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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Why Dems Should Compromise Now on BBB, and Fight for the Rest Later

The Bulwark’s Tim Miller has the best article title of the last few days, “Joe Manchin Is the Only Thing Standing Between America and Sen. Cletus Von Ivermectin in 2024.” Miller visited some conservative areas of West Virginia in his report and notes “in this political environment the existence of a Democratic Senator in West Virginia is just a notch below loaves and fishes.” Miller adds some salient observations, including,

Manchin does it by going along with the Democrats just enough to get by, while bucking the party loudly enough to keep the Trump voters in his state happy….And that tells you all you need to know about the reason why Manchin signaled on Wednesday that he wouldn’t support the current iteration of the Build Back Better plan, with sources in Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office telling NBC that the Democrats would shelve it until at least March….Joe Manchin isn’t interested in blowing up his career to pass the Great Society 2.0….The only spending bill Manchin was ever going to support was one that leaders in his party, and left-wing celebrities, hate. Because that’s how he would sell it to the folks at the Groves-Mann Funeral Home.

Miller’s thoughts on how Democrats can achieve optimum results in the midterm elections:

If Democrats want to change the environment, they need to make the case that they are providing policy solutions that voters actually want and then peg the nihilist, insurrectionist Republicans as the ones who are standing in the way.

That would create some leverage they might be able to use. And it would redirect the political pressure away from the one person who is miraculously standing between us and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and towards the politicians that they need to beat in order for Democrats to have majorities in the future.

This realist view of politics might not be as fun as demanding that Joe Biden snap his fingers and eliminate everyone’s student debt and usher in our utopian future. But it’s the only way to change the current high-speed trajectory towards a GOP takeover.

The BBB’s demise should be a wake-up call for Democrats to change what they’re doing. We’ll see if anyone gets the message.

In his Slate article, “It’s Time for Democrats to Buck Up and Give Joe Manchin What He Wants” Jordan Weissman agrees and writes that “Manchin has made it clear all along that he is comfortable allowing these negotiations to fail if the final product isn’t to his liking. He can make that threat credibly, because his entire brand back home in West Virginia depends on his willingness to buck his own party.” As Weissman concludes,

But if you accept Manchin’s demand to keep the bill’s total around $2 trillion—and at this point, Democrats have—then it also makes sense to design the legislation his way, with fewer programs set to last long-term. Caving to Manchin’s demands will require Democrats to sacrifice some worthy parts of their agenda. But it’s time for them to buck up and do it, lest they end up with nothing at all.

It would be good for progressive Democrats to realize that the spending cuts and elements of BBB that are being ditched can be restored — when Democrats win a real working majority. Take what Dems can get now, move on and fight for the rest of it when they have the numbers to win.

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