Politics Where is #TheResistance now? Democrats should fear their base now more than ever
Cubans still reside on Guantanamo Bay base decades after US-Cuba relations fractured
Sixty years after the United States' failed Bay of Pigs invasion, the remnants of the US and Cuba's fractured relationship are tucked away in a small neighborhood of the US Naval base at Guantánamo Bay. Nineteen Cubans still live on the base almost 60 years after the base closed its borders with the island nation it sits on the edge of. © Ellie Kaufman/CNN Noel West, 89, is one of the 19 Cuban Special Category Residents who still live in US Naval Station Guantánamo Bay. In the early 60s, the border between the US and Cuba closed on the base, and some Cubans working on the base decided to stay on the US side, including West.
Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema | Pro-choice protesters march outside the Texas State Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021 in Austin, TX. Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images
If there was ever a time to hit the panic button in the Biden era, Monday was that day.
Monday marked one week before so-called moderates in the House of Representatives attempt to force a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure package passed at the center of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda. With his approval ratings stalling due to the double hits of a lackluster response to the Delta variant and continued vaccine hesitancy holding down economic recovery, along with a messy withdrawal from Afghanistan that included the fatal drone bombing of 10 civilians, mostly children, Biden is now facing threats of sabotage from the very people with whom he made a political bed for decades in D.C.
3 Key Divides in Democrats’ Civil War Over the Biden Agenda
It’s not just progressives versus moderates.Joe Biden may have less room for error.
Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Krysten Sinema of Arizona were out on Monday with a pair of demands for their fellow Democrats facing a confluence of deadlines, both real and arbitrary. Manchin, the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, who has sought to "remake President Biden's climate legislation in a way that tosses a lifeline to the fossil fuel industry," now says he would like to delay action on Biden's agenda until 2022. That's just ahead of the midterm elections, so we all know Manchin's suggestion is the fast lane to nowhere. Sinema, for her part, is throwing a last-minute wrench in negotiations to take up for Big Pharma in to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices directly.
Buckle up for more Trump, courtesy of the Democratic Party
To excite their base, the Democrats have one option.Political scientists think everyone should vote and scold anyone who doesn't. Economists think voting makes little sense - at least from a "profit-maximizing" view. Economists are right. Voting is costly and the likelihood a single vote will be the difference is almost nil. And Americans' turnout decisions are backwards. Your vote in a local election or a party primary is far more influential on the margin than a vote in presidential elections. Yet, people turn out in presidential years and not in local elections and primaries. People turn out for emotional reasons and social acceptance.
Also on Monday, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear oral arguments in the case against Missippi's abortion law in December, likely dismantling the constitutional right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade by June. Just weeks before, the high court laid the groundwork for this when it upheld Texas' ban on abortions. At least one abortion provider in the state has already been sued.
Monday was also the day that Senate Democrats, rebuffed by the Senate Parliamentarian the day before, frantically introduced an attempt at a legislative workaround to the ruling that , and thus can't be included in the filibuster-proof reconciliation bill. Never mind that in 2005, the Republican-controlled Senate used reconciliation to pass immigration reforms citing citizenship as a significant economic and budgetary issue, because Manchin and Sinema have decided that defending a relic of Senate rules is more important than defending Democrats' majorities in Congress — . ( after he ruled against one of their tax cut proposals.)
Democrats confront 'Rubik's cube on steroids'
Democrats are facing tough choices as they grapple with how to make good on their promise to deliver a sweeping social spending bill crucial to President Biden's agenda. The high-profile balancing act is testing Democrats' razor-thin majorities and putting a spotlight on long-dormant divisions. "This is a little bit like a Rubik's cube on steroids. It's complicated," said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) about the state of play. Here are some ofThe high-profile balancing act is testing Democrats' razor-thin majorities and putting a spotlight on long-dormant divisions.
Immigration matters, as the world saw on Monday with images of U.S. border patrol agents whipping their horse reigns as they corraled Haitian migrants back into the Rio Grande at the Texas border with Mexico, under a Democratic administration, too. Thanks to a cadre of radical right-wing justices pushed onto the federal bench by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during Donald Trump's presidency, the Biden administration is forced to implement Trump's extraordinarily draconian Remain in Mexico policy which prohibits asylum seekers from entering the U.S. while awaiting review.
So where is #TheResistance?
For the most part, moderate members of the Democratic caucus in Congress were not flooded at their home districts during the August recess, even as they very publicly threatened to hijack Biden's agenda. Activists like those with Rev. William Barber's People's Campaign have consistently applied pressure to Democrats like Manchin, but without the masses in the streets protesting the horrific images of Haitians hunted on horseback under the Biden administration with the same fervor present when protesting kids in cages under Trump it's little surprise things stay the same.
Defense secretaries in their own words: US 'invented reasons' to stay in Afghanistan
The Taliban blitz exposes the failure of the 20-year Afghanistan war and portends terrorism threats, say former defense secretaries Panetta and Hagel.Afghan security forces, trained and equipped at the cost of $83 billion, wilted before Taliban fighters. With few exceptions, the Taliban rolled through provincial capitals without a fight despite a force of Afghan troops that was supposed to number more than 300,000. In reality, there were far fewer Afghan forces because of desertions and commanders who reportedly pocketed the pay of ghost soldiers they had kept on rolls. For those who remained and fought, there wasn't enough ammunition and food, to say nothing of pay.
"I have been working hard on my portion of it," Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., the chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, told reporters of the multi-trillion dollar reconciliation package. "If it's actually going to happen, we're doing pretty well. So but I, you know, I mean, go ask Manchin or Sinema."
The chaos we are currently watching in Washington, D.C. comes down to the personal interest of these two.
Manchin currently maintains ownership stakes in that he founded, including one run by his son, Joe Manchin IV. The senior "Manchin has personally grossed more than $4.5 million from those firms," . Former Manchin aides with fossil fuel industry clients are able to directly . The same pattern is present with despite it's overwhelming popularity across the partisan divide. (Even Donald Trump talked big about lower prescription drug prices.)In 2009 there were 60 Democratic Senators (briefly). Now, a dozen years later, it is an epic struggle to get the country to elect 50 Democratic senators, after a decade in which the GOP descended into open white fascism. This trendline looks ominous. The flaw in the "Vote Blue No Matter Who" electoral strategy is that what gerrymandered maps and politically polarized sorting leaves us with too often is razor-thin margins where the Who really does matter. Sure the GOP didn't repeal the ACA or get any huge projects done, but it passed its main priorities: corporate tax cuts and stacking the federal bench with conservative judges.
The donors can't be the only people Democrats in Congress are afraid of. The time is now for #TheResistance to make its return back to the streets — before it's too late.
Democrats Consider Going YOLO on Infrastructure .
As they struggle to muscle through their sweeping domestic agenda, Democrats are grappling with how a vast array of policy choices—from tax hikes on the rich to massive benefits expansions—will affect the party’s chances in the 2022 midterm elections. But a number of Democrats are beginning to settle on a simple lodestar for those political calculations: YOLO. Call it the You-Only-Live-Once mentality. Or, perhaps more fittingly, You-Only-Legislate-Once.To Democrats, this moment is their best shot to pass transformative legislation while they still have the power to do so.