Blasé Biden and Advice for Democrats
This morning’s episode of The Daily focused on several abortion clinics in red states grappling with the repercussions of the Dobbs decision. That mostly meant turning away panicked women and families, including a fourteen year old girl who had been sexually assaulted and impregnated by her rapist. Unless she travels out of state, she will now carry her rapist’s baby to term.
Meanwhile, the Biden-Harris team continues to say the best thing we can do is just elect more Democrats. Given that it is virtually impossible to add 10 pro-choice Senators in the upcoming mid-terms, the Administration has been getting pressure to take a position on whether they should try to push for the elimination of the filibuster. In an interview with CNN, Kamala Harris declined to take that position.
This is sad and pathetic. I am not sure if Harris actually feels this way or is compelled because she is the junior partner in the Administration. But it doesn’t matter, it is indefensible and the party is pretty much ready to move on from both of them. As they continue peddling out fantasy solutions they know have no basis in reality, more women across the country will be forced to carry their rapists’ babies, go forth with dangerous pregnancies or incur direct harm to themselves due to unsafe abortions.
Contract for Democrats?
On a lighter note, per Matt Yglesias’s blog my attention has been brought to a 10 point platform, modeled on the Republican’s 1994 Contract for America, that Washington Post columnist Perry Bacon has proposed Democrats take up:
Eliminate the filibuster.
A national law guaranteeing a right to an abortion in the first trimester and in all cases of rape and incest.
A democracy reform law mandating independent commissions to draw state and congressional districts lines free of gerrymandering; vote-by-mail and two weeks of early voting; proportional representation through multi-member congressional districts; and measures to prevent election subversion.
A ban on the sale of military-style weapons such as AR-15 rifles and high-capacity magazines, along with universal background checks for gun sales.
A minimum income tax of at least 20 percent on billionaires.
A ban on members of Congress buying individual stocks.
National marijuana legalization.
A climate change plan that puts the United States on a path to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
A required civics and life-skills course for high school seniors, with the same curriculum throughout the country.
Voluntary term limits of 12 years in Congress for all Democrats (six terms in the House, two in the Senate).
This looks mostly good to me - especially the first one (ahem, Biden.) I would add a few edits though. One #3, while I am in favor of proportional representation and believe it is far more democratic, I am not sure the general public is there yet. That means it is ripe for manipulation by Republican propaganda and could poison the idea forever. Instead, it would be good to see a gradual movement and general education about the concept so that voters can warm up to it. Then…democracy!
On #5 I am generally supportive of raising taxes on the rich, especially if we can frame it as for deficit reduction. The deficit is big and people tend to not like it. Why not attach rich-people tax increase to it? I have no idea if the particular numbers of 20% on income makes sense. But just saying “tax the rich” would be great.
For #9 I am not so sure. We’ve mostly kept education curriculum to localities, which has good and bad implications. Starting to let the federal government establish a civics curriculum could mean when the GOP is in power history starts getting pretty funky again. We also have the same risk with far-woke leftists. Best step away from this one.
I am against #10 as well. In theory term limits sound great, given how old and entrenched Democratic leadership is right now. But more time in Congress builds expertise, skills and relationships - all which can help important things get done. Shorter terms in Congress often means lobbyists and special interests, who stick around and know the game, have more influence.
To replace #9 and #10 I would add two ideas.
The first would be border security. This issue is ripe to take away from the Republicans. Over a million migrants had been arrested crossing the Mexican border into the U.S. by April of this year, with estimates of another million to come. The only Democratic position I have heard in recent years on this issue is that we should just decriminalize border crossings and never deport anyone who makes it here. Most Americans, understandably, don’t like this. That includes most Latinos, who are rapidly moving away from the Democratic Party. By embracing a strong border policy who’s aim is to stop this madness, Democrats can start to get the credibility they need to enact comprehensive immigration reform. The latter would mean path-to-citizenship for those already here and finding ways to actually increase legal immigration, which has widespread support. But first, stop being thought of as the party of open borders.
The other thing I would add is some clear, understandable and actionable way to lower prescription drug prices. This has huge, bipartisan support (among voters.) It is something Trump pretended to embrace. It is something Democrats tried but failed to do, inexcusably. Get back on the horse and try again.
This would be a great platform for the party. Onto the midterms. And then find a new nominee for 2024 (Marty Walsh?)