“Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time.” — Harry Truman
The focus for this week seems to be at the same place. The off year elections created some sobering results for Democrats as they virtually lost all of Virginia and nearly lost New Jersey. Whether these results are a harbinger of things to come remains to be seen. There are a number of reasons why these results happened.
For instance, in Texas the voter turnout was a meager nine percent. After all, there were no major candidates on the ballot and only a few amendments to the constitution on most dockets. Texans amend the constitution about as often as people blow their nose in the autumn. So, you can forgive most of us when we just aren’t motivated to vote.
All that being said, the GOP has figured out the formula to victory. Why do you think they’ve been passing all of these voter suppression laws across the country? Lower voting turnouts usually equal wins for Republicans. The key for progressives is energizing the vote. How do we do that exactly?
Well, when we look at Joe Biden’s first year in office we see only one legislative achievement. Congress managed to pass a 1.9 trillion dollar corona virus relief bill early on. Otherwise, most of the achievements have been day to day administrative stuff.
He has managed to get more people vaccinated than the previous administration for instance. Of course, they weren’t exactly trying after the election. He rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement, but it’s hard to consider that an accomplishment. Most Democrats would consider that an accomplishment but conservatives obviously wouldn’t. That’s the problem with those kinds of accomplishments. It’s only an accomplishment for part of the population.
The bar is higher for Biden than it was for Trump. This has little to do with the reasons you think of when you read a statement like that. Conservatives don’t have to get things done. Their platform depends on doing a whole lot of nothing. Once you cut taxes and regulations you pretty much call it a day. Democrats have the burden of actually doing stuff.
When disenfranchised progressives see a Democratic Congress that has done nothing on the heels of a Republican Congress that has done nothing they are inclined not to vote. We can talk about needing wider margins and how Mitch McConnell has torpedoed everything, but people see what they see. It’s a circular firing squad at work.
Fingers are clearly pointed at Joe Mancin and Kyrsten Sinema and rightfully so, but they have a smaller infrastructure bill they managed to get through the Senate. Progressives in the House don’t want to pass that package. It’s not enough for them. In one sense I get it. The mantra has been to pass this smaller version and then go back to work on a larger one. Sure. You and I both know that’s not happening and so do they. The problem is that if you don’t pass this version you likely pass nothing.
That’s the game we’re playing here. You can pass a number of bills that are watered down and neutered to every inch of their life or you can fight the good fight and pass nothing. The problem is messaging. How do you convince a majority of Americans of the truth? How do you convince them that we need more Democrats in Congress? The thought seems counterintuitive. You’ve done very little with the ones you have.