Whereof One Can Speak 🇺🇦

Nothing special, one post at a time since 2012

A Plan To Increase Majority Rule

Most bills introduced in Congress never make it out of committee, let alone receive a vote on the House or Senate floor. But even when a member of Congress knows their bill is doomed, they can still have a good reason for introducing it. For one thing, it can identify a problem and let people know how to fix it. 

Earlier this week, Rep. Sean Casten, a Democrat who represents the 6th district of Illinois southwest of Chicago, submitted two bills as part of what he called “A Common Sense Vision for American Democracy”. As part of the same package, he proposed a resolution suggesting an amendment to the Constitution.

He gave a very good speech explaining why he did this. He argued that the principal reason Congress rarely accomplishes anything important, even when it’s something favored by most voters, is that minority rule is built into our system of government. It’s a rather obvious point, but worth repeating: if majority rule was a bigger feature of our government, it would be easier for our government to do things the majority of us want our government to do.

I recommend reading or watching Rep. Casten’s whole speech (although he attributes a point of view to his Republican colleagues that they don’t share). Here’s some of it:

People say: Why is it that people in this institution are failing to do things that are overwhelmingly popular?

When we see those little polls that say Congress has a 20 percent approval rating, that should be a red light that we got to fix things…. If we are going to do that, we have to first acknowledge some unpleasant, if self-evident, truths.

First of all, … our Founders actually weren’t perfect. They weren’t Moses. They weren’t Jesus. They were fallible people just like us….

The second thing we got to acknowledge is that our Founders didn’t actually think the Constitution was perfect….

The third thing, and this is the one that I think is most important for us here today, is that our Founders did not understand democracy nearly as well as we do…. They were an amazing group of people. They did an amazing thing, but we have 233 years of wisdom that they did not have….

What’s clear, the answer to that question, ‘‘why is it that we can’t do things that the majority of the American people want?’’ is in large part because while our Founders paid lip service to democracy … they didn’t trust that people in a fully democratic society could elect a President, so they created the Electoral College. They created the Senate expressly to frustrate the will of the majority….

When it was founded, the biggest state had 10 times the population of the smallest state. Today, it is up to almost 70. So, we have massively disenfranchised huge numbers of … people because of a structure that was designed to disenfranchise large, but not as big, numbers of people.

We kick a bill out of here, you can get 50 votes in the Senate with people representing 17 percent of the United States population.

When our voters ask us why we can’t get things done that are supported by the will of the majority, it is built into our system.

And then finally, our Founders created the Supreme Court with largely no checks and balances — lifetime appointments, no ethics obligations….

Remember, Marbury v. Madison that significantly expanded the power of the Court relative to the legislative branch came after the Constitution was signed. This is a different structure than what they contemplated, and effectively gave the Supreme Court not the ability to write laws but darn close to it, because you get one Supreme Court Justice that flips the majority, and all of a sudden, you can say that our work here, all the good work we put in [in Congress], is unconstitutional and overturned …That is not majoritarian….

In a healthy democracy, we should all be competing for that mythical center of the electorate. We shouldn’t be sitting there and saying: I have a 20-year plan to stack the Court with Justices who will agree with me to overturn the will of the American people.

We shouldn’t be sitting there saying: Well, I can control the Senate if I just find a couple of senate seats in a couple of low-population states with cheap TV markets….

We will be healthier, both of our parties, if we commit ourselves to the idea, as Jefferson said, that if we are not representing the will of the majority, because no form of government ever consistently does, let’s fix it so that we do, which brings me to the three bills we introduced today.

The first bill is a constitutional amendment to add 12 national at-large Senators….Imagine what would happen if 10 percent of the Senate had an interest in representing the will of the American people….It would make it that much harder for them to filibuster a good bill that comes out of here because why would you filibuster something that is supported by the majority of the American people?

It would also, by adding 12 senators, add 12 more electors [to the Electoral College] who represented the popular vote. That would reduce the number of scenarios where we could have the popular vote winner lose an election to the electoral vote winner. That is the first bill.

The second one is to expand this House, and in the next Census, 2030, say let’s go out and look at the smallest State in the Union and say the size of that State is going to set the size of a congressional district, because if we are the House of Representatives, we should make sure that all of us represent as close as we can the same number of people.

