292 Comments

"But the fact of the matter is that the day Warnock and Ossoff won in Georgia, the art of the possible flipped from “what Mitch McConnell is willing to do” to “what Joe Manchin is willing to do,” and every hour of every day that was not spent in polite, friendly conversation aimed at making sure all his needs were met was a wasted hour."

I love this sentence, and I don't understand why democrats have spent so much time not doing this. Maybe legislating in DC is just a lot of different personalities with different levels of understanding of how things work, so it's all big and messy, or maybe legislators in DC just aren't good at legislating anymore.

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Superlike this observation! I tend to think it's the latter. Yuval Levin has made the point that elected office seems to have mutated from an institution serving the electorate to a platform for individuals, and I find that pretty persuasive.

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founding

There's a meme that first took root institutionally on the conservative side with the Goldwater campaign, that says that compromise is bad. You should be true to your values, loyal to the voters who sent you to Washington. Breaking with that in order to get stuff done is inauthentic. The same brainworm that drives Trumpist true believers to call Romney a RINO is now widespread among the kinds of people who call Manchin a DINO.

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Ugh why do people NEVER LEARN that you can't get anything done without a majority, even one of convenience? I am seriously stupefied by this. The math is not hard! Why would a group that wants policies implemented purposely alienate anyone who might possibly support them on a thing they want?

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Because this sentence was written without considering Sinema. Matt's whole argument here whistles past the fact that Sinema and Manchin want mutually exclusive things and if neither is willing to compromise, then nothing will get done. Manchin's current demands are similarly non-starters for Sinema, unless something has somehow changed for her. If we're being honest with ourselves, which Matt definitely isn't here, there's no way to look at the current situation and truly believe that Manchin wants anything to pass at all.

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Mar 29, 2022·edited Mar 29, 2022

Sinema wrote the prescription drug cost control mechanism in the House BBB; she supports climate spending; and she is seemingly supportive of tax increases (e.g. surcharges) that do not change the headline rates. I think Manchin's demands, when taken with Sinema's, can still yield a spending bill, if only leadership and progressives in Congress actually start legislating.

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I ... wut? Sinema is opposed to tax increases and not supportive of any of the increases Manchin is proposing as of February 22 of this year (last I read on it) and your second point is exactly wrong? She removed the prescription drug price controls from BBB and has shown no interest in re-adding them. What are you even writing about? Progressives and leadership are the only ones who are actually trying to pass anything here.

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fyi

tax increases: https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2021/12/24/manchin-sinema-biden-bbb/

$400b of climate spending: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/08/climate/arizona-senator-sinema.html

prescription drugs:

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/10/28/sinema-biden-prescription-drug-deal-517422

I'm pretty sure Sinema would've voted for the House BBB (which was a terrible bill, but that's a separate conversation) had Manchin not killed it. I agree she is more of a thorn than she should be given her "value over replacement."

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Matt's whole argument here does not apply to Sinema. Matt actually wrote a post on Simema (https://www.slowboring.com/p/sinema-menace), you might want to read it before accusing him of dishonesty. That said, the reason anything has passed is because both Manchin and Sinema have voted for it. That includes all the cabinet appointments and the judges, many of whom were important to progressives, and none of whom they would have gotten except for M&S. It includes additional COVID relief, the infrastructure bill; it includes Juneteenth and the anti-lynching bill. Etc.

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Mar 30, 2022·edited Mar 30, 2022

Given a choice between passing modest legislation and theatrically supporting bills that will never get by Joe Manchin, the latter may be smarter politically. That’s clearly Schumer’s calculus.

You can see it all the time on Twitter. No lawmaker gets points for acting within normal political boundaries and bowing to legislative reality.

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We need to develop a baseball-style VARS (Votes Above Replacement Senator) in order to help folks appreciate the value Manchin brings to the Democratic Party. He might be our top player outside Brown!

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This is exactly the comment I was going to make, though I was going to use the existing acronym of VORP to broaden the concept beyond the Senate--Value Over Replacement Politician. Alas, east coast bias strikes again, so I will just merely upvote, and I wish I had more than one upvote to give to this.

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That is a better acronym/concept!

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founding

Now we just need a backronym that goes to BLADE, so we can call our top senator the Vorpal Blade.

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Wrote this in a separate comment before I saw yours!

Simplistic Value over Replacement Politician formula to get us started:

[(1 + 538’s measure of votes in alignment with D president)*(1 + vote share of opposing candidate in most recent presidential election]*10

So your average safe D senator who votes with Biden 99% of the time (e.g. Chris Coons) clocks in at 27.7.

I’m not going to calculate standard deviations right now, but eyeballing the numbers, I feel comfortable saying the SD in the Democratic caucus is, say, 1 point — representative of someone like Catherine Cortez Masto at 28.8.

