Democrats Face a Reckoning

  

Category:  Op/Ed

Via:  vic-eldred  •  3 weeks ago  •  19 comments

By:   By MATTHEW CONTINETTI

Democrats Face a Reckoning
Democrats have run smack into political reality, and it isn’t pretty. They spent months convincing themselves that a presidential election decided by 42,000 votes in three states, a tied Senate, and a 220–212 House (with three vacancies) is the same as FDR’s and LBJ’s supermajorities. Now they are just figuring out that the coalition that put them into office doesn’t agree on much of anything besides the idea that Donald Trump shouldn’t be in the White House.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



P resident Joe Biden  practically begged a group of moderate Democrats visiting him in the Oval Office on Wednesday to say how much money they are willing to spend on the massive “Build Back Better”  reconciliation bill  making its way through Congress. According to  Politico’ Playbook , he didn’t get an answer.

The eleven moderates, including Senator Joe Manchin and Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, insisted that Democrats agree first on how much revenue they will raise in taxes before settling on a price tag on a bill that would transform energy, health care, higher education, pre-K, and paid leave. A disappointed Biden assigned the moderates homework: Come up with something that will stop progressive House members from killing the separate, $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package that already has passed the Senate and is scheduled for a September 27 House vote.

Best of luck. In another meeting Wednesday, Representative Pramila Jayapal, who heads the Congressional Progressive Caucus, pulled a  Wendy Sherman  and  broke into tears  while pleading that the reconciliation bill include an immigration amnesty (the Senate parliamentarian has said it can’t). Jayapal urged Biden to delay Monday’s vote or be prepared for progressives to nix the infrastructure deal. Biden didn’t give in, but he did leave open the possibility that the vote won’t take place on September 27 as planned.

Yet any postponement would create new problems for the White House. House moderates have pledged to sink the reconciliation bill if they don’t get to vote for infrastructure first. And House speaker Nancy Pelosi can afford to lose only three votes. And the Senate is tied, with Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema still cagey about what they want to do. And oh, by the way, Congress needs to fund the government before September 30 and raise the debt ceiling before mid-October. Is your head hurting yet?


Democrats have run smack into political reality, and it isn’t pretty. They spent months convincing themselves that a presidential election decided by 42,000 votes  in three states, a tied Senate, and a 220–212 House (with three vacancies) is the same as FDR’s and LBJ’s supermajorities. Now they are just figuring out that the coalition that put them into office doesn’t agree on much of anything besides the idea that Donald Trump shouldn’t be in the White House.

Now the autumn of 2021 is turning into a reckoning for a Democratic Party that wanted to leverage a squeaker election into fundamental change. Like their predecessors in 1993 and in 2009, frontline House Democrats have to decide whether supporting a liberal agenda is worse for their careers than denying a president of their own party a legislative win. Either way, they lose.


Chance, guile, and missteps put the Democrats in this position. They hardly could believe their luck when Trump’s sour grapes cost the GOP two winnable seats in Georgia and handed Vice President Harris the tie-breaking vote in the Senate. What they forgot was that full control of government is a mixed blessing: Your partisans expect the sun, moon, and stars, while independents have no one else to blame when things go wrong. A Republican Senate might have given Biden a foil, and a reason to govern as the centrist he pretended to be during the campaign. Instead, he has no wiggle room. Thanks, Trump.

GOP leader Mitch McConnell made two decisions that complicated things further. First, he okayed Republican involvement in Senate infrastructure negotiations. Yuval Levin of the American Enterprise Institute (where I work)  writes  that GOP participation began “as an effort to turn down the temperature on the filibuster, then after a while it seemed like it might actually have enough votes to pass, and at that point it became clear that it could also further divide the Democrats.” Senate passage of the deal heightened the contradictions within the House Democratic caucus and guaranteed unified Republican opposition to the reconciliation bill.

Second, McConnell got his conference to agree that any increase in the debt ceiling should come from Democratic votes alone. Democrats from swing districts and purple states have to own their party’s spending binge. It’s a subtle and somewhat cynical move (Republicans add to the debt, too). But it’s also politically shrewd. Nor is the economy really in jeopardy. This isn’t 2011. In the end, Democrats can and will raise the debt ceiling themselves.
President Biden’s degraded political standing is behind the Democrats’ troubles. Biden’s mixed messaging and missteps in the pandemic, the crisis on the border, the rise in crime and inflation, and the debacle in Afghanistan have caused his approval rating to plummet. He’s at 46 percent approval  in the  FiveThirtyEight  polling average. Gallup has him at 43 percent approval — and at just  37 percent  among independents. In bellwether Iowa, he’s at  31 percent . Progressives in ultraviolet districts can ignore these numbers. Moderate Democrats cannot.

Still, a weak president and disunited Congress may not be enough to guarantee the collapse of the Build Back Better program. Democrats recognize the need for a win, no matter how small. They assume it’s the only way for Biden to make up lost ground and prevent a Republican takeover of the House, and possibly the Senate, in 2022. But presidential priorities have fallen apart before. Trump didn’t get the Obamacare repeal, Obama didn’t get cap and trade, and George W. Bush didn’t get Social Security reform. Biden already got the $2 trillion American Rescue Plan. That might be it.