The House hasn’t grown since 1911. The population of the United States has grown three and a half times since 1911…. So let’s expand the House and make us more representative. If we did that based on the last Census, that would add something like 130 seats to this House [e.g. California would have 67 representatives instead of 52; Florida would have 37 instead of 28].

Again, that would add more votes to the Electoral College. It would make [presidential elections] more representative.

And then the third bill … is to restore the Supreme Court to their Article III responsibilities….Article III of the Constitution lays out the scope of the Supreme Court. It says that they are responsible for matters of admiralty law, maritime law, matters relating to ambassadors, disputes between the States, and appellate jurisdictions the Congress may see fit to provide from time to time.

If we have a Court that is consistently not fulfilling the will of the American people, if we have a Court that is consistently encroaching on our power here in this Chamber, overturning our judgments and what we do, it is in our power to … reduce their appellate jurisdiction…. If the courts are going to say that a law we passed is unconstitutional, we will select from a pool of circuit court judges, appellate court judges, at random, and it will take at least 70 percent of them to overturn a bill…It takes two-thirds for us to overturn a veto, right? Let’s hold them to the same standard….

Also, it would eliminate the shadow docket. Why do we allow ourselves to live in a world where the Supreme Court can just decide to rule on something and not even explain it? Let’s get rid of the shadow docket.

I am not perfect. You aren’t perfect, Mr. Speaker. None of us in this room are perfect. Our Founders weren’t perfect, but we are perfectible, and we have a job that affords us the opportunity and the responsibility to make our government a little bit better, a little bit more responsive, a little bit more democratic.

Unquote.

It may take a long time to do the kind of things Rep. Casten (and others) want to do. It may never happen. But more of us should understand why the president, Congress and the Supreme Court aren’t as representative as they should be. Maybe more of us will vote for politicians who want more majority rule. Maybe one day somebody we vote for will do something about it.

Next time, however, I’ll offer a corrective to Rep. Casten’s speech. He may have been giving his Republican colleagues the benefit of the doubt, but he claimed they believe in something they really don’t.

Something Very Smart About the Stupid Debt Ceiling

Is it mere coincidence that one of the most sensible newspaper columnists working today, Paul Waldman of The Washington Post, almost always expresses opinions I agree with? No, I think not!

Anyway, his column today is so sensible it should be memorized by everybody in Congress and the Biden administration. It deals with the debt ceiling, the idiotic requirement that Congress has to have a new vote whenever the federal government needs to borrow more money to pay for things Congress previously decided to do.

Congress has always acted when called upon to raise the debt limit. Since 1960, Congress has acted 78 separate times to permanently raise, temporarily extend, or revise the definition of the debt limit – 49 times under Republican presidents and 29 times under Democratic presidents [US Treasury].

Congress raised the debt limit three times the last time we had a Republican president (you remember him, the orange one). Now that we have a Democratic president, Republicans are threatening to vote against raising it. That would mean the US government would be unable to make payments it’s legally required to do — for the first time in American history. Nobody knows what would happen then. Almost everybody with a brain thinks it would be a crisis, possibly a disaster, and certainly not something it would be cool to try (unless maybe you think the 2008 financial crisis was worth repeating).

Okay, back to the insightful Paul Waldman:

Even as they try to force a debt ceiling crisis, Republicans insist that they’re the reasonable ones. They just want a fair resolution to this disagreement about whether we should create a needless economic cataclysm by throwing the U.S. government into default. Why won’t the White House negotiate with them?

The White House has flatly rejected the suggestion, saying it simply will not negotiate over whether to default on America’s debts, no ifs, ands or buts. But here’s another idea: If we’re going to have negotiations, let’s make them real. Instead of countering Republicans’ anti-government agenda with a demand to maintain the status quo, Democrats ought to up the ante and insist on their own pro-government agenda.

If you knew nothing about this subject, it might sound like the president is being recalcitrant and Republicans are being sensible. “Let’s sit down together,” says House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). “Nobody should be taking the position that we should not negotiate,” says Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.). Even Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) says Democrats “have to negotiate.”

But we’re thinking about “negotiations” all wrong.

The problem begins with the current stance of the two parties. The White House’s position is essentially to maintain the status quo: Congress has appropriated the funds already, and those bills should be paid, which means borrowing the money to cover them. We can argue about how much of the cumulative debt is the responsibility of each party (they’ve both contributed) or how hypocritical Republicans are for pretending to care about debt only when there’s a Democrat in the White House (very). But the administration insists there must be a debt limit increase with no change to current policy.

