Are the Democrats going to be stupid enough to sabotage their own president over ideological differences amongst themselves? Are they so bad at politics that they will destroy the legacy of the Biden Administration and hand over the majority in the House and Senate to Trump-loyal Republicans in the 2022 mid-terms?
One saboteur, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin is experiencing a steady decline in his approval rating. Newsweek reports that Manchin’s ratings have dropped from 49% to 44%, a slide which began in 2019 when he came out against the voting rights bill For The People’s Act. He continues to be one of two Democratic Senators opposing President Biden’s $3.5 trillion dollar “human infrastructure” agenda which includes: expanding the child tax credits; establishing paid family and medical leave; funding universal preschool and free community college; and further action on climate change.” (Vox, Aug.10, 2021). Biden’s attempt to expand these social programs would have an enormous positive affect on the lives of millions of lower and middle income Americans. Vox further reports “this bill would add up to the biggest expansion of social welfare programs since former President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, which included Medicare and Medicaid, in the 1960s.”
Senator Kyrsten Sinema is the other Democratic Senator blocking the agenda of her own party’s president. She likes to publicly tout bipartisanship, as if she is blind and dumb to the reality that her current Republican colleagues reject anything the Democrats support. Is she deaf to Senator Mitch McConnell’s commitment to obstructionism and his silent enabling of “the big lie?” Or was she too busy collecting big donations from banks and third party collection agencies after she voted with Republicans not to raise the minimum wage to $15.00?
Sinema and Manchin have eliminated the likelihood that Democrats will pass legislation focused on the desperately needed social programs that Republicans never include as priorities in their platforms. When was the last time we heard a Republican leader mention “lifting the poor out of poverty” or “providing federal funding for childcare to facilitate women’s ability to return to the workforce?” In contrast, over-funding the military, providing tax cuts for the rich, and demonizing Democrats is the strategy of the current degraded Republican party. Manchin and Sinema are choosing the party’s ideology that is attacking the values and principles at the core of The Democratic party. The party’s progressive wing is also contributing to the potential failure of Biden’s presidency by publically threatening not to support the infrastructure bill if they don’t get everything they want.
In the past, when it has supported their agendas, the shamelessly hypocritical Republicans have joined together to modify the filibuster, appoint a Supreme Court Justice close to a presidential election, use the reconciliation process, and raise the debt ceiling. Democrats don’t join together in their commitment to shared values and policies. They keep pursuing bipartisanship and thus weakening their power even when they hold the majority. This week the hope is Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority leader Chuck Schumer, and President Biden will convince the dissenting Democrats that if we don’t stay united, Trump might slip back into the White House surrounded by Qanon members and Russians.