In light of Friday’s decision by the Republican Supreme Court judges to end the federal protection of legal and safe abortion, what is the Democratic Party’s plan? It can’t only be ‘vote harder.’ The current Democratic Party leadership had months to prepare for this day, and they gave us:
- President Biden conducting a eulogy for the federal protection of legal and safe abortion..
- Speaker Pelosi reading a poem.
- A few dozen Democratic legislators getting their Glee Club on.
No significant calls from leadership for Biden to expand the court or for the Senate to pass legislation codifying the protection of Roe. Instead, they’re leaving town and going on recess. Doesn’t exactly exhibit a sense of urgency. As Josh Marshall puts it (boldface mine):
It’s true that there’s only a subsection of the larger electorate which fully grasps the importance of the filibuster or what “reforming” or getting rid of it even means. I’ve heard this criticism a lot. But you don’t need to know the word filibuster to see that even when in power, the pro-choice party, can’t do anything to protect abortion rights when they’re in power. People see at least nominal Democratic control in Washington. They see poll after poll that show big majorities of Americans oppose this. And yet nothing happens.
That’s deeply demoralizing and requires explanation, even if you don’t care or know anything about Senate procedure. That’s why “we’ll keep fighting” will never sufficiently move the electoral dial. You need a specific commitment, agreed to publicly by all 48 Senators and a clear statement of what’s needed. Two additional senators. Easy to accomplish? No. Doable. Yes. If anything the bigger challenge is the holding the House. But it’s all one message, as critical for House as Senate races. Keep the House and add two Senate seats and we will do this in January 2023.
Again, they knew this day was coming and they have nothing concrete to offer. And before any ninnies argue that legislation won’t pass the Senate, they could, at least, try. Let Democratic voters know how many more senators we need to elect to pass the legislation–and for anyone who decries this as ‘performative’, what do you call the January 6 Insurrection hearings? Those are entirely performative.
Instead, the leadership just gives up–it’s ok to lose a vote now and then! And while they’re at it, put Republicans on record about where they stand on contraception.
It’s unfair to call the leadership geriatric: after all, Senators Warren and Sanders, along with others, still have plenty of energy and good ideas. But the leadership is sclerotic and it is time for the current leadership to go. We do need Democrats to control Congress (if nothing else, to prevent Republicans from doing so–yes, it can get worse), but we can’t afford to have these particular Democrats running the party.
Enough of the heroic epic of failure.