Republicans, on the other hand, are fantasizing about all the savage cuts they’d like to make to domestic spending, up to and including slashing Social Security and Medicare. So if a negotiation produces a compromise, it would mean more spending cuts than Democrats want but fewer than Republicans seek. Which would still be a victory for the [bad guys].

Instead, Democrats are perfectly free to say the following: With their demand for across-the-board domestic spending reductions, Republicans are in effect proposing cuts to education, health care, economic development, clean energy, infrastructure, enforcement of environmental laws and a great deal more. So here are some of our demands:

  • A significant tax increase on the wealthy
  • An increase in the minimum wage, including indexing it to inflation
  • A national paid family leave program
  • A program to extend the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid to the states that have refused to accept it
  • Universal pre-K
  • A permanent expansion of the child tax credit

That could be just the start. Republicans want to negotiate? Then let’s negotiate! Democrats will be willing to take half a loaf on some of these items; for instance, they might be able to accept only a modest tax increase for the wealthy, or an increase of the minimum wage to only $11 an hour rather than $15. That seems reasonable, doesn’t it?

Think about it this way and it’s clear how odd it is that we’re even calling the GOP demand a negotiation. The choices are (1) give Republicans all of what they want, or (2) give Republicans only some of what they want, with the hope that if the outcome is No. 2, then they’ll be kind enough not to shove the U.S. economy off a cliff.

To be clear, the White House is right that there shouldn’t be any negotiations at all. You don’t negotiate with extortionists, and what Republicans are threatening is economic extortion. It shouldn’t be rewarded.

In fact, the White House ought to go further: The president should announce that in the White House’s view, the debt ceiling violates the 14th Amendment, and because it would be unconstitutional for the United States not to make good on its debts, the Treasury Department will ignore it and continue to pay the government’s bills. If Republicans want to file suit and demand that the Supreme Court allow them to destroy the country’s economy, they’re free to try.

But refraining from destroying the economy shouldn’t be considered a favor Republicans do for Democrats, such that the Democrats have to respond by granting Republicans concessions in return. If they want to have a real negotiation in which both sides get some of what they want, then fine.

That’s the only thing that should be treated as an actual negotiation. Otherwise, Biden should simply take care of the problem in the most expeditious way possible.

Getting Politics Wrong

Politics is generally more complicated than the ideas people have about it. Paul Waldman of The Washington Post has a column today called “Six things people believe about politics that are totally wrong”. I wouldn’t go that far, so I’ve added a few comments in italics. 

Like many billionaires, Elon Musk apparently sees himself as a genius not only in areas where he has real experience but in all things, including politics and government. Which is why he tweeted this about the omnibus spending bill Congress passed last month:

Untitled

This is a common type of misinformation, one that swirled about with particular intensity regarding the omnibus bill. Not that Musk doesn’t believe it; I’m sure he does. His tweet shows how easy it is to be seduced by ideas that have intuitive appeal but are completely wrong.

Let’s begin with Musk’s assertion and work our way through some other widespread but pernicious ideas about how politics works:

1

“If members of Congress read bills before voting on them, legislation would be better.”

How could anyone oppose that? But the truth is that most legislators usually don’t read the text — and that’s fine. It isn’t because they’re lazy. It’s because legislation involves a specialized type of language, written by experts for purposes that have nothing to do with understanding and wise decision-making. Members should know exactly what they’re voting on, but the text of bills is only tangentially related to that goal.

The omnibus bill runs more than 4,000 pages, because it’s funding our extraordinarily complex government, which does all kinds of things we want it to do, and it is written in arcane legislative language. I don’t care much whether my senators pored over the section on rural electrification and telecommunication loans that specifies this:

For the cost of direct loans as authorized by section 305(d)(2) of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 (7 U.S.C. 935(d)(2)), including the cost of modifying loans, as defined in section 502 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, cost of money rural telecommunications loans, $3,726,000.

Neither should you. It’s enough that they’ve been told, and are okay with, about $10 billion being spent in that particular section.

Except that legislators often don’t know exactly what they’re voting on, for a variety of reasons. They rely on their staffs and lobbyists to tell them what’s in a bill; they wait for Congressional leaders to tell them how to vote; and the legislative process is often too complicated and disorganized.

