2020/03/24

Arguments to move quickly on impeachment

People have been suggesting that Congress is moving too quickly to impeach the President and that we need to slow down and allow the courts to force the Trump Administration to expose still more information. The piece at Reader Supported News makes a strong, but I think flawed, case for waiting.
This piece is behind a paywall, but the summary of the points is
1. "The evidence is already overwhelming."
2. Democrats are trying to "maintain the initiative with the President." That means moving quickly so he can't catch up.
3. The House can keep on gathering evidence right up until the Senate trial begins. That's likely to be well into January, perhaps even into February.
4. Acting as though the evidence is overwhelming is the best way to convince the public that the evidence is overwhelming. The best way to demonstrate that is to move forward quickly.

2020/03/22

A comparison of the two remaining Democrats

Biden's March 11th speech after winning Super Tuesday.
Sanders' speech, same day.

I went back and compared the two March 11th speeches of Biden and of Senator Sanders. Biden spoke in more general terms, Sanders talked of a laundry list of specific goals.

I found Biden's speech to be much more focused on what he could actually get done as president. Biden was focused on general subjects he would tackle with the idea that specific agendas would have to wait until he was actually in office and actually making decisions on the issues of the day.

Senator Sanders spoke of really big subjects that would take lots and lots of work to accomplish. Getting to Medicare for All, for instance,  would be a really heavy lift. Each one of the subjects Bernie mentioned would take really large amounts of discussion and consultation and working out of details. Doing all of it is way beyond the capability of anyone. If he had the record of getting big bills done, that'd be one thing, but he doesn't.

[Sanders] turned down chats with South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, because why work to win the black vote? “His politics are not my politics,” Sanders said. “There’s no way in god’s Earth he was going to be endorsing me," because the only people worth talking to were the ones endorsing him.

Refusing to even try to broaden your appeal is not a winning strategy! Ain't no way Sanders is going to get any of his big-ticket items through without talking to everybody!

Sure, it's useful to have Sanders acting as a gadfly to the Democratic Party, pushing the party to the left. But let's not let enthusiasm for a romantic figure blind us to the top priority of the moment, making sure that Donald Trump is a one-term President!

2020/03/09

Moderate vs Progressive Democrats

Very broadly, I agree that if a Democrat tries to run as a "Republican-lite," they'll lose. I like the approach of Senator Doug Jones (D-AL), who was elected in a red state fluke election but has conducted himself as a real Democrat rather than by trying to please conservatives.

In the piece Seven Centrist Defeats, I was only around and paying attention from Mondale on, so I'll start with him. He had a good idea in promising to raise taxes. That sent the Reagan campaign into a tizzy. But Mondale had nothing to follow it up with. He had no ideas beyond that. There were no great, burning issues at the time when a challenger was trying to unseat an incumbent. That would have been a challenge at the best of times.

Yes, Dukakis tried to run as a "Reagan-lite" candidate and not as a Democrat. Plus which, he was up against a dirty trickster ("Willie Horton"). As the elder George Bush was so close to Reagan, he was essentially running as an incumbent.

I don't think anyone really doubted that Kerry would have been better on Iraq despite Kerry's stupid statement, but the Swift Boat Veterans really did him in. To their shame, the media allowed the group to dominate news coverage for the critical month of August, after which Kerry had permanently lost the veteran vote. And yes, again, by putting on the "I'm just as right-wing as the Republican incumbent is," that reduced progressive enthusiasm.

Vladimir Putin weakened Clinton and kept the contest close, plus which the Republican Party simply wasn't going to vote for a Democrat and even less for a woman. Clinton was ahead by a small, but steady margin right up until James Comey's last-minute intervention.

I completely support the Green New Deal and think much of the platform of Senator Sanders is very good. There's not much daylight between us on policy.

But very importantly, moderate Democrats did far better in their races in 2018 than progressive Democrats did. The popularity of AOC and The Squad has obscured this.
Moderate Democratic candidates were the big winners of swing congressional districts in the 2018 midterm elections, flipping most of the 28 key House districts from Republicans’ control and winning key gubernatorial races, including Michigan, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Illinois. Democrats’ net gain in the House was 26 seats.