Politics How Democrats Got Desperate

06:20  06 november  2021
06:20  06 november  2021 Source:   theatlantic.com

Dems Have to Choose on Gerrymandering: the High Road or More Seats

  Dems Have to Choose on Gerrymandering: the High Road or More Seats As states begin to cement their congressional maps for the next decade, Democrats have a choice. They can take the high road, operate as if their gerrymandering reforms had passed Congress, and try to draw fair lines that would accurately represent a state’s political composition. Or, with Republicans aiming to draw the most aggressively GOP-favorable maps possible in order to take back the House of Representatives, Democrats can play the same game.

The progressives blinked.

  How Democrats Got Desperate © Drew Angerer / Getty

For months, the feisty left flank of the House Democratic Caucus insisted it would not provide the votes to pass Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package until the Senate first approved the rest of the president’s economic agenda. At minimum, progressives said, all 50 Senate Democrats—and especially the chamber’s two most centrist members, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona—would have to at least commit to Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan. Twice the House liberals backed up their tough talk with action (or more precisely, inaction) by rebuffing Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bid to vote on the infrastructure bill.

Illinois Dems embrace gerrymandering in fight for US House

  Illinois Dems embrace gerrymandering in fight for US House CHICAGO (AP) — In the neck-and-neck fight to keep control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrats need help from the few places where state lawmakers can make 2022 difficult for Republicans. Illinois Democrats delivered Thursday, using their dominance in state government to advance new congressional district maps intended to eliminate two Republican-held districts and send more Democrats to Washington. To do it, Illinois Democrats have embraced gerrymandering, the practice of drawing district boundaries for political benefit that party leaders including former President Barack Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder have railed against as “rigging” ele

Then the off-year voters had their say. Three days after Republicans swept Democrats in Virginia and nearly toppled them in New Jersey, the progressives released the legislative hostage they had held captive for three months and helped pass the bipartisan infrastructure package. Fearing a total collapse of the Democratic agenda—and anticipating that they would be blamed for its failure—they had determined that they could hold out no longer. They were, in a word, desperate.

In return for helping to send the Senate-passed infrastructure bill to Biden’s desk, the progressives secured only a promise—that the House would eventually pass the far more expansive Build Back Better Act, a $1.75 trillion bill that provides universal pre-kindergarten for 3- and 4-year-olds, expanded child-care benefits, four weeks of paid family leave, and historic investments in the climate fight. When they arrived at the Capitol this morning, House Democrats believed they would be voting on both the infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better Act. But a small group of moderates—just large enough to sink a party-line vote because of the Democrats’ minuscule majority—told Pelosi they would not vote for the larger proposal without a full estimate from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office of its impact on federal deficits.

Illinois Democrats Receive 'F' Grade for Redistricting Thanks to Gerrymandering Tactics

  Illinois Democrats Receive 'F' Grade for Redistricting Thanks to Gerrymandering Tactics "This is a desperate map from a desperate party," said Adam Kincaid, executive director of the National Republican Redistricting Trust.The Princeton Gerrymandering Project described the map, which would eliminate two of the few Republican-held districts while adding one for Democrats in 2022, as "very uncompetitive.

The only vote that occurred on the Build Back Better Act was a procedural move to set up debate later this month. The fate of the progressives’ agenda—and Biden’s—remains as uncertain as ever.

“That’s the messiness of democracy with very slim margins,” Representative Ro Khanna of California, a House progressive who last year served as a national co-chair of Senator Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign, told me earlier this week, a hint of resignation in his voice.

[Read: The revolution will be improvised]

In truth, progressives had begun to move days before this week’s elections, and many had privately pushed for a shift in course weeks ago. What finally changed their minds, however, was the Democratic Party’s deteriorating political standing and the realization that their strategy of holding up one bill to pass the other had failed. Although Biden shared the progressives’ sense of urgency to deliver on their promises, the other most powerful Joe in Washington—Manchin—did not. The West Virginia Democrat refused to endorse the framework Biden announced last week. He has continued to negotiate, but wants the party to slow its rush to enact such an expansive, and expensive, agenda. Progressives got tired of waiting for him; their message now, as delivered by Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington State, is that persuading Manchin is Biden’s job and they trust the president to win him over.

How Sinema and Manchin are blocking a new Democratic consensus on Biden bills

  How Sinema and Manchin are blocking a new Democratic consensus on Biden bills It's hard to see amid the stormy conflict with Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, but the elongated Democratic standoff over President Joe Biden's economic agenda shows how far the party consensus has moved toward a more aggressive role for government than during the presidencies of Bill Clinton or even Barack Obama. © AFP/Getty Images The intractable disagreements with Manchin and Sinema about the size and scope of the economic package have produced weeks of ugly deadlock among Democrats -- and Manchin's unexpectedly harsh denunciation of the party's sweeping economic development and social safety net bill on Monday points t

“I do think it’s going to be a longer process than I hoped and than maybe I assumed, but I think he will ultimately get there,” Khanna said. “In an ideal world, would it be great to have had 50 senators publicly declare their support? Of course. Is there some risk that things that we want don’t make it into the final [bill]? Of course. But am I confident that the final bill will be similar in substance to the framework the president proposed? Yes.”