2

“If only we stopped wasteful spending, we’d solve most of our problems.”

Waste is bad, after all. And there is plenty of waste in government, just as there’s waste in pretty much every corporation and nonprofit organization everywhere.

But when someone rails against wasteful spending, they seldom specify exactly which spending is supposedly wasteful.

If you press them, they’ll probably cite either spending that’s utterly trivial — some silly-sounding program that spent a few hundred thousand dollars somewhere — or spending that is quite important but they don’t happen to like. Some people think Medicaid is “wasteful,” but the tens of millions of Americans who count on it likely disagree.

As a corollary, some assert that stopping spending will tame inflation. “The ONLY way to stop soaring inflation is to STOP RECKLESS SPENDING,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) tweeted last month. Sounds reasonable, right? But inflation is declining, not soaring, and while the level of government spending can contribute to inflation, lots of other factors affect it too: interest rates, the resilience of supply chains and the weather, to name a few.

The truth is that people such as Scott who rail against “wasteful spending” want to spend on some things, but not others. The omnibus bill contained a staggering $858 billion for the Pentagon. At the current rate of growth, we’ll spend more than $10 trillion on the military over the next decade. Ask Republicans whether we should cut that to tackle inflation and see what they say.

Nevertheless, there is wasteful spending that isn’t trivial at all and that deserves more scrutiny. Consider what Charles Pierce of Esquire has written about the F-35 fighter plane, production of which is ten years behind schedule:

This turkey is nowhere near the national disgrace it deserves to be. It simply does not work, which has not stopped the U.S. defense industry from peddling it around the globe…..There was a time when its ejector seats decapitated the crash-test dummies. There was that other time when it could not fly in a thunderstorm because its fuel tanks would explode if struck by lightning. [A] General Accounting Office report was completely merciless. It opened a window into the Alice In Wonderland world of the defense budget.

3

“My family balances its budget. Why shouldn’t the government?”

The reason is that the government is not a family or a household. For instance, when times are tough, deficits do, and should, go up. That’s because the government brings in less revenue and has to do more to help people. If the government slashed spending during every recession to balance the budget, it would only make things worse.

Your family also probably borrows money to invest in important long-term projects that cost too much money to pay cash up front — like your home or your education. So should government.

Yet the government also borrows for short-term operations. And when times are good, balancing the budget and even running a surplus would make sense. The Clinton administration did it four years in a row, the only four years it’s happened since 1970 [Wikipedia].

4

“Government should be run like a business.”

But government isn’t a business. It’s not an enterprise devoted to obtaining profits. It does many things that cost money but don’t produce a financial return, like delivering mail to far-flung rural addresses or caring for the sick.

Or building fleets of fighter aircraft. This commonplace wisdom really is totally wrong.

5

“The parties need to stop the partisan squabbling and get things done.”

This is an incredibly common idea, one driven by the presumption that political differences are meaningless. But especially in our polarized age, political differences are incredibly meaningful.

Partisans “squabble” over questions such as whether abortion should be legal, whether taxes for the wealthy should go up or down, what to do about climate change, whether to extend health coverage to more people and whether workers deserve higher pay, to name just a few.

There aren’t nonpartisan answers to these questions just waiting to be seized if people would put aside party loyalties. Those loyalties are driven by deeply held values, and, a lot of the time, conservative and liberal values aren’t compatible.

Although too often, politicians squabble in order to score political points. In recent years, it’s been Republican politicians making the most trouble, in order to rile up their supporters and get on Fox News.

6

“We need more people in Congress who aren’t politicians.”

You hear this often from first-time candidates, who present their lack of qualifications as their key qualification. Yes, politicians are prey to some bad tendencies — self-aggrandizement, cravenness, short-term thinking — but just as you wouldn’t hire an accountant to rewire your house or an electrician to do your taxes, you need people who understand politics and policy to deal with political and policy questions.

A grain of truth here is that Congress would benefit from having more “statesmen”, members more dedicated to the public good than keeping their jobs. Mr. Waldman could have added “self-preservation” to his list of negatives.

To return to the omnibus spending bill, none of this means there aren’t objectionable things in the bill. There are. But they didn’t get there because members didn’t read the bill, or because anyone was being “reckless,” or because of a deficit of common sense. They were choices, some of which you might like and some of which you won’t. That’s how policymaking works.

