Democrats need to be competent

As we get closer to the midterms and see the time for legislating ticking away, we have to be honest this is not working. Early after Democrats won majorities in Congress, I wrote about the likelihood that Democrats could keep their majorities against conventional wisdom. For several reasons.

1. Republicans only control the redistricting of 180/435 seats, not the 215/435 seats they previously had. (multiple states moved to an independent redistricting committee)

2. They already maxed out their advantage in 2010 using computer map-making to take cracking (breaking up of districts for political gain) and packing (consolidating districts for political gain) to new heights.

3. Tech has advanced to a point voter organization is much easier. The ability to access and address your voters’ needs has made getting them to the polls effortless.

So back to my critique. Democrats spent half of the time they could have been legislating or selling policies fighting over the scope of their policies. Believing their majority was a once-in-a-generation moment made them treat every bill as the last plane leaving Kabul. Stuffing bills like voting rights, equal rights, Biden’s 2nd reconciliation bill, and more with everything on the wishlist instead of the practical.

This failure is frustrating as we have seen redistricting play out; Democrats have gained in redistricting so far. These gains would be great news if Democrats had shown competence in governing. Democrats should have made incremental policy changes; that would build the case that government is competent. While the Democrats ran on competence, shortly after they passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, they started publicly fighting. By yelling at the moderates in the party who are necessary to pass anything in the absence of Republican buy-in they risk having nothing to run on in 2022. (Or even worse distracting from what they have done.)

We need to acknowledge the best decision available is to trim down our package and pass what we can. If Manchin is willing to vote for a 1.5 trillion dollar reconciliation bill that still is more investment than any Democrat has got through congress. It would be transformational touching everything from climate, education, healthcare, and more. (Don’t forget that this is on top of his Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill an additional 1.2 trillion, his 250 billion tech manufacturing bill, and his Covid bill of 1.9 trillion) passing this and highlighting the other bills is a great start and a winning hand. But the coup de grace should be the passage of scaled-down versions of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, The Equality Act, and some form of immigration reform. By taking seriously the need to fix the economy, and showing your base you can and will defend their rights the midterms are still winnable, and if Democrats care they should act like it.



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