Green Lanternism and Changing the Game

Osita Nwanevu makes a critical point about Democrats and progressive policy (boldface mine):

Between now and the midterm elections next year, we will hear from Democratic leaders that the solution is electing more Democrats and giving the party the resources it needs to do so: more donations, more canvassing, and more voting. We’ll also hear from progressives who will insist that the solution is defeating the Democratic establishment with progressive candidates all over the country: more donations, more canvassing, and more voting. But it’s all nonsense: every part of it, top to bottom, start to finish.

What Democrats have in the place of a constructive politics is a set of interlocking pyramid schemes operated by people who know full well that no matter how many doors are knocked on, how many calls are made, how many alarmingly titled fundraising emails are opened, and how many people show up to the polls, whether or not anything significant happens in Congress depends mostly upon a relatively small set of people in a few very specific places: the most conservative Democrats in the country and the moderate-to-conservative states that have elected them. They are the ones who will decide whether the filibuster goes or whether legislation the party tries to jimmy through reconciliation will pass. No matter how much work is put into gaining Democratic majorities, they will have the power to invalidate them, denying Democrats any reasonable hope of utilizing a chamber structurally skewed in the Republican Party’s favor. Progressives can talk themselves blue about primaries, but activating a progressive electorate in, say, West Virginia is going to take more than one election cycle, or two, or five, and Manchin isn’t up for reelection until the end of Biden’s first term anyway….

If the Democratic Party cannot utilize congressional majorities, there’s not much reason to invest heavily in gaining or retaining them beyond the hope that the party might hold enough seats to prevent Republicans from regaining control and passing a destructive agenda under a Republican president.

No, Biden doesn’t have magical Green Lantern powers, wherein if he wills it, it will happen. But Democrats do need to realize that if they can’t pass what the majority of their party–and the majority of the country–want, then they will be tagged with this failure. Manchin (and possibly Sinema–she’s in a far more precarious position*) might not care, but Democrats should. That they do not change the rules to pass a broadly popular, moderate agenda would suggest they don’t support that agenda enough to make it happen. When the rules are more important–and, mind you, Republicans change the rules when they need to, from partially abolishing the filibuster to firing the parliamentarian–it is a Green Lantern problem. Enough Democrats don’t want this, so it won’t happen, and so the “pyramid scheme” rolls on.

Before anyone says, ‘give them time’, many of us have been giving them time for over two decades now. To say trust isn’t high would be an understatement. Mind you, it’s not like they’ve actually passed anything yet to give them credibility in following through on things.

Without delivering on a minimum wage, I don’t think Warnock wins in 2022.

Nothing good will come from this.

*Has anyone reached out to the tribes? Because Sinema doesn’t win without them.

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