In his article, “Abolishing the Filibuster Is Unavoidable for Democrats” at The Atlantic, Ronald Brownstein writes: “Even if Democrats regain unified control of the White House and Congress in 2020, the fate of their ambitious legislative agenda will still likely hinge on a fundamental question: Do they try to end the Senate filibuster?…If the party chooses to keep the filibuster, it faces a daunting prospect: Democrats elected primarily by voters in states at the forefront of the country’s demographic, cultural, and economic changes will likely have their agenda blocked by Republican senators largely representing the smaller, rural states least touched by all of those changes. In fact, since the Senate gives each state two seats, the filibuster allows Republican senators from states representing only about one-fifth of the country’s population to be in a position to stymie Democratic legislation.”
Brownstein continues, “More and more Democratic activists are picking up on the fact that the filibuster, either by purpose or unintended consequences, is benefiting a certain amount of small-population states,” says Jim Manley, a former top aide to Reid and late Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. “There’s an inherent unfairness to the Senate that more and more people are focusing on.”…That structural imbalance is most apparent when looking at four issues near the top of the priority list for most 2020 Democratic contenders: gun control, immigration, climate change, and democratic reform. Gun control may be the most pointed of the four. Polls consistently show that roughly 90 percent of Americans support a requirement for universal background checks on all gun sales, including those at gun shows and on the internet. After the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, support for an assault-weapons ban has crossed 60 percent in several recent surveys…Yet such measures have essentially no chance of passing the Senate, because so many Republicans representing states with strong gun cultures feel little pressure to respond to that national majority.”
Brownstein adds, “Of course, there’s no guarantee that even after eliminating the filibuster a narrow Democratic majority in the Senate could summon the necessary 51 votes to pass legislation such as banning assault weapons or limiting carbon emissions, much less imposing a single-payer health-care system. But the pressure to try may become unavoidable, particularly because the 2020 election is likely to so starkly widen the trench between the two parties’ coalitions…“I think we are at a breaking point,” [former top aide to Reid and late Senator Ted Kennedy Jim] Manley said. “And I wouldn’t be surprised if the rules of the Senate changed sooner rather than later. More and more people are realizing how the filibuster does in fact protect a small number of states that don’t necessarily reflect the country as a whole.”…[former Reid chief of staff Adam] Jentleson likewise thinks that the demands for ending the filibuster could grow irresistible if Democrats win unified control and find a Republican Senate minority blockading any element of their agenda that can be filibustered. Especially after Republicans in this century have already twice won the White House while losing the popular vote, he says, “it’s not good for a democracy long-term for the agenda of the government to be consistently set by a minority of the population. It’s not sustainable.”…If the 2020 election fulfills all of the Democrats’ hopes, nothing may shape the results of their governance more than whether 50 Democratic senators agree with that assessment—and vote to end the filibuster in 2021.”
“Much as some Democrats want to do this, the public is not very enthusiastic. In fact, they flat out don’t want to do it…In the latest Monmouth poll (rated A+ by 538), just 35 percent want to impeach Trump and remove him from office, compared to 59 percent who are opposed. And this is not a particularly pro-Trump poll. His approval rating in the poll is just 40 percent and his re-elect number is only 39 percent…But voters just aren’t behind the impeachment idea. Consider the crosstabs from the poll. Noncollege whites are opposed by 67-27–but so are white college graduates, 67-26. Independents are opposed 64-20, residents of swing counties by 65-26 and moderates by 55-36. Even nonwhites are only narrowly in favor, 51-44.” – from Ruy Teixeira’s Facebook page.
Alan I. Abramowitz writes at Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “When it comes to ideological identification, Democratic voters are far more divided than Republican voters. Around two-thirds of Republican voters identify as conservative while fewer than half of Democratic voters identify as liberal. Many observers of the current presidential campaign have cited this fact to argue that ideological divisions are a serious potential threat to Democratic unity, especially if the party nominates a strongly liberal candidate. But a closer examination of recent polling data indicates that when it comes to specific policy issues such as abortion, gun control, and health care, Democratic voters are actually considerably less divided than Republican voters. Moreover, these data show that divisions among Democrats based on age, education, and race are much less significant when it comes to policy issues. What makes this all the more important is that policy preferences appear to have a much stronger influence than ideological identification on voters’ broader political outlook including their opinions of President Trump. These findings suggest that the task of uniting Democrats behind the party’s eventual nominee may not be as difficult as some pundits and political observers have suggested.”
So, “What Does Invoking The 25th Amendment Actually Look Like?,” asks Julia Azai at FiveThirtyEight: “Pundits debate the possibilities of the removal and succession of the president if he is incapacitated. Even former FBI Director James Comey has weighed in on whether Donald Trump is “medically unfit to be president.” (He doesn’t think so.) In the unlikely — but politically fascinating — event that a Cabinet were to use the power to oust a sitting president, what would come next?…Constitutional scholar Brian Kalt points out: “Section 4 is drafted less than perfectly. The best reading of Section 4’s text — and the clear message from its drafting history — is that when the president declares he is able, he does not retake power until either (1) four days pass without the vice-president and Cabinet disagreeing; or (2) he, the president, wins the vote in Congress. But the text is ambiguous on this point and commentators have frequently misread it as allowing the president to retake power immediately upon his declaration of ability.”…The Cabinet, especially as it’s currently constituted, is pretty unlikely to take action against Trump. But Congress has its own set of political pressures, and if the Democratic “wave” happens, we may see a serious attempt to go after the president. If impeachment proceedings don’t get off the ground, Congress could turn to the 25th Amendment: While Congress can’t initiate removal of the president under the amendment, it can convene a body to investigate the president’s fitness to serve — and such legislation has already been proposed.”
Did former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper help or hurt his senate candidacy by running for president? Nathaniel Rakich explores the question, also at FiveThirtyEight: “…Colorado Democrats will have plenty of choices of whom to send up against [Sen. Cory] Gardner: About a dozen Democrats were already running for the Senate nomination in Colorado, and so far they don’t look likely to yield to Hickenlooper. Former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, who led one of the few polls of the primary that didn’t include Hickenlooper, has previously said he would not drop out if Hickenlooper entered the race. And state Sen. Angela Williams released a defiant statement last week warning him to stay out: “If he’s going to switch gears and run for the senate, he has a lot to explain to Colorado voters. This won’t be a coronation.”…Gardner is already one of the most vulnerable senators in the country, a Republican in a Democratic-leaning state who will be forced to share a ballot with President Trump in 2020. So while Hickenlooper could very well beat him, I doubt he’s the only one who could do so.”
Matt Ford observes at The New Republic: ” Trump’s haphazard style of governance forces journalists, lawyers, and government officials to expend innumerable hours on doomed initiatives and errant tweets. His corrosive effect on American politics forces Americans to devote far more hours of their life to thinking about him than they should. All of this amounts to a tax of sorts on the national psyche—one that can never be repaid…The constant exposure to Trump’s rhetoric and governance carries its own measurable toll. Surveys by the American Psychiatric Society (APS), Politico reported last fall, have found a marked increase in stress and anxiety among respondents with regard to the future in recent years. One poll taken shortly after Trump became president found that nearly six in ten Americans thought 2017 was the lowest point in living American memory, surpassing the Vietnam War and the September 11, 2001 attacks. Nearly three-quarters of Democrats said they were stressed about the nation’s future, a view shared by clear majorities of Republicans and independents as well.”