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Sun Oct 7, 2018, 08:09 PM

Why this political scientist thinks the Democrats have to fight dirty

In September 2016, an anonymous conservative writer published an essay called “The Flight 93 Election.”

The title was a reference to the one hijacked flight on 9/11 that didn’t reach its destination because passengers overwhelmed the hijackers and brought the plane down.

The logic of the essay was simple enough: The prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency was so positively ruinous that conservatives had no choice but to support Donald Trump — no matter how awful or incompetent he appeared to be. The stakes were simply too high.

Until now, there was no left-wing equivalent to the “Flight 93” essay, no rallying cry that urged Democrats and liberals to do whatever is necessary to win. But David Faris’s new book, It’s Time to Fight Dirty, is the closest anyone has come so far.


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Reply Why this political scientist thinks the Democrats have to fight dirty (Original post)
Lunabell Oct 2018 OP
Snackshack Oct 2018 #1
elleng Oct 2018 #2

Response to Lunabell (Original post)

Sun Oct 7, 2018, 08:33 PM

1. Good article.

Hard to dispute the facts and logic of it rationally. The Democratic Party definitely needs to start doing full court press on all fronts. As the author states in the article Dems have won popular vote 6 of the last 7 elections and millions more Senatoial votes in the last two decades yet republicans have pretty much run the table since 2000. This has to change.

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Response to Lunabell (Original post)

Sun Oct 7, 2018, 11:41 PM

2. "The Republicans are behaving like a party that believes it will never be held accountable."

They sure as hell are.

*the Democratic Party must recognize that Republicans aren’t engaged in a policy fight; instead, they’re waging a “procedural war.”

What he means is that Republicans have spent the past two decades exploiting the vagueness of the Constitution to create structural advantages for their side — passing discriminatory voter ID laws, using the census to gerrymander districts, blocking Democratic Supreme Court nominees, and so on. . .

People just don’t seem to make the connection between policies and the party in power.

So, for example, the Democrats passed Obamacare and gave millions of people heath care, and yet tons of people who benefited from it have no idea what it is or how they benefited. And it’s like that with a lot of policies — voters simply don’t connect the dots, and so they reward or punish the wrong party.

I think the idea that we’re going to deliver these benefits to people and they’re going to be like, “Thank you Jesus, thank you for everything that you’ve done, let me return you with a larger majority next time,” is just nonsense. It’s the wrong way to think about politics.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do things for people, but we’ve got to be serious about how elections are won. And they’re not being won on the basis of policy proposals or policy wins. . .

The Constitution is a shockingly short document, and it turns out that it’s extremely vague on some key procedures that we rely on to help government function at a basic level. For the government to work, cooperation between parties is needed. But when that cooperation is withdrawn, it creates chaos.

Since the ’90s, when Newt Gingrich took over Congress, we’ve seen a one-sided escalation in which Republicans exploit the vagueness or lack of clarity in the Constitution in order to press their advantage in a variety of arenas — from voter ID laws to gerrymandering to behavioral norms in the Congress and Senate. . .

Sean Illing
What the Republicans did to Merrick Garland was one of the most egregious examples I’ve ever seen.

David Faris
Right. They essentially stole a seat on the Supreme Court — a swing seat, no less. But they correctly argued that they had no clear constitutional obligation to consider the president’s nominee for the seat. They didn’t violate the Constitution. They violated the spirit of the Constitution. They violated the norms that have allowed these institutions to function normally for years and years.

This is the sort of maneuvering and procedural warfare I’m talking about, and the Republicans have been escalating it for two decades. And they’ve managed to entrench their power through these dubious procedures.

The result is that the structural environment is biased against Democrats and the Republicans have engineered it that way. . .

David Faris
I think they should grant statehood to DC and Puerto Rico. Both states have held referenda that endorsed statehood. We have millions of Americans right now who have no representation in Congress.

To me, it’s just unquestionably the right thing to do. We should grant people the representation they want and deserve, and it just happens that doing so would almost certainly send four more Democrats into the Senate, and probably an all-Democratic congressional delegation from Puerto Rico too.

Sean Illing
You also think the Democrats should kill the filibuster, right?

David Faris
Yeah, I think they should eliminate the filibuster in the first month of the next Democratic administration, if it even survives that long. I think it’s another anti-democratic procedure in the Senate. We already have a constitutional framework that is deliberately difficult to work around to get policy change, and then you add a supermajority requirement in one of the two national legislatures? It’s just bananas. There’s no other country on the face of the earth that has a supermajority requirement to make routine legislation.

Sean Illing
You write, as well, that Democrats should start packing the courts with as many left-leaning judges as possible.

David Faris
The Constitution doesn’t say how many Supreme Court justices we should have, and we have not always had nine. Up until the mid-19th century, it was routine for the number of justices to change based on the whims of Congress, so it’s not unprecedented.

The way I look at it, Democrats have won the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections. I went back and added up all the votes for the US Senate since 1992, and Democrats have won 30 million more votes over that time period. I think the American people have pretty clearly expressed their desire to have Democrats staff the federal judiciary, and yet, due to the Republicans’ procedural tactics, they’ve not been able to do that.'>>>

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