The Democrats Are Not Divided

Predictably, there are headlines today that declare Democrats are divided. For example, there’s a headline at the Los Angeles Times declaring that “Biden Is Stuck With a Divided Party.” The article is behind a paywall, unfortunately. But in fact I’ve never seen the Democrats so united as they were yesterday. lt’s not party division we’re seeing, but sabotage on the part of two outliers. The party itself is unified, for a change.

And there is the usually blaming of “the Left.” Ruy Teixeira published something under the headline How Not to Build a Coalition: The Left’s Theory of the Case Falls Apart in which he said “Biden has repeatedly tried to mollify the left, especially the House’s Progressive Caucus, as he desperately tried to craft a successful legislative agenda.” Excuse me? It was the Progressive Caucus that supported Biden’s agenda and worked their butts off for it. It was a small group of Clinton-era “New Democrat” holdovers who refused to read the memo.

(Ruy Teixeira is one of the guys who promised us An Emerging Democratic Majority back in 2002. We’re still waiting.)

And the Progressives were right that the only hope Dems had for passing the Build Back Better bill was by keeping it tied to the infrastructure bill. The progressives eventually accepted everyone’s assurance that Lucy would not jerk the football away this time, and let infrastructure pass. And then the Build Back Better bill was dead. (See also Paul Waldman, Stop Blaming the Left for Biden’s Problems.)

Paul Waldman thinks the Democrats, along with hitting bottom, may also have reached a turning point. “It was absolutely a defeat, for Biden, for his party, and most of all for voters,” he wrote. “But it also represented a significant shift within the Democratic Party. That’s because every single Democrat apart from Manchin and Sinema supported setting aside the filibuster.”

Democrats are no longer waiting for Republicans to come to their senses, says Waldman. They now know that’s not going to happen. Even Joe Biden, Mr. Reach Across the Aisle himself, knows this. Waldman:

At his Wednesday news conference, President Biden was asked whether he had over-promised and what he planned to change in the remainder of his term. In response, he said, “I did not anticipate that there’d be such a stalwart effort to make sure that the most important thing was that President Biden didn’t get anything done.”

And he added: “Name me one thing they’re for.” And the answer is, defeating Democrats. That’s it. Remember that they didn’t even bother to write a new platform in 2020? That was a clue, Joe. What they want is to “own the libs.” They haven’t planned any further.

We might complain that President Biden really should have noticed this sooner. He ran for President in 2020 as if there were still reasonable Republicans left, somewhere. I don’t know if that was just campaign talk or whether Biden really believed it, of course. But he knows now that there aren’t.

Added to the absolutely terrible news coverage of yesterdays debates and votes and of the President’s news conference — and by “terrible” I mean the coverage bears little resemblance to what really happened — the Republicans will pay no penalties for the wrecking ball they are taking to democracy. These are dark times.

But if the Democrats are finally pissed off enough, and discouraged enough, to fight for a change, we may see an energized party.

Breaking news: CNN is reporting that Trump campaign officials, led by Rudy Giuliani, oversaw fake electors plot in 7 states. Rachel Maddow has been pushing this story for a few days.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution — Fulton DA requests special grand jury for Trump probe

The Guardian — Trump held secret meetings in days before Capitol attack, ex-press secretary tells panel