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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In “The human cost of McCarthy’s debt ceiling demands would be catastrophic” Karen Dolan, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, writes at The Hill: “President Biden said it well when he called House Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) demands to gut the U.S. safety net or force a federal default “wacko.”….Whatever word for it you use, McCarthy and his caucus are holding American families, the full faith and credit of the United States and the global economy hostage to his demands to slash the programs that most of us rely on….Make no mistake — this isn’t about debt….McCarthy and Republicans in both the House and Senate voted three times under Trump to raise the debt ceiling — and even to suspend it — in order to rack up nearly $8 trillion in debt, including about $2 trillion for tax cuts to the wealthy and big corporations. Although bipartisan spending has contributed to the national debt over the years, on partisan votes it’s actually been Republicans who’ve voted to add more to the national debt than Democrats….President Biden, by contrast, reduced the annual deficit in 2022, and his 10-year budget plan for the next fiscal year would lower the national debt by $3 trillion while more robustly funding the programs so many of us rely upon. This is because, unlike the GOP plan, he includes revenues from fair taxation for the nation’s wealthiest….Biden wants the wealthy to pay their fair share to fund social programs that address ever-deepening inequality — while also reducing deficits and debt. If McCarthy simply voted for that budget, he’d reduce the debt. Instead, Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill refuse to raise the cap unless underfunded programs — for health care, food and housing, education, veteran’s health and Meals on Wheels —  are slashed to make way for even more tax cuts for the already very wealthy.”

Dolan adds, “According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, McCarthy’s “Limit, Save, Grow Act”  demands the following as ransom for the full faith and credit of the United States:

  • Leaving many more veterans, families and elderly people homeless, hungry and unable to access health care or college.
  • Eliminating tens of thousands of teachers and hundreds of thousands of Head Start and child care slots.
  • Increasing interest on credit cards, car payments and mortgages, while preventing any student loan relief.
  • Scaling back tax incentives for green energy and making it easier for oil and gas companies to pollute.
  • Making it easier for rich folks to cheat on their taxes.

This is simply no way to run an economy, serve our people or be a responsible global partner. It’s a formula for the opposite….The package is dead on arrival in the U.S. Senate…The debt ceiling should be abolished. It has no connection to the real economy and it’s of no use except as a weapon to take the government hostage. McCarthy’s faction couldn’t care less about the debt ceiling when it comes to unfunded wars, tax cuts for the wealthiest and ballooning the Pentagon budget. But let it be about doing their job and keeping the rest of us afloat and they go into full fiscal terrorist mode….But if the ceiling can’t be abolished, it must be raised as required by the Constitution — without conditions. McCarthy and his cadre should be pressured to immediately pass a clean new debt limit. Anything else is just “wacko.”

Support for abortion rights has grown in spite of bans and restrictions, poll shows,’ Laura Santhanam writes at pbs.org, and explains, ” Support for abortion rights overall has increased as state legislatures and courtrooms have instituted a growing number of restrictions and bans, according to the latest PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll. Sixty-one percent of U.S. adults say they support abortion rights, marking a 6-percentage point increase since last June….Nearly a year after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, U.S. opinions about that consequential decision remain largely unchanged in this latest poll. A majority of U.S. adults – 59 percent – still say they oppose the justices’ decision, which removed federal protections for many reproductive health care services, while another 40 percent of Americans agree with the nation’s highest court….Those who say they mostly support abortion rights include 84 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of independents. At the same time, 37 percent of Americans overall oppose abortion rights, including 67 percent of Republicans….When asked whether abortion should be allowed up until 24 weeks – around when the fetus can be viable outside the womb and before which almost all abortions are performed – 44 percent of Americans said yes. Such laws, favored by a majority of abortion-rights supporters in this poll, saw a 10-percentage point increase since May….While a majority of Americans – 66 percent – say abortion should be prohibited after the first three months of pregnancy, that attitude has diminished from 84 percent nearly two decades ago….Meanwhile, a growing number of Americans — 34 percent — think abortion should be allowed at least up until the first six months of pregnancy, if not throughout the entire pregnancy. That support has more than doubled since May 2009, when 14 percent of Americans felt that way….At the far ends of the spectrum, two in 10 Americans think abortion should be permitted at any time during pregnancy (especially true among Democrats, Biden voters, adults aged 44 or younger and people who graduated from college), while one in 10 Americans think abortion should never be allowed under any circumstances.”

Kyle Kondik probes a question of concern, “Is Biden’s Approval Rating Too Weak for Him to Win? Just like in 2022, “soft” disapprovers are a key bloc” at Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and observes: “Remember that in 2022, Democrats held their own despite Biden’s poor approval rating in no small part because they did better with Biden disapprovers than Republicans did with Biden approvers. According to the 2 major exit polls of the 2022 election — the Edison Research survey done for several media entities as well as the NORC at the University of Chicago VoteCast done for the Associated Press and Fox News — Biden’s approval/disapproval split among the midterm electorate was 44% approve/55% disapprove (Edison) or 43% approve/57% disapprove (VoteCast). Democratic House candidates won the Biden approvers 94%-5% (Edison) or 90%-8% (VoteCast), while Republican House candidates won the Biden disapprovers 86%-12% (Edison) or 82%-15% (VoteCast)….Both polls also asked voters whether they strongly or somewhat approved or disapproved of Biden’s job performance, and both found that Democrats narrowly won the 10% (Edison) or 13% (VoteCast) of voters who somewhat disapproved of the president….Unless Biden’s approval improves significantly, rising to around 50% or better by the time of his reelection, the “soft” Biden disapprovers are probably going to decide the election. If they vote against Biden en masse, he is likely doomed, particularly because Biden may have to win the popular vote by a few points in order to win if the current bias toward Republicans in the Electoral College endures. But these cross-pressured voters are also going to consider what the alternative to Biden is. As we noted after Biden’s State of the Union address in early February, Biden is very reliant on the Republican Party nominating a presidential candidate who does not have much appeal to these voters — and the GOP may deliver for Biden on that account.”

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. pjcamp on

    I think Biden should just ignore the debt ceiling and keep issuing treasury bills. I imagine it would not be hard to get an OLC opinion that Congress authorized the debt when it authorized the spending and provided no other means to pay for it. And since the Constitution clearly states the debt of the United States shall not be questioned, a ceiling on already authorized spending is arguably unconstitutional.


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