How long will the Democrats weep for the death of their transformational agenda this week? It’s anyone’s guess. Everyone handles grief differently.
Senator Chuck Schumer’s decision to hold a vote on a filibuster carveout seems like less of a Hail Mary effort and more like an attempt to virtue-signal toward the progressives in his party. If someday he is forced to go toe-to-toe in a Senate primary with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, at least he can tell the pitch-fork waving socialists that he tried to change the filibuster. That should save him, right Chuck?
Despite President Biden’s opinion, that he “probably outperformed what anybody thought would happen”, the general consensus after his first year is that things aren’t going great. The future is looking bleak for Joe’s party. Inflation and crime are surging upwards and Covid hysteria remains high. Meanwhile, the Squad-inspired pie-in-the-sky dreams of human infrastructure and federalizing elections are falling to the wayside.
Still, there are ten months until Americans cast their votes in the midterms. So the question becomes, how will the Democrats spend that time? It all depends on which members of the coalition who voted for Biden in 2020 they choose to cater to.
There are the moderates who backed Joe in the hope that he would tamp down the overheated rhetoric in our divided country. Instead they got a seventy-nine-year-old gaffe-prone grandpa being pushed by the far left to transform America with radical policies and unconstitutional mandates. There are plenty of the on-the-fence voters who went with Biden simply because he wasn’t Trump, voters who were tired of the mean tweets and hearing from their liberal friends that Trump was ruining the world because he *insert anything Trump did between 2015-2020 here*. A vote for Biden was a chance to hit the ejector-seat button on the Bad Orange Man infecting every aspect of American culture.
Fast forward to 2022. I’m sure those same anti-Trump moderates have realized that the constant hyperbolic panic from progressives has not subsided. Last week Biden compared any senators who didn’t hop on board with his voting legislation to Bull Connor. Can you feel the unity? In the Unifier-in-Chief’s America, every issue, whether it’s voting or global warming, must be discussed with a hint of doom, gloom and urgency. For the moderates who wanted less hyperbole and more “normalcy”, they might actually be relieved that most of Biden’s bold, expensive plans have stalled.
On the flip side, there is a large faction of Democratic supporters who are infuriated by the Biden-Harris administration’s broken promises. These voters endorsed how much of the 2020 Biden manifesto was cribbed from his main rival Bernie Sanders — and think that all 80 million Biden voters feel the same way. “We wanted a Build Back Better bill, an end to the coronavirus, canceled student loan debt and… well, everything else,” these guys proclaim. The younger, progressive voters are angry at Biden and his “best and the brightest” team of Ivy League graduates for achieving so little thus far. “They had the White House, the Senate and the House,” these voters think, “and they blew it.”
So how do the Democrats in charge convince their voting base that they are worth keeping in office come November?
Should they float more ambitious pledges and hope their base of Bernie bros and Squad sisters will fall for the freebie pipe dreams one more time? After all, politicians promising free stuff has worked wonders before. Mix that in with a hefty dose of fear-mongering about Republicans destroying democracy and boom — you have some takers.
Another option is for the Democrats to break up their bills and try to achieve a series of small wins. President Biden alluded to this at his disastrous press conference on Wednesday.
“I’m confident we can get pieces, big chunks of the Build Back Better law signed into law,” he said. Senator Elizabeth Warren endorses this approach. “We need to get as much as we can across the finish line,” she told Politico on Wednesday night. “So we need to do what it takes to get every vote.”
There are some bills Biden and his fellow Democrats could pass on a standalone, bipartisan basis to secure some wins by November.
Take the 1887 Electoral Count Act. According to Axios, the idea of reforming how Congress tallies Electoral votes has “garnered support from some of Congress’s most conservative members, as well as leading House Democrats.” Biden’s more moderate supporters might appreciate if Democratic leaders found a way to work across the aisle and pass bipartisan legislation.
Passing anything won’t be easy. Keep in mind that most Republicans think there’s no reason to hand the Democrats a win of any kind. Even if the Dems in DC did want to pass legislation with the help of Republicans, that process requires time, patience and compromise. Today’s celebrity politicians are much better at grandstanding, tweeting and going live on Instagram.
Of course, the Democrats could just wallow for ten months. They could blame their failures on Republicans. They could point their fingers at Trump, Sinema and Manchin. They could play the victim all the way up until November.
If they choose this route, they will get pulverized in the midterms. After that, I have a feeling a familiar trope might resurface.
Biden offered a teaser during his Wednesday presser. When discussing the importance of his stalled “voting rights” bills, the president said of the upcoming midterms: “I’m not saying it’s going to be legit. The increase in the prospect of being illegitimate is in direct proportion to us not being able to get these reforms passed.”
Come November, questioning the election results might be back in vogue again. What better way to unite the country?
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