How To Fix a Lawless Supreme Court

The Judiciary Act of 1869 “provided that the Supreme Court of the United States would consist of the chief justice of the United States and eight associate justices [and] established separate judgeships for the U.S. circuit courts”.

There were nine circuit or appellate courts in 1869. The US population was around 38 million. Now there are thirteen circuits. The population is 338 million. We’ve also got a lot more laws and lawyers. A simple act of Congress, signed into law by the president, could add four justices to the Supreme Court, one for each circuit. Given the Court’s additional workload, simple arithmetic and common sense support adding four Supreme Court justices.

An added benefit would be that the president could nominate and the Senate could approve four justices who respect the Constitution and legal precedents; who don’t want to promote Christianity, patriarchy, white supremacy, plutocracy and the gun culture; and who don’t want to give corporations license to destroy the environment. In other words, seven honorable justices vs. the six dishonorable ones we have now.

I think that’s the best way to fix a lawless Supreme Court, although there are other possibilities (all, of course, assuming a Democratic House of Representatives and at least fifty Democratic senators go along).

Paul Waldman explains how states like California and New York are already working on new licensing requirements and the wide-ranging designation of what the Republican majority called “sensitive places” where guns can be prohibited:

[When you say] “the Supreme Court says I have the right to carry around this lethal instrument giving me the ability to murder anyone I encounter in an instant”, the rest of us are more than justified in responding: “Yes, that’s what the Supreme Court says. But we will take steps to protect ourselves from the danger you and other gun owners pose”….You’ll be able to get your guns, but just as you have to show you can operate a motor vehicle safely before getting a driver’s license, you’ll have to satisfy some requirements before getting a gun permit.

And just like you can’t drive your car on sidewalks or in grocery stores, you can’t take your gun anywhere you want. No doubt the Supreme Court Six will rule in favor of insanity, but, as Mr. Waldman says, some laws will survive, the legal process could take years and, meanwhile, lives will be saved.

Jamelle Bouie has written two columns on the same subject this week. From his second:

[Article 3, section 2 of] the Constitution tells us that the court’s appellate jurisdiction is subject to “such Exceptions” and “under such Regulations” as “the Congress shall make.” [But] the court’s appellate jurisdiction accounts for virtually everything it touches. And the Constitution says that Congress can regulate the nature of that jurisdiction. Congress can strip the court of its ability to hear certain cases, or it can mandate new rules for how the court decides cases where it has appellate jurisdiction.… It can even tell the court that it needs a supermajority of justices to declare a federal law or previous decision unconstitutional.

He then discusses the “Guarantee Clause” (Article 4, section 4″, which says that “the United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government”. A republic is generally considered to be a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, not by a monarch. Interestingly, courts have been reluctant to specify exactly what a republican form of government is, leaving that decision to Congress. Mr. Bouie continues:

[But we do have] Justice John Marshall Harlan’s famous dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson, in which he condemns “sinister legislation” passed to “interfere with the full enjoyment of the blessings of freedom, to regulate civil rights, common to all citizens, … and to place in a condition of legal inferiority a large body of American citizens, now constituting a part of the political community.”

This, he writes, “is inconsistent with the guarantee given by the Constitution to each State of a republican form of government, and may be stricken down by congressional action, or by the courts in the discharge of their solemn duty to maintain the supreme law of the land.”

A Congress that wanted to could, in theory, use the Guarantee Clause to defend the basic rights of citizens against overbearing and tyrannical state governments. It’s been done before. After the Civil War, Radical Republicans in Congress found their constitutional power to reconstruct the South chiefly in the Guarantee Clause, which they used to protect the rights of Black Americans from revanchist state governments.

 As Mr. Bouie says in his first column:

The Supreme Court does not exist above the constitutional system… In the face of a reckless, reactionary and power-hungry court, Congress has options….The power to check the Supreme Court is there, in the Constitution. The task now is to seize it.

It’s almost impossible to imagine the 50 Democrats in today’s Senate all having the courage and understanding to seize the moment and reform the Supreme Court (one of them who’s against reforming the filibuster is rumored to have killed a proposed surtax on incomes over 10 million dollars, I suppose because of her support for the working class).

