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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes – Betrayed Children Edition

For those who want to do something about the shameful vote in the U.S. Senate yesterday, Kos’s “In 2014, it will be the NRA against the American people,” notes two organizations you can contribute to who are committed to fight the NRA, with contributor page links added: “Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Gabby Gifford’s Americans for Responsible Solutions have already restored some balance in the public gun debate, pushing back against what was once a one-sided NRA attack. Bloomberg’s Independence USA SuperPAC has already shown a willingness to counter the NRA’s millions with millions of its own.”
The seats of thirteen Republican U.S. Senators in “Class 2” are up for re-election in 2014, including: Sessions; Chambliss (retiring); Risch; Roberts; McConnell; Collins; Cochran; Johanns (retiring); Imhoffe; Graham; Alexander; Cornyn; and Enzi. Only Collins voted with the Democrats on the background checks filibuster. Not all of them have announced opponents yet, but Sabato’s Crystal Ball names a few of their emerging opponents. Best bets for Dem pick-ups among this group are senate races in GA, KY and NE. But all would require upsets.
Every public appearance of the senators who voted wrong should be met with protesters bearing posters showing photos of the betrayed kids, and these senators should get photos of the kids in their office email and faxes — until we get some legislation.
if you had to pick one sentence in all the news coverage of the background check vote, this one from the Washington Post editorial board would do: “A COWARDLY minority of senators blocked a gun background-check proposal on Wednesday, in one vote betraying both the will of the American people and the charge voters gave them to work in their interest.” Rarely does the Post editorial board use all caps for emphasis in a sentence.
At The Washington Monthly Ed Kilgore flags Ezra Klein’s and Evan Soltas’s well-titled post, “The gun bill failed because the Senate is wildly undemocratic,” and adds “…For this to change, the first step is for political actors and political media to recognize and draw attention to the problem. I noted late yesterday that in a long report on the Manchin-Toomey vote in The Hill, the words “filibuster” and “cloture” do not appear, even though the vote in question was actually on a motion for cloture to end a filibuster. The defeat of the measure by a Senate minority was treated as just the way things are done. That is what has to change first, before real change can come to the Senate. And frankly, any post-mortem on the failure of gun legislation, however well-meaning, that doesn’t prominently mention the horrifically anti-democratic set-up of the current Senate is missing a crucial point.”
For Mitch McConnell, defeating yesterday’s background check initiative is not enough. he has to gloat.
It’s hard to see a ray of hope for a sane firearms policy in our future in yesterday’s senate vote on gun safety. But Jonathan Bernstein gives it a try at the Plum Line: “…While today is clearly a crushing setback for proponents of tougher gun legislation, overall the effort has been a very solid step towards eventual passage. If, that is, the people who strongly supported today’s amendment keep working to reward Senators who supported them, to make life difficult for those who opposed them; and, most of all, to make it a must-support for future candidates.”
There was a real hero in the U.S. Senate — up in the gallery. Maybe she should run.
I’m with those who would like to see some party discipline, perhaps in terms of funding or committee assignments, invoked on the four Democratic Senators who supported the filibuster. That would be Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Mark Begich of Alaska. I understand their perceived predicaments. But party should mean something. At least “Never filibuster against fellow Dems” ought to be a principle that comes with a price for breaking it.
At least Sen. Chuck Schumer put Ted Cruz in the clown car.

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