A Clinton Blank Check? Or a Sanders Blank Check?
Long-time Republican strategists and campaign consultants privately acknowledge they are so certain of Hillary Clinton’s victory – and so worried about its impact on Senate races and GOP control of the Senate – that they are already considering a controversial tactic that explicitly acknowledges Donald Trump’s defeat.
The tactic, used by congressional Republicans two decades ago, late in the 1996 campaign, involves running television ads that urge voters to elect a Republican Congress so that Clinton won’t have “a blank check” as president.
— When will GOP Senate campaigns throw Trump under the bus?, Stuart Rothenberg, Washington Post, today
The obvious Dem Senate and House candidates’ response would be, I would think:
Here’s what the Sanders congressional wing will propose: … Clinton will sign most of it. It’s not Clinton who, by voting for a Dem-controlled Congress, you’ll be giving a blank check.
Which is why Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are aggressively campaigning for a Dem Senate and a Dem House.
Enough said. I would think. (Well, okay, it would have to be said more subtly than that, since Clinton, after all, will be the presidential nominee. But that wouldn’t be hard to do.)*
It is, in other words, the specific policy proposals that matter.
*Parenthetical added 6/28 at 8:46 p.m.
If Republicans take that route then the first obvious counter is to argue that a party that is so incompetent as to nominate a candidate that it must abandon then it is hardly a party that can legislate competently.
Next, take a page from Harry Truman and run on the “do nothing” Congress that has been even worse for its obstructionism and general incompetence.
One might highlight legislation like the recent House bill funding a response to Zika that included an amendment to restore the ability to fly the Confederate flag in national cemeteries (because treason in defense of slavery is something we should honor and celebrate).
The one thing Bernie Sanders should push for with Clinton’s people is to make Elizabeth Warren a prominent surrogate (and no I don’t want her for VP because I think she is far too valuable in the Senate where she would have the ability to hold hearings and issue subpoenas as a committee chair).
Don’t get me wrong, Bernie can and should be an integral part of the campaign but he should push for Clinton to rely on a broad set of Progressive voices.
I agree with everything you say except the first suggestion, because I think it’s very possible to get some northerners who voted for Trump to vote for Dem Senate candidates. It’s critical, in my opinion, to highlight the proposals that Sanders and other progressives will propose in Congress, and also to highlight the Ryan proposals in order to illustrate that the Repubs are in the pocket of the Kochs and Wall Street.
And the games those people just played with the Zika funding is exactly the kind of thing they routinely get away with, because almost no one knows about it. The Dem congressional candidates really, really, really need to make this stuff known.
I agree with you completely about Warren. I think she will be much more powerful and also have a much greater voice as a senator than as VP.
Ultimately, what matters by far the most is simply educating the public about the Dems’ progresssive proposals and the Repubs’ regressive ones, and about the Repubs’ incessant gimmicky, game-playing tactics about really important things.
I think we generally agree if not in specific form then in substance generally.
I think the vast majority of the public’s eyes glaze over when a candidate gets too deep into the weeds on specific policy proposals. In many cases folks just don’t have the depth or background to grasp specifics. This isn’t meant entirely in a pejorative way, most people simply do not have the time to get deep into the specifics of more than one or two policy issues if that.
I do think a candidate can combine aspirational ideas with policy ideas and be very effective, in fact I think this is what Sanders was so good at. Democrats should strive to return some useful meaning to the word principle instead of allowing to serve as a stand in for self-indulgent obstructionism.
The object is to get people to think and question. One way to so this is to ask aspirational questions like, “What kind of a world do you want to live in?” and follow up by showing the consequences of specific policies.
I do think Clinton must counter Republican bullshit with policy oriented responses but a campaign is not the place to offer highly specific proposals – that’s a prescription of deflating your followers when the trade-offs that are a part of the legislative process come into play.
Your final paragraph hits the perfect note. The trick, and it isn’t easy, is to repeatedly demonstrate to people in places like coal country that the pain they feel, the economic hardships they experience are directly a result of Republican policies.
At this point my concern with Democratic strategy is that the Clinton campaign will be too insular and too controlling of resources. The Obama folks developed some pretty sophisticated metrics. Dems need to build on this and identify House districts they can bring into play and bring resources, and that is primarily face to face voter contact (let the Kochs and Karl Rove make ad producers and TV execs rich, most of that either has limited utility or quickly reaches a point of diminishing returns).
Clinton should run her campaign as an extension of Obama’s successes while Congressional Dems have to try and run as insurgents, adult insurgents who will return responsibility and accountability to the legislative process.
(And will someone please lock Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Chuck Shumer in a closet until after election day)
When democrat candidates run away from Hillary?
I am a PUMA, but none in my state are.
Obama used the red dogs well!
What does PUMA stand for?
You had it, then you lost it at the end with:
“It is, in other words, the specific policy proposals that matter.”
That is totally, 100% incorrect. Always has been, always will be.
Congress makes legislation.
Ya’ think if the Dems do not have 60 Senators and a majority in the House it matters at all whether a bill calls for a $15 minimum wage versus a $12 an hour minimum wage?
Of course it doesn’t.
Here is what Sanders should be doing full time, and should have been doing full time since Cal actually:
“Zephyr Teachout on Tuesday breezed to victory in the Democratic primary for New York’s 19th Congressional District, setting the stage for a November face-off against John Faso, a Republican and former member of the New York state Assembly….
In early June, Teachout held a commanding polling lead over Ivy League-educated farmer Will Yandik in the Democratic primary. Teachout is very popular with the progressive wing of the party, and is one of only a handful of House candidates whom Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has helped raise money for during his presidential campaign. Teachout has proved to be a fundraising juggernaut, raising more money in the first three months of her campaign than any other House candidate from either party in the state of New York. She relies heavily on small donors, with an average contribution of less than $50 in the first quarter of this year.”
There is your revolution. Not sitting around in a conference room arguing about “specific policy proposals” in a platform.
“It is, in other words, the specific policy proposals that matter.”
LORDDDY, EMichael. What makes you think that sentence refers to anything other than what Sanders and the other progressives in Congress propose? Not only is that what I’ve been saying here for, like, ever; it’s also exactly what I say in this very post. In fact, it’s the very point of this post.
Specifically, the Dems will win the WH and both houses of Congress if they make clear that, together, they will enact some verrry progressive legislation, much of it from Sanders’s campaign proposals.
PArty Unity My A$$
You just don’t know how to get the things you want.
“We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”
Ilsm, here is a group you may find of common interest http://www.rootsaction.org/.