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How Biden Is Walking His Talk on Unity

Writer Nancy LeTourneau describes herself as “a pragmatic progressive who has been blogging about politics since 2007.” She writes at her blog, “Horizons” and also commentary on Twitter @Smartypants60. In the past, Nancy has written articles for the Washington Monthly.


How Biden Is Walking His Talk on Unity,” Horizons, Nancy LeTourneau, January 27, 2021,

There are roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States today. According to Pew Research, two thirds of them have been in this country for more than 10 years. 

Back in 2013, when Congress last considered passing comprehensive immigration reform, the CBO estimated that providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants would reduce the federal deficit by $197 billion in the first 10 years and an additional $700 billion in the second decade. Additionally, the Center for American Progress calculated that such reforms would increase the earnings of all American workers by $470 billion over 10 years, increase tax revenue by $109 billion over a decade, and create on average an additional 121,000 jobs per year. Finally, over the next three and a half decades, legalized immigrants would add a net of more than $606 billion to the Social Security system. 

When President Biden prioritizes immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, the arguments in favor of doing so aren’t simply about allowing over 11 million people to come out of the shadows. The economic benefits of doing so would redound to all of us. 

But even Republicans like Senator Marco Rubio, who once advocated for immigration reform, have already stated that they will not support Biden’s plan. 

Pelosi Challenging Outdated Norms

From Washington Monthly Nancy LeTourneau

On Wednesday some young climate activists joined by newly elected Alexandria Ocasio Cortez held a demonstration at Nancy Pelosi’s office. While we can debate whether it is a smart move to hold such an event at the office of a leader who is on your side as opposed to the myriad of Republican leaders who are climate deniers, Pelosi welcomed them with open arms.

Pelosi Nov 13, 2018

Deeply inspired by the young activists & advocates leading the way on confronting climate change. The climate crisis threatens the futures of communities nationwide, and I strongly support reinstating the select committee to address the crisis.

We welcome the presence of these activists, and we strongly urge the Capitol Police to allow them to continue to organize and participate in our democracy.

These types of actions are what makes Pelosi a great leader and is a wonderful example of how Democrats embrace grassroots activism and organizing.

As it happened on the same day some House Democrats were organizing against the election of Pelosi as the next Speaker of the House, there are those who mistakenly conflate the two developments. But the group challenging Pelosi’s leadership is completely different.

As Paul Krugman noted on twitter, this is a group that is “still in the old cringe position, buying into GOP demonization (which happens to any strong Democrat) despite a huge midterm victory.” Cringing at the GOP’s demonization is a tactic that too many Democrats embraced in the past and is what sent so many of them on a journey rightward in search of validation. In other words, it is a losing strategy undermining liberal values. The really superb Democratic candidates in the 2018 midterms completely rejected the approach and it is clear that Nancy Pelosi joins them.

The theme demonstrated by Nancy Pelosi and well articulated by Nancy LeToureau at WM? In her leadership role, Pelosi is challenging some of the old vestiges of power and strengthening the small “d” democratic processes in overall party. It should come as no surprise that these changes are being resisted as power shifts from top-down to bottom-up. But it’s important for all of us to be clear about exactly what’s happening and weigh in accordingly.