washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Elaine Kamarck explains why “Biden can still salvage his Build Back Better bill if he settles for a piece by piece strategy” at Brookings: “is that he keeps getting bad marks for popular policies. Most Americans wanted out of Afghanistan and a majority supported the items in the Build Back Better bill, and yet, Biden is getting slammed. The way out is to change strategy. Stop putting everything into these enormous bills on the grounds that “reconciliation” is the only way to get past the Republicans in Congress, and start doing things the old-fashioned way, one bill at a time. There are two advantages to this approach. Some of the very popular provisions just might, if they were standalone bills, attract enough Republican votes to become law. And if not, Republicans would be forced to vote, on the record, against some very popular ideas and face Democratic criticism in the midterms….There are many ways to break down the massive bill into discrete and popular parts that would make it harder for the president’s opponents to message an attack. For instance, Biden could send a free-standing bill to Congress focused solely on making the increase in the child tax credit (passed in March as a part of the COVID relief bill) permanent. This is one of the most popular features of the bill, and research has shown that it has had a dramatic impact on child poverty rates. As a stand-alone bill, the messaging is clear and easy. There’s a slim chance that Democrats would win a few Republican senators but there’s a big chance that they could do some political damage to the Republicans who would vote against it. Either way, something is better than nothing.”

Kamarck continues, “Or, Biden could send Congress a free-standing bill providing four weeks of paid family and medical leave. With workers struggling to take care of family members as COVID and long COVID crash through the population, this proposal would be increasingly popular as the effects of the virus wear on. Once again, there’s a chance (albeit a slim one) that a standalone bill could muster enough Republican votes. And for the Republican senators who don’t vote for it? Well… the opposition ads write themselves….This is the case for other parts of the massive bill as well. Take the health care provisions. One of the most popular provisions, expanding Medicare to include hearing aids, has a broad base and is easy to understand. The baby boom generation isn’t dead yet but too many rock concerts have made it hard of hearing. It could be tough for a Republican senator to vote against this, but it won’t be tough for Democrats to slam them for denying grandpa hearing aids….there are plenty of popular items in this bill – but too many different policy proposals made it impossible to message. For months now we’ve watched Democrats take a very deep breath before spewing out the laundry list of items in the bill. Biden can still have a win – in fact, he can have a series of wins – if he moves away from massive bills that contain everything but the kitchen sink and toward bills that are clear and easy to understand.  Social Security, perhaps the most popular program ever created, was enacted by President Roosevelt and the Democratic Congress in a 32-page bill.”

“For a prime example of the incredible value the maligned moderate provides to their party, Democrats should look no further than Joe Biden’s 40 judicial appointments — all of whom Manchin has voted to confirm,” The Welcome Party notes at substack.com. “Thanks to Manchin, the Biden administration has already appointed more judges at this point in its tenure than any presidential administration in recent history. Not only are these appointments significantly more diverse in background than those of prior administrations, but they also provide a critical opportunity for the Democrats to shift the balance of power away from Donald Trump’s disproportionately white, male, and conservative judicial picks….Those in the party who remain ungrateful to Manchin should also revisit his:

  • Dual impeachment votes for Donald Trump, despite his constituents voting for Trump at higher rates than the GOP Senators who voted similarly
  • Enthusiastic vote for the President’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan
  • Voted against Donald Trump’s sweeping 2017 tax cuts and the GOP’s attempted repeal of Obamacare

Oh and he gave Biden an offer to spend $1.75 Trillion on “pre-k, climate, and Obamacare”. That’s $1,750,000,000,000 for Democratic priorities….To put it mildly, the differences between Manchin and MAGA are stark. Mitch McConnell couldn’t be more off-base when he argues that Manchin would fit in betterwith the GOP than with the Democrats, but that has not stopped him from getting away with doing so. At a time when Democrats should be doing everything they can to convert the handful of remaining pro-democracy Republicans (such as those who voted for Trump’s impeachment), it is both striking and problematic that the obstructionist in chief and his ever-more-authoritarian cabal are leading the charge on cross-partisan recruitment….The Democrats desperately need a big-tent, pro-democracy faction capable of appealing to cross-partisan coalitions of voters in swing districts across the country — and there’s no better place to start than with those elected officials on the center-right who clearly feel alienated from today’s radicalized GOP.”


4 comments on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Watcher on

    Thank you, Candace. I was having the same problem responding to the same wretched substack article (“Big Tent” apparently means no Elizabeth Warren and the man (Texeira) who told us to shut up and follow Biden’s lead in January is now telling us to hold off criticizing Manchin for…not following Biden’s lead).

    • Candace on

      I meant that but it was actually a test.
      I cant seem to post replies on Texeira’s latest (error messages I haven’t received before) which is fine but I already wrote something and it gave me some joy and that is what you’re supposed to share. Tis the season, dontcha know.
      I’m really concerned I wont be able to do that. It sort of applies to the welcome party at substack (what the?)
      I’ll try to post it here.

      🤔Its sort of a Frankenstein creation that reads like an attempt to endorse manchin as a candidate for president, doesn’t it. I’ve thought that he wants to run for president as an Independent or a republican and blame it on progressives in the D party. You certainly get the impression that’s on the table here at TDS.

      You know democrats should try concern trolling the republican party, or what the centrists would perhaps call ‘advising’. Even better progressives could do this to the centrists, or even eventually all of the advising concern trolls could do this to each other. They’d have to occasionally sprinkle in the slamming and blasting because that’s what you got to do. It would be entertaining for sure.
      The MSM not only loves to report politicians slamming and blasting each other, they have an endless appetite for paid for concern/advice for democrats that is utterly worthless. And you got to work them if you want to get anywhere. That’s a basic Trumpism, folks.

      One day there will be a thriving concern industry for all. But dare I say that I’m concerned. I could see this all causing some massive implosion to that industry.
      Maybe its a life cycle thing that MSM needs to go through in order to evolve into something like reporting without those paid for nonsensical detached from reality opinions that no one relates to or cares about?
      I think its worth a try.
      Thank you.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.