It is late Tuesday afternoon as I pen this. Guns are the dominant political topic and I expect they will be through at least the weekend. You will hear a lot of talk from Republicans and much of it will be insincere. I want to warn you what to look for and explain why I use certain verbiage. Let’s explore.
I am an American, a progressive and a Democrat in that order. Despite the facts that my political philosophy and my target audience are both progressive, often in my writing I refer to the Democrats as “us”. Here is a succinct justification: While not every Democrat is a progressive, every Republican will thwart the progressive agenda.
We have heard some sensible sounding things come out of Republicans’ mouths in the wake of El Paso and Dayton (as well as some lunacy). Expect more of the same for a bit. We have seen this game before. This time they may even go a bit further and allow some common sense legislation to be debated (particularly at the state level). Remember the old Yogism: “It ain’t over ‘till it’s over”! Much of this will be a false façade. Watch for the insertion of a poison pill and then the Republicans will claim the Democrats didn’t vote to protect the people. One thing the gun lobby seems to want is a 50 state concealed carry reciprocal. In other words if you get your concealed carry permit in any state it is good in all states.
On the national level I still expect Moscow Mitch McConnell to use the scheduled summer recess to his advantage and simply not call the Senate back in session hoping the time off will take the heat off this issue. We’ve seen this movie before.
This brings me to a confession. I’m been moving in this direction for some time and finally my mind is made up. The top priority for the Democrats in 2020 is not the White House; it is the Senate. I want both but if I had to choose it is the Senate.
If we are stuck with another Trump term but we have the majority in the Senate we can do a lot to constrain him. If we have the White House but the Republicans control the Senate – especially if Mitch is reelected – obstruction will the word. With the Senate majority the Democrats can control the agenda which means legislation passed in the House doesn’t come to the Senate to die without a floor vote. (I am assuming the Democrat retain control of the House.) I know you are saying what about the filibuster and you are correct. Even in my wildest dreams I don’t see the Democrats with a filibuster proof majority in 2021. The reality is that at least the legislation can go to the floor and Republicans will be forced to record their votes on it. With Mitch in charge they get a free pass and can lie about what they would have done somehow blaming the Democrats in the process.
Democrats at large are finally catching up with the Republicans in seeing how important judicial nominations are. Under the current rules a majority can kill even a Supreme Court nomination. Do you think Brett Kavanaugh would be on the Court if the Democrats controlled the Senate?
I don’t expect liberal nominees from a Republican president but Betsy DeVos and Kavanaugh?
The top 2020 federal progressive priority has to be the Senate and the only politically viable path to anything resembling progressive legislation is via the Democrats. In today’s America they are us.
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