But it looks like a terrible crisis may be approaching. Three law professors write in today’s Washington Post about a case the Court has agreed to hear later this year, Moore v. Harper:

Just three years ago, a 5-to-4 Supreme Court prohibited federal courts from addressing whether extreme partisan gerrymandering violates the Constitution. But don’t worry, the court said, state courts can curb the practice if they conclude it violates state constitutions.

Harper invites the Supreme Court to go back on that promise. This invitation is based on an unsupportable legal claim known as the independent state legislature theory (ISLT). The theory would disable state courts from protecting voting rights in federal elections.

In theory (and given the recklessness of the Republican majority), the Court might rule that state legislatures have absolute authority to determine how their states vote for president. State legislators could ignore the voters and appoint whoever they wanted to represent their state in the Electoral College.

The outcome in 2024 is a virtual clone of the 2020 election: Biden carries the same states he did that year and DeSantis gets [the rest]. Biden is going to the White House for another four years.

Until the announcement comes out of Georgia. Although Biden won the popular vote in Georgia, their legislature decided it can overrule the popular vote and just awarded the state’s 16 electoral votes to DeSantis.

We then hear from five other states with Republican-controlled legislatures where Biden won the majority of the vote: North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona.

CNN announces that DeSantis has won the election…. 

What Democrats Could Do

Lots of people are giving Congressional Democrats advice. One such person is Perry Bacon. He writes for The Washington Post. Here’s his suggestion (with commentary from me):

The Republican Party isn’t fit to lead, and most voters know it — that’s why Joe Biden won the presidency. But all those 2020 Biden voters shouldn’t be expected to turn out for two more years of Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) blocking most legislation in the Senate, sometimes joined by moderate Democrats in the House….

Democrats should level with voters. . . . There was never really a Democratic “trifecta,” because Manchin and Sinema are more independents than they are Democrats.

They should be clear about the solution: a Senate with at least 52 Democrats and a House with at least 218 Democrats [they would actually need more than 218, since that would give every Democrat in the House veto power, just like Manchin and Sinema have had in the Senate for the past two years]. If they get that, they can say, they will pass a specific agenda, something like this:
  1. Eliminate the filibuster.
  2. A national law guaranteeing a right to an abortion in the first trimester and in all cases of rape and incest.
  3. A democracy reform law mandating independent commissions to draw state and congressional districts lines free of gerrymandering; vote-by-mail and two weeks of early voting; proportional representation through multi-member congressional districts; and measures to prevent election subversion.
  4. ban on the sale of military-style weapons such as AR-15 rifles and high-capacity magazines, along with universal background checks for gun sales.
  5. A minimum income tax of at least 20 percent on billionaires.
  6. A ban on members of Congress buying individual stocks.
  7. National marijuana legalization.
  8. A climate change plan that puts the United States on a path to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
  9. A required civics and life-skills course for high school seniors, with the same curriculum throughout the country.
  10. Voluntary term limits of 12 years in Congress for all Democrats (six terms in the House, two in the Senate) [A better idea would be a voluntary retirement age, say 70 years — airline pilots have to retire at 65, some state judges have to retire at 70]
  11. What connects these ideas? First, many of them are already popular….

Second, they directly confront America’s biggest problem: the radicalized Republican Party and how our political system gives a small bloc of GOP voters, the party’s donors and its elected officials veto power over the preferences of most Americans, including many Republicans.

Third, they acknowledge this stark reality: The United States is experiencing a non-military, uncivil war that the Democrats must win.

The Republican agenda of expanding gun rights, narrowing voting rights and functionally abolishing abortion rights doesn’t seem coherent or logical until you view it as an agenda of White male Christian hegemony. Then it fits together perfectly. The Democrats must stop trying to duck the so-called culture wars and instead fight hard to win them. There is no middle ground between White male Christian hegemony and multiracial, multicultural social democracy — and the Democrats shouldn’t be shy about using their power to impose the latter, since it’s what a clear majority of Americans want.

[These proposals would be] an acknowledgement that America’s economic and political establishments have failed and need to be changed.

Unquote.

Mr. Bacon didn’t include any strictly economic proposals or any ideas for court reform, although he mentions “the proposal of legal writer Elie Mystal to create a 29-member high court” (others have suggested a smaller number, like 13 or 15). But it’s a pretty good list and would remind some voters what would be possible with more Democrats in Congress. 

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