That’s if there’s a final bill at all. The Senate is a crowded graveyard of House-passed aspirations, whether it’s the major Obama-era climate bill that died there more than a decade ago, or the GOP’s long-promised repeal of the Affordable Care Act that the late Senator John McCain killed with his famous thumbs-down. The progressives’ acquiescence to a vote on the infrastructure legislation means that Biden won’t come away empty-handed from his ambitious gamble earlier in the spring that he could win passage of both a significant bipartisan bill and a broader social-spending and climate proposal on a party-line vote. Passage of the bipartisan bill is good news for the president and even better news for the states, cities, and towns that are relying on its infusion of federal funding for new and repaired roads, bridges, and rail systems, along with the construction jobs that come with it. But formally separating the infrastructure proposal from the broader, $1.75 trillion bill raises the chances that the latter will stall out completely, which would represent a huge defeat for progressives.

Can Joe Biden Save His Presidency?

  Can Joe Biden Save His Presidency? With his domestic agenda at risk of failure and the prospect rising of a Democratic drubbing in the midterms, Biden needs to act swiftly to rescue his term.Even as Biden announced the terms last week of a $1.75 trillion framework to salvage his signature "Build Back Better" legislation—cut in half from the bill's original $3.5 trillion price tag—his approval rating was taking a beating. The latest Real Clear Politics average has just 42 percent of Americans approving of the job Biden has done so far, while 52 percent disapprove; that represents a sharp downturn over the past two months and a nearly 14-point drop overall from his post-inauguration peak of close to 56 percent.

Progressives felt that the Senate “had moved as far as they could get,” Joseph Geevarghese, the executive director of Our Revolution, the advocacy group that grew out of Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign, told me. “That’s just a strategic decision. What they’re signaling is they are trying to align with the president to get things done.”

Hovering over the Democrats is a mounting fear among both moderate and progressives that the party has damaged its standing with voters and is on the verge of wasting what might be a short window of opportunity to govern. This week’s electoral rebuke in Virginia and New Jersey just exacerbated that frustration. Moderates blamed progressives for holding up final passage of the infrastructure bill, while progressives faulted Manchin and Sinema for delaying the bulk of Biden’s agenda. When Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan in March, the president’s approval rating stood at 53 percent; it’s now below 43 percent, and a GOP congressional victory in 2022 seems to many in Washington almost a foregone conclusion. “There’s not much to show for the Democrats being in power in Washington,” Geevarghese said, “and I think that’s the message the American electorate sent.”

House progressives weren’t the only players who changed course in recent days. For weeks, Pelosi had assured her members that she would not bring up a bill in the House that could not also pass the Senate; the pledge was aimed at electorally vulnerable lawmakers who worried that Republicans would attack them for voting for liberal priorities that, because they would never become law, would not actually deliver benefits to their constituents. But the speaker shifted after Manchin declined to endorse Biden’s framework. Pelosi ordered that the House bill include a provision requiring four weeks of paid family and medical leave, which Democrats had previously removed and which remains unlikely to clear the Senate because of Manchin’s opposition. The move helped mollify progressives, but it also served as an acknowledgment that the bill before the House was just an initial offer, not a final product.

How Virginia Democrats Fell Victim to History

  How Virginia Democrats Fell Victim to History And what needs to happen for the president’s party to have any shot at victory in 2022 and 2024The Republican victory in the Virginia gubernatorial race and the unexpectedly close result in New Jersey’s—both states Biden won comfortably last year—don’t guarantee a midterm wipeout for Democrats in 2022. Rather, the sweeping Republican advance in both states more likely previews the problems Democrats will have next November if the political environment doesn’t improve for Biden.

In the end, most House Democrats didn’t much care. While Pelosi worked to win over the last resisting moderates for the “Build Back Better” plan, progressives were eager to vote for both bills. They had failed to secure the guarantees they wanted, though they insisted that their strategy succeeded in bringing Democrats to the brink of a transformative legislative victory. “The obvious message is [voters] don’t want gridlock,” Khanna said, reflecting on the elections. “They want us to get something done.”

Once it became clear that the House would not vote on the Build Back Better Act today, progressives initially said they’d again refuse to support the infrastructure bill. But they backed down after a direct plea from Biden and once the moderate holdouts pledged to vote for the larger bill if the cost estimate matched the party’s expectations. Ultimately, only six House progressives voted against the infrastructure bill. The measure passed the House late Friday night, 228-206, with help from 13 Republicans who voted yes.

In voting finally for the infrastructure bill, progressives gave Biden something tangible to show for the past several months of his bargaining with Congress. But they also revealed their desperation, and that, as a certain self-styled dealmaker who went on to become president once observed, can be a dangerous thing. “The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it,” Donald Trump wrote in The Art of the Deal. “That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you’re dead.”

At the Races: Can Democrats build on infrastructure? .
Welcome to At the Races! Each week we’ll bring you news and analysis from the CQ Roll Call campaign team. Know someone who’d like to get this newsletter? They can subscribe here. By Kate Ackley, Bridget Bowman and Stephanie Akin The bipartisan infrastructure bill that President Joe Biden is expected to sign Monday gives Democrats […] The post At the Races: Can Democrats build on infrastructure? appeared first on Roll Call.

usr: 0
This is interesting!