Politics Magazine

Senate Democrats Ready To Play Hardball Politics

Posted on the 28 March 2014 by Jobsanger
Senate Democrats Ready To Play Hardball Politics (This caricature of the major political party symbols is by DonkeyHotey.)
It looks like I may have underestimated Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada). While he (and the Senate Democrats) gave in to the Republicans far too many times during the early years of the Obama administration, it seems like he may have learned his lesson. He stood firm at the end of the last Congress, and was able to end the Bush tax cuts for the rich (and raise the capital gains tax from 15% to 20%). Then he refused to back down when the Republicans tried to shut down the government to repeal or defund Obamacare, and we watched as the GOP gave in and retreated in ignominious defeat.
Now Reid (and his Democratic cohorts in the Senate) are ready to play that same kind of political hardball with the 2014 election drawing closer. They want to make the Republicans go on record with their votes to support the untenable positions they have (positions opposed by a majority of American voters). The Democrats are going to force a vote on a series of issues like raising the minimum wage, closing the pay gap between the genders, lowering the interest rates on college loans, and closing the tax loopholes for corporations.
The beauty of this new strategy is that there's no way the Republicans can stop it. It really doesn't even matter if the Democrats can get those matters to the Senate floor for a real vote on them -- because a Republican vote to continue a filibuster and prevent the measure from getting to the Senate floor will be perceived by the public as a vote against the measure. All the Democrats have to do is hold a series of cloture votes (votes to end a filibuster and bring a measure up for a vote), and any vote by Republicans to continue to block the measure with a filibuster will be seen as a vote against the measure.
And hopefully, the Democrats won't stop with just one effort to invoke cloture on all these measures -- but will continue to do it over and over throughout the Spring and Summer. And the make sure the voters know just how the Republicans voted each and every time. If they do, they will effectively expose the Republicans for what they really are -- the party of the rich who have no interest in helping ordinary Americans.
This is exactly what the Democrats should have been doing all along. They have let the Republicans get away with blocking measures that would help hurting Americans while giving breaks to the rich and the corporations. It is time to make sure the American public knows how little the Republicans care about them -- and the best way to do that is to make the Republicans vote repeatedly against the measures most Americans support.

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