looked like white shoe polish. 

"Passersby occasionally honked their horns in solidarity or yelled 'Trump' as they drove by," wrote the C-J's Morgan Watkins. 

Audrey Morrison, 68, came from Louisville to join her daughter, a Planned Parenthood intern. 

“I hope that we persist,” she told Watkins, because the GOP has yet to close the deal on repealing and replacing the ACA. 

Nonetheless, she didn't think the rally would change McConnell's mind. “I think he’s been bought and sold. I don’t think anything’s going to make a difference to him,” Watkins quoted her. 

However, she still hopes Kentuckians, who’ve elected McConnell six times, will finally vote him out. His current term ends in 2020.