Following the embarrassment of letting a poison pill Republican amendment to gun safety legislation pass, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has had success in getting her seminar under better control. After a stern lecture in which she told them to suck it up and stop helping Republican, fewer Democrat have been duped into supporting Republican “messaging” votes.
That doesn’t mean they’ve all gotten the message, however. Last Friday, the House passed its massive reform of voting, campaign finance, and ethics laws, H.R. 1. Six Democrats voted with Republicans on their motion to recommit–the procedural election that’s been causing so many headaches for leadership–that was patently anti-immigrant and voting rights bullshit. The Republican amendment said that “allowing illegal immigrants the right to vote devalues the franchise and decreases the voting power of United States citizens, ” reinforcing Republican lies about voter fraud. One of the six Democrat, Rep. Anthony Brindisi of New York, justified his referendum by saying, “I’m always going to vote how I think is in the best interest of my district. […] At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing to me, regardless of what anyone here on the floor tells me.” This referendum is entirely no significance to his district. He’s using the excuse that the old guard of Democratic leadership–Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn–have provided as a free pass to would-be Blue Dogs.
Hoyer was at it again, saying that “both sides of the aisle” have utilized motions to recommit as “gotcha amendments […] to use for political ads.” He reiterated, however, that “Democrats want to honor the rights of the minority.” The difference being that Republicans aren’t deluded enough to think that they can avoid having mean campaign ads operated against them if they vote with Democrats enough on these strictly procedural bills. Hoyer has been perpetuating that notion among the more vulnerable Democrat, devoting them an unnecessary pass to vote with Republicans on these messaging bills. He’s couching it as bipartisanship even now.
There’s hope, though. For instance, freshman Rep. Max Rose, who has regrettably voted for Republican MTRs, has seen the error of his ways. In rebutting the MTR on H.R. 1, Rose called it out as a “joke.” He told Democrats, “This is a political effort to divide us, to sow hatred, and it’s a game.” He told Republican, “If this is your strategy to win future elections, we wish you godspeed because it will never work.”
That’s the message that needs to be drummed into all Democrats’ heads. It’s a stupid game, and playing it doesn’t help anyone but Republicans.
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