Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Two and a Half Parties: Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party's Dilemma

Why don’t the House Democrats impeach Donald Trump? Why didn’t they oppose the blank check supplemental appropriations bill (S.811, H.R.2157) for Homeland Security and its concentration camps? Why aren’t the Democrats doing, well, anything?

We know about the appropriations bill, because Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told us. “Because the Problem Solvers Caucus said, ‘We have enough votes to kill the House amendments.’ And they held. These 40 members led by Representative Gottheimer that worked with Republicans to say we’re going to pass the McConnell bill and so they handed over the Democratic Party.” (Link.)

There’s a lot of blaming of the Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. I think this is misdirected, and this is why:

Over time, as the Republicans have become more fascist, the Democratic right has become the refuge for conservatives who are not full-on fascists. The United States now has two-and-a-half parties: the Republican Party, which is fascist, the right of the Democratic Party, which is conservative, and the left of the Democratic Party, which is liberal and sometimes socialist. As I wrote nearly 10 years ago, the two wings of the Democratic Party exist in an uneasy alliance. Pelosi is having difficulty holding her coalition together. Should the Democrats initiate impeachment proceedings, the Problem Solvers Caucus would likely prevent the House from actually impeaching Trump, and then where would the party be? In this light, Pelosi’s blast directed at the four Democratic Representatives who voted against the supplemental funding bill becomes understandable; she is frustrated that she cannot maintain discipline within her caucus.

I am frustrated, too. I understand that inaction and working to defeat Trump in the next election seems to best thing which can be managed. I doubt any other Democratic Speaker could do better than Pelosi at reconciling the Party’s two wings in the House. At the same time, Democratic voters want to see bold action from the Party, and inaction appears as cowardice. Can a course to victory be charted?

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