Blue Dogs Have More to Lose Than Progressives

News & Politics

Responding to the Progressive Block strategy, which was designed to put the Progressive Caucus on equal footing with Blue Dogs, Ezra Klein seems to conclude that Progressives can never have more influence than Blue Dogs. This is because Blue Dogs only have incentives to oppose must-pass Democratic legislation, while Progressives only have incentives to support it:

What, in other words, is the endgame of this strategy? The hope seems to be that Rahm Emanuel turns his attention to beating Blue Dogs, rather than liberals, into line. Maybe. But what makes people think that's possible? What's his actual leverage against vulnerable Democrats voting for initiatives their voters don't obviously support in districts Barack Obama didn't win at a time when the president is no longer popular?

There's no successful model for blunting the power of centrists to write -- or kill -- the final compromise.(...)

The outcome of this strategy, then, seems to be that the Democratic Party pretty much collapses into infighting and fails to pass its top priorities and loses a bunch of seats in the next election. The media explains that the liberal Nancy Pelosi and her liberal House Democrats caused the electoral disaster, or that Democrats couldn't agree on an agenda.(...)

But it's hard to imagine that liberals will ever beat the Blue Dogs at their own game. The likelier outcome is that everybody loses.

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