Democrats should launch an 'all-out effort to protect rights' if they keep their majorities: journalist

Democrats should launch an 'all-out effort to protect rights' if they keep their majorities: journalist

During a recent speech at a Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce gathering, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed confidence that Republicans will “flip” the U.S. House of Representatives in November but wasn’t nearly as bullish on Republicans’ prospects for winning back the U.S. Senate. Democratic strategists have been fearing a major red wave like the ones in 1994 and 2010, but recent polls have given them reason to believe that Republicans may not perform as well in the 2022 midterms as they feared — and that Democratic candidates may even flip some GOP-held seats in the Senate.

Liberal New York Times opinion writer Jamelle Bouie, in his August 26 column, points out that according to FiveThirtyEight, Republicans are still “heavily favored” to take back the House — which Democrats have a “one in five” chance of keeping. But Bouie offers some recommendations for Democrats should they manage to keep their majorities in both the Senate and the House in November.

“The national environment may have shifted away from the Republican Party,” Bouie writes. “There is a real chance, in other words, that Democrats could enter the next Congress with their majority intact — a major change from earlier this year, when it looked as if Republicans would ride a red wave to victory in November. And if Democrats get exceptionally lucky — if conditions break just the right way in their favor — then there’s a chance that they begin the new year with a larger majority in the Senate in addition to a majority in the House.”

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Bouie continues, “The question is: In the unlikely event that Democrats enter 2023 with a stronger majority (than) they’ve had the past two years, what should they do? There has been plenty of discussion about what Republicans should do with their putative majorities, but what should the Democrats do with theirs?”

The columnist goes on to recommend some things that Democrats will need to “prioritize” if they manage to keep their Senate and House majorities in November, including “an all-out effort to protect and secure the rights that are under assault by the Republican Party and its allies on the Supreme Court.”

“On social policy,” Bouie writes, “Democrats should fight to make a child allowance a permanent feature of the social safety net…. On the question of rights, there are three places where Democrats should act as quickly as possible. The first is abortion and reproductive health…. Passing abortion rights into federal law isn’t just the smart thing for Democrats to do, it is the right thing to do — the only way to show the public that the party is willing and able to live up to its rhetoric on reproductive freedom. You can say the same for the other two issue areas that Democrats must address if they somehow keep their majority: labor and voting rights.”

Bouie adds, “Both are under assault from right-wing judges and politicians, both need the protection of the federal government, and both are fundamental to the maintenance of a free and fair society. The Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which would strengthen the right of workers to form unions and bargain with their employers, is still on the table, as are proposals to revitalize the Voting Rights Act and end partisan gerrymandering.

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The columnist argues that if Democrats increase their Senate majority, they should “kill the legislative filibuster.”

“Otherwise, this agenda, or any other, is dead in the water,” Bouie writes. “If Democrats win a Senate majority of 51 or 52 members, they might be able to do it. And they should. It is not often that a political party gets a second bite at the apple. If Democrats win one, there is no reason to let the filibuster — a relic of the worst of our past — stand in the way of building a more decent country, and a more humane one at that.”

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