Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Tilting windmills or smart politics? House and Senate Dems act on wish list

Tilting windmills or smart politics? House and Senate Dems act on a wish list. 

Democrats holding a slim majority in the House of Representatives and Democratic Senators are working to pass a flurry of 'bills they know hold little chance of passing in the 50-50 Senate.  They are assuming the pundits are right: the House will fall into a GOP majority in November 2022,  making their legislative agenda a  pipedream even if Democrats make gains in the Senate.  So why bother?  Because it is a smart strategy.

One of the fallouts of the extreme right ideological takeover of the Supreme Court is that so much of the liberal agenda has been tossed back to states or to Congress to enact ( codify) into law.   It will intensify divisions in a country, intensifying already entrenched red and blue divisions on issues that have overwhelming or significant popular support. In response, Democrat  House members are attempting to pass legislation they know will not become law before the November midterms and will die in a 50-50 Senate with selected obstructionist tactics by Democratic Senators Manchin and Sinema. Even if those two senators say they like a particular bill, they make sure it does not pass by refusing to make exceptions to the filibuster rule requiring 60 votes, not 50 plus 1.  Is this a political strategy or just a cry of anguish?  It is a political strategy to get all members of the House and Senate on the record on popular issues with widespread support. Democrats' ultimate goal in the 2022 midterms is to hold onto the House majority and pick up a net gain of two Senate seats. It will take going on the attack to show the contrast clearly between candidates and political parties. The voting record, yea or nay, exposed publicly will help make that contrast on issues voters care about.  

Those issues being targeted are protecting rights to choose and same-sex marriage,  access to birth control, lowering prescription drug costs,  closing loopholes in the electoral college process, ending dark money and secretive political contributions, banning assault weapon sales or restricting access to them, and preserving the ability for citizens .to travel from one state to another state to seek services and safety. 

   Why "on the record"?  Politicians are notorious for sidestepping and parsing statements about issues they oppose even though they know have wide public support.   That should be the bitter lesson in the GOP's success in stacking the Supreme Court to support their partisan and ideological agenda. During hearings to get Senate approval for their nomination,  the nominees either avoided answering their views or indicated support of keeping as precedent previous court decisions/ However,  after their hearings resulted in their swearing-in and then sitting on the bench, senators were shocked, shocked, shocked they had been pacified on the issue of honoring precedence, especially regarding Roe v Wade.  The shape of the Court has been finalized for years with the appointment of three young ideological right-wingers.     They immediately killed the concept of settled law (stare decisis), standing by things already decided. They have overturned any prior decision the newly constituted majority of the Justices said "were wrongly decided" by prior Courts on a large number of issues.  Parsed words of nominated justices cannot be trusted any more than common politicians, but common politicians can be held accountable by voters for votes approving nominations. 

. Actual votes on the record can be used in campaigns either to support their candidacy or oppose them.  If election denying can serve as a litmus test, the votes on public policy issues also serve as litmus tests, as well as put forth in an education campaign alerting low information voters who have not followed the lead-up to November federal and state elections this November.   It clears the fog of attack advertising and public pronouncements, making it easier for voters to see sharp contrasts between candidates on popular issues. Those issues include  Roe v Wade, mass shootings, freedom to travel from one state to another, and the Court's permission of dark money in the Citizens United decision. These are popular in any poll.  By forcing both House members and Senate members to cast a vote on these public policy positions, it becomes more difficult for the GOP to avoid hiding behind inflation, gas prices, and appeal to white nationalists and Trumpist loyalties.

House Passes Two Bills Seeking to Ensure Access to Abortion - The New York Times (

The Supreme Court just threw the idea of settled law out the window - CNNPolitics

Supreme Court makes Citizens United even worse in a landmark dark money case - Vox

VIDEO – At Rules Committee Hearing, Chairwoman Klobuchar Highlights Need to Address Secret Money In Our Elections, Bolster Transparency of Political Spending - News Releases - U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (

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