Democrats Can’t Take Any Option Off the Table

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I don’t say this often: right now, former Vice President Joe Biden’s political message is absolutely perfect. If he refuses to ask questions about expanding the Supreme Court or getting rid of the filibuster, he may disappoint some of his supporters when he has the blessing of working with a Democratic Senate in November. But his answers are correct.

When asked by a television station in Green Bay, Wisconsin whether it would add more Supreme Court justices if Donald Trump and the Senate GOP replaced the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a Conservative. Answered Biden: “It’s a legitimate question, but let me tell you why I’m not answering that question. Because it will shift focus. That’s what [Trump] want. He never wants to talk about the subject and always tries to change the subject. Suppose I answer that question, then the whole debate is about what Biden said and what not said. Biden said he would or wouldn’t. ”

I think thats right. Biden should keep talking about Trump’s grueling handling of the Covid pandemic, his ongoing crusade to kill the Affordable Care Act, his failure to bring real economic relief to people struggling in this economy. These booths add to solid national and swing state leadership. I also think it’s the left’s job to find more systemic solutions – but I agree with Biden’s position here.

I disagree at all with California Senator Dianne Feinstein’s response to eliminating the filibuster, perhaps as a first step to add more judges. The senator from the union’s most liberal state told reporters yesterday, “I don’t believe in it. I think the filibuster has a purpose … I think it’s a part of the Senate that is different from others.” Even Senator Joe Manchin out much more conservative West Virginia has left the door open for filibuster reform. It’s not that centrist or conservative Democrats should promise to grab the court or eliminate the filibuster. It’s just incredibly irresponsible to take it off the table. And that tendency to play nice and pretend the old norms still prevail is part of what brought the Democratic Party and the nation to this terrible crisis.

If the Democrats fail to reform the filibuster despite a three to four seat majority in the Senate (which would be a miracle), their legislative agenda will be completely stalled. Nothing that the Biden-Harris Ticket promises – whether it will back the ACA, lower the Medicare eligibility age to 55 or 60, a new voting law, massive pandemic aid, criminal justice reform, or a modified Green New Deal – will be achieved in her first two years in office. Republicans will block every move, just as they blocked Barack Obama’s efforts to provide greater post-financial incentive and broader ACA, which in turn disillusion a Democratic base that voted for big change.

And if that happens, the Democrats will lose control of the House and Senate in 2022. This is a wave of elections where the 2011 GOP class will look like a convention of the Democratic Socialists of America. The disillusionment of young people and the left that we saw in November 2010 that resulted in a depressing drop in Democratic turnout is compounded by a factor from Covid x Accelerating Climate Change x persistent police violence – synonymous with despair, nihilism, and perhaps angry rebellion.

But that’s a debate if Democrats take back the White House and Senate. Republicans want nothing more than to shift the subject of Trump’s cruel performance in office to allegations of anti-democratic moves by the Democrats, or they would characterize such completely sensible reforms. (Keep reading the always brilliant Adam Jentleson The party’s options come in January.)

Feinstein hit back a primary challenge in 2018, which means she’ll keep her seat if she wants, at least until 2025 when she’s 93. Just in time for the inauguration of President Tom Cotton (or maybe Ivanka Trump)! If the senator from our most progressive state is really against more fundamental changes, she should be honest with herself that she is hindering her party’s grassroots and priorities. Perhaps it is time to consider retiring so that California Governor Gavin Newsom can appoint someone who better suits his state’s electorate. Or maybe it’s time to hire yourself.

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