What’s worse — abject failure or unpopular success? Trick question: Both options are horrible. If Democrats think this fall is bad, just wait until they have to live through the next one.




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Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Vic Eldred    3 weeks ago

"Now is the autumn of their discontent."

Yes it is.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1  devangelical  replied to  Vic Eldred @1    3 weeks ago

... still light years away from the alt-right fantasy.

 
 
 
Ronin2
Masters Quiet
1.1.1  Ronin2  replied to  devangelical @1.1    3 weeks ago

So what is it like living in a TDS alternate driven reality?

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1.2  devangelical  replied to  Ronin2 @1.1.1    3 weeks ago

I wouldn't know, I don't suffer from Trump Delusional Syndrome and usually refer to it as what it really amounts to.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.1.3  Texan1211  replied to  devangelical @1.1.2    3 weeks ago

Denial noted.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1.4  devangelical  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.3    3 weeks ago

fluffing noted.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
1.1.5  Texan1211  replied to  devangelical @1.1.4    3 weeks ago

jrSmiley_97_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
2  Dulay    3 weeks ago

So I guess that MATTHEW CONTINETTI has decided to turn his back on his posit from April, 2020 that Republicans should be intellectually humble. 

Continetti should review the math on his 42,000 vote claim too . The 3 states he is talking about are Georgia, Wisconsin and Arizona with 37 electoral votes. That STILL wouldn't have given Trump the 270 he needed to win. 

Opps...

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
3  JBB    3 weeks ago

original

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
4  Texan1211    3 weeks ago

What is funny is how many Democrats are ignoring the political realities of their policies and pet projects.

And how most of America views them.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
4.1  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Texan1211 @4    3 weeks ago

You can not speak for America. You can only speak for yourself. You object to these policies. The rest of America, may like some and not like others. 

This article is an opinion, and like any other opinion, it carries the weight of the individual, which means nothing.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
4.1.1  Texan1211  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @4.1    3 weeks ago

The polls tell me otherwise. 

 
 
 
Dulay
Professor Principal
4.1.2  Dulay  replied to  Texan1211 @4.1.1    3 weeks ago

Judging from your comments in your seed on the Pew poll, you don't actually care what polls data tells you. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
4.1.3  Texan1211  replied to  Dulay @4.1.2    3 weeks ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
4.1.4  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Texan1211 @4.1.1    3 weeks ago

Tex, polls are just a snap shot in a period of time. At the 6 month mark, Trump's approval was at 38% while Biden's was at 53%

Biden for sure needs some wins currently to change his poll numbers, but this is hardly a benchmark. You know, it ain't over till the fat lady sings.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
4.1.5  Texan1211  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @4.1.4    3 weeks ago
Tex, polls are just a snap shot in a period of time. At the 6 month mark, Trump's approval was at 38% while Biden's was at 53%

Yes, I am aware of that, and haven't claimed otherwise.

i am positive at least 10 articles were posted about Trump's poll numbers while he was President, I am merely doing the same thing with Biden. I am not sure why some seem to be taking offense to that.

Biden for sure needs some wins currently to change his poll numbers, but this is hardly a benchmark. You know, it ain't over till the fat lady sings.

i just can't see Biden getting any wins soon. Democrats are split on his legislative agenda. and it all looks like it may not pass due to Democratic in-fighting.

The border crisis is a completely lost cause for him now, covid numbers aren't looking good (admittedly not his fault, but the President does get the blame anyways), The Afghanistan thing was disastrous to his poll numbers, and the Democrats are facing an ugly-looking midterms election.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
4.1.6  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Texan1211 @4.1.5    3 weeks ago
i am positive at least 10 articles were posted about Trump's poll numbers while he was President, I am merely doing the same thing with Biden. I am not sure why some seem to be taking offense to that.

Tex, pointing out something is not taking offense. 

i just can't see Biden getting any wins soon. Democrats are split on his legislative agenda. and it all looks like it may not pass due to Democratic in-fighting.

I think that despite the infighting, they will get a win on his legislative agenda for the very reason that they don't want to look weak.

The border crisis is a mess as well as Afghanistan. But people have short memories and if he clears the border crisis to some degree, if he gets a win with his agenda, that is what people will remember. As for the midterms, who knows? Everyone was convinced that Gavin Newson was going to lose and look what happened. There is no way to predict how these things go. Sometimes the Pres affects outcomes and other times not.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
4.1.7  Texan1211  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @4.1.6    3 weeks ago
Tex, pointing out something is not taking offense. 

No, it isn't, but merely "pointing out" isn't what some posters are doing here.

I think that despite the infighting, they will get a win on his legislative agenda for the very reason that they don't want to look weak.

I think they already look weak with all the infighting. Of course, I know that is just my opinion. 

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
4.1.8  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Texan1211 @4.1.7    3 weeks ago
No, it isn't, but merely "pointing out" isn't what some posters are doing here.

I don't talk for other posters. I am talking about myself. And coming off your other article with the inflammatory title that it had, I can understand why some other posters might be a bit touchy. But for me, this is all partisan politics as usual. 

I think they already look weak with all the infighting. Of course, I know that is just my opinion. 

I think that the Republicans look weak about not speaking up about Trump, but hey that is just my opinion. As I said, partisan politics as usual. 

 
 
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