Democrats used to win and here’s how they still can

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There’s a lot of heat and noise in our politics today.  But here’s what it reveals when you pull back the curtain six months away from the midterm elections.

Republicans have the upper hand to gain back the House and Senate majorities. President Biden’s approval rating is in the low 40’s and if that does not dramatically change the November election will be a referendum on him. 

High inflation, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a spike in crime, the crisis at the border and increasing rancor and division in the country have given pause to voters as they assess President Biden’s performance in office thus far.

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Democrats have failed to take full advantage that they control the presidency and the House and Senate. While the margins in the House and Senate are very slim, they have demonstrated neither the focus nor discipline to secure victories that were in front of them. 

Democrats used to win and here's how they still can

The months long ordeal where the moderate and progressive wings of the party squared off and wouldn’t compromise on the Build Back Better legislation left voters wondering if they cared more about their internal ideological games than they did addressing the fears and concerns of the American people.

Democrats used to win and here's how they still can

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., talk before President Joe Biden signs the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill into law during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. 
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Regardless of the outcome of the November elections, what’s clear is that our politics is broken. Major problems and challenges facing the country go unaddressed. 

Compromise is lost on today’s members of congress. They deem it a weakness, not an essential strength. 

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Ideological purity is more important than solving problems. Political party is more important than country. They ignore that America has been built on a canyon of compromises. 

There are many issues that have the strong support of the American people that sit collecting dust on the desk of Congress because neither party will compromise. 

Generations of legislators before them used compromise to strengthen and modernize the country.  The reason why former Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch’s recent passing was so lauded was because he deeply believed there is valor in compromise and making government work for all Americans. 

Democrats used to win and here's how they still can

Sadly, too many of today’s members of congress have forgotten or reject his example and spend their time trying to denigrate, marginalize and cancel each other out, rather than seek common ground.

So, one is left to ask: if either the Democrats or Republicans are in the congressional majority, what good is it if they don’t use the power to pass legislation to improve the lives of all Americans, not just some?

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Hard-working Americans feel betrayed by both parties. Republicans have little or no agenda, other than stoking the anger and frustration of voters. They attack the president for inflation, crime and the crisis at the border, all legitimate issues, but they offer no ideas or solutions to solve these problems. 

Democrats seem incapable of capitalizing on their congressional majority. The most recent example is Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who announced that he will bring a bill to the Senate floor to codify the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling, in anticipation it will be struck down. 

Democrats used to win and here's how they still can

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was sharply critical of the Supreme Court after a draft decision leaked showing the court plans to overturn Roe v. Wade
((AP Photo/Susan Walsh))

He doesn’t have the votes to pass it.  Instead of making a few changes to get the support of Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and claim a majority of senators support the bill, he won’t change the bill to get their votes.

Even in this partisan environment, recent public polling shows us there is a path forward. For instance:

*75 percent of voters are more likely to support a candidate who funds police.

*69 percent of voters are more likely to support a candidate expanding exploration of oil and gas.

*63 percent of voters are more likely to support a candidate who supports investing in infrastructure.

*62 percent of voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports lowering health care and prescription drug costs

Regretfully, only the infrastructure bill passed. Much more needs to be done.

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There’s no reason Congress can’t scale back the Build Back Better Bill to only include a child tax credit that will reduce child poverty by 40% and a provision to reduce prescription drug costs. There is widespread support for both in the country.

While they are at it, Congress should pass a crime bill that would end bail reform, provide funding to put more cops on the street, ban ghost guns and provide more mental health counselors to help cops on the beat deal with rampant crime among the homeless population.

Democrats used to win and here's how they still can

FILE – In this Nov. 2, 2020, file photo sunlight shines on the U.S. Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

To help pay for these programs, while at the same time confronting inflation and reducing our overall national debt, congress can eliminate the carried interest tax that allows private equity executives to pay absurdly low taxes. They should also increase annual taxes on billionaires by 1 percent.

We have always lived in a divided country, but there was previously a commitment to compromise that is lost on the political class today. Without it, we would not have the national highway system, the Hoover Dam, landed the first man on the moon, built the transcontinental railroad, enacted social security reform, immigration reform, campaign finance reform and the 1964 Civil rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act and so much more. 

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There are many issues that have the strong support of the American people that sit collecting dust on the desk of Congress because neither party will compromise.  The great Presidents Lincoln, Roosevelt, Johnson and Reagan all had to govern in a divided country and used compromise to move the country forward.

There are lessons here to be learned. It’s time that congress and the president worked together to deliver for the American people.

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