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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

“After hopes for a bipartisan January 6 commission went down in flames on Friday, Democrats may have a new plan to investigate the attack on the Capitol: A select House committee, which would not require Republican support to establish….Such a committee would differ from the proposed bipartisan commission in several key ways, but it could still take steps to ensure accountability for those involved in the insurrection. Notably, a select committee would be composed of members of Congress rather than outside experts, and the subpoena power would function differently — but, crucially, it could also be created with only a simple majority vote in the House.” Rep. Ted Lieu tweeted, “Mitch McConnell thinks he can stop the full truth from coming out. He cannot. The House can empower a bipartisan select congressional committee to investigate the insurrection. The select committee would also have stronger subpoena power because GOP Members can’t block subpoenas.” Peters adds, “there could be fewer prospects for GOP obstruction in a select committee. In contrast to the defeated plan for an independent investigative commission, where use of the subpoena power would have required either majority support or agreement between the chair and vice chair — in other words, bipartisan agreement — Democrats on a select committee would be perfectly able to wield unilateral subpoena power.” — from “A bipartisan January 6 commission is probably dead. Democrats have a backup plan” by Cameron Peters at Vox.

Ronald Brownstein writes at The Atlantic that a “wide range of activists…have become more and more uncertain that Democratic leaders have a strategy to overcome Manchin’s hesitance, not to mention his (and other Democrats’) refusal to pare back the filibuster, which Republicans are certain to employ against any voting-rights legislation. What’s more, these activists fear that by focusing relatively little attention on red states’ actions, Democrats aren’t doing enough to create a climate of public opinion in which Manchin and others could feel pressure to act on the issue of voting rights if and when Senate Republicans filibuster against it.” However, notes Brownstein, “Celinda Lake, a longtime Democratic strategist who served as one of Biden’s chief pollsters in the 2020 campaign, seconds the argument that Biden should prioritize producing results, particularly on the economy, over raising alarms. “Right now, that’s not his job,” Lake told me. “His job is to provide the Democratic alternative and to show what we can get done,” so that voters will “say to themselves, ‘I don’t want to lose this; I don’t want to go back’” to Republican control of Congress.” Yet, “In their private conversations, activists fear that Biden, by constantly stressing his determination to work across party lines, is normalizing Republicans’ behavior even as many in the party are radicalizing. And they worry that he is so focused on producing kitchen-table results—through his big infrastructure and education and families packages—that the voting-rights agenda will slip on the Senate priority list….“We are dealing with one senator here, and the question is what do you do to persuade Senator Manchin that it is his role to protect, if not save, the democratic process?” [president of the reform group Democracy 21Fred] Wertheimer told me.”

Kerry Eleveld explains why “Biden’s clean-energy initiatives are total winners with the public and central to his jobs plan” at Daily Kos: “Fresh polling released Thursday from Navigator Research shows that fricking 78% of registered voters agree with the statement, “America should make significant investments in clean energy as part of our efforts to rebuild the economy.” That even gets majority support from GOP voters. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Democrats: 98% agree
  • Independents: 87% agree
  • Republicans: 55% agree

Even as the questioning grows more specific and Biden’s name is attached to several clean-energy initiatives within his jobs plan, nearly 70% still express support for the climate proposals….The exact question asks, “As you may know, President Biden has proposed including a number of climate-related initiatives in the ‘American Jobs Plan,’ such as investing in clean energy, like wind energy and solar power, modernizing our electric grid, increasing electric vehicle production, and ensuring everyone has access to clean air and water. Do you support or oppose including these policies in the ‘American Jobs Plan’?”….Overall, 69% of registered voters said they supported the policies, including 95% of Democrats, 76% of independents, and 39% of Republicans….This is what’s known as overwhelming public support. The drop among Republicans was predictable as soon as Biden’s name was inserted into the mix. Nonetheless, nearly 40% of GOP voters still support the initiatives.”

“Bipartisanship” still gets a lot of good press from commentators who long for a return to the “I’d like like to buy the world a Coke” days of the 1960s and ’70s when there were Republican senators who were every bit as ardent in their support of civil rights, environmental protection, and robust social investment as most of their Democratic colleagues,” John Nichols writes in ‘Bipartisan’ Is How Republicans Say ‘Sucker!’ at The Nation. “But those days, and those Republicans, are long gone….The idea that there could be positive cross-party collaboration on so definitional a measure as Biden’s American Jobs Plan is a ridiculously outdated and dangerous fantasy. It may still be true that Congress can pull together in an emergency, as it did on some measures during the worst stages of the pandemic. But when it comes to forging the future, Republicans have taken cooperation for the common good off the table….If the president and Senate Democrats think they can cut deals with Senate Republicans on the existential issues of the 2020s, they are no wiser than Charlie Brown as he prepares to make one more attempt to kick the football Lucy is about to pull out from under him….For Senate Republicans, negotiating with a Democratic president is no longer an exercise in governing. It is a political strategy designed to distract, delay, and ultimately defeat Democrats….Noting that “Biden has a once in a generation opportunity to make change in this country, which is why he was elected on a bold climate mandate and began his administration with a sweeping Covid relief bill,” Sunrise’s Ellen Sciales said Thursda….“Not a single Republican senator voted for the popular and vital Covid relief package and Democrats passed it anyway,” she explains. “That’s what Democrats must do now—they must use the power vested in them by voters to do what’s needed with or without the GOP. Do not cower to Republicans. Ceding to Republicans and accepting any GOP proposal will only lead to the death of more people from extreme weather, continue the persistent under and unemployment Americans are facing, and will put in jeopardy the Democratic majority in 2022 and 2024.”

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