Manchin calculation = [( 1 + .955)*(1 + .686)] = 32.9

So Joe Manchin is several SDs above the average D senator.

Assuming Patrick Morrissey is Manchin’s replacement in 2024 and holding constant Biden’s vote share from 2020, we can expect a voting alignment percentage of 15% (in line with Ted Cruz) for a total score of 1.15*1.297*10 = 14.9.

So according to the back of this envelope, Manchin is almost 20 points above replacement AND several standard deviations more valuable than his Democratic colleagues.

He is the Mike Trout to Elizabeth Warren’s Miguel Cabrera.

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Mar 29, 2022·edited Mar 29, 2022

For anyone interested in a complete list of scores: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1LGMHnPb0wYc0vz0XnyEH7i1crvs32104xm-usCRhRjs/edit?usp=sharing

Unsurprising top 5: Manchin, Tester, Brown, Ossoff, Kelly

Manchin is top by a mile. Gap between him and #2 Tester is about the same as between #2 Tester and #34 Booker. MY's post but with numbers!

Standard Deviation amongst Dems is around 1.4.

Collins is only Rep that beats Dems coming in at 46, beating the Senators from Maryland, Vermont, and Massachusetts. Next best Reps are Murkowski, Burr, and Graham.

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Now do Sherrod Brown.

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Brown = 1.977*1.533*10 = 30.0

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Do AOC & the rest of 'the squad'

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Is this current Miggy or prime Miggy? Cuz Warren strikes me as essentially replacement level for Mass while prime Miggy...

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Good point — I used Warren because she makes headlines, like Miggy did a decade ago. Maybe a better comp would be Juan Gonzalez’s MVP campaign in the 90s?

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Those two young rookies from Georgia are looking like the next Trout.

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No, Georgia's going to keep getting bluer, so they're going to get less and less valuable over time. (Still good though!)

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Georgia is trending blue but it’s not a safe blue state yet. There’s a very strong chance that Warnock will lose this year.

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Didn't say otherwise.

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Mar 29, 2022·edited Mar 29, 2022

I did a crude version of this years ago when I worked at a polling firm. It was a lot of the people you'd expect (Susan Collins, Manchin, Klobuchar) and often times bunch of people that lost in really red/blue states. For instance, in 2014 the best Dems were Mark Begich and Greg Orman if you want to count him as a Dem.

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Five thirty eight’s Biden scores (formerly Trump scores) are pretty much that

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Joe Manchin- The Mike Trout of Politics

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Seems to me that progressive hatred of Manchin is what keeps him viable electorally—like the worst thing for Manchin’s re-election would be for AOC to be out there saying ‘well actually Joe is super important for achieving progressive goals’.

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Yeah. And if Manchin has any chance at all of holding on to his seat it would be from becoming known as the Democrat who Joe Biden hates and from some progressive to run a primary against him calling him too right wing for the party.

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Got to remember the most important part of this post: ‘Progressive’ means the mainstream of the Democratic Party and leadership. AOC is ‘Left’.

There should be some public distance from the Progressives to be sure but it should mostly be Manchin punching the leaders. They can take the hit, that’s their role.

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Yeah kayfabe is good, but few of his progressive critics have actually been doing kayfabe. They're just dumb and *inadvertently* helping Manchin by attacking him for being too conservative. The "corruption" angle is from midwits who are like "Wait! Are we actually helping him? Let's try to think of something creative that might hurt him for real! Even if it means bringing down the whole party in the process!"

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Mar 29, 2022·edited Mar 29, 2022

Ultimately kayfabe doesn't work beyond a certain level of performance. Once the majority understand it's a mirage, the vision falls apart. It's better for Democrats to be *sincerely* angry at Manchin; if they were all just nudge-nudge-wink-winking it it wouldn't take long for marginal voters to realise.

EDIT: Sorry, put that in the wrong place, it was meant to be a response to Sam above.

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Fair point.

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Does conservative media salivate over crazy right wingers as much as the MSM does over left wingers? I think that’s the AOC problem. Every reporter desperately wants her to be the voice of the party, when she’s clearly the voice of gentrifying Brooklynites. She can get a topline interview in the NYT whenever she wants.

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Thank you! Was just a little busy with work and such.

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It'd be nice if everyone understood & played their role/part in the game while being able to see the whole board.

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I'll take "stop calling each other corrupt and/or wanting to end capitalism" all the freaking time. Democrats seem to literally spend more time attacking each other than Republicans

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Mar 29, 2022·edited Mar 29, 2022

I don't know what's at stake in UK politics at the moment. The Tories are passing a large tax increase, Labour attacks them from the right a lot. It's really weird.

Labour activists have mostly STFU after suffering historic defeat. It's better than nothing, but it's hard to give them too much credit for this.

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How are you certain that Manchin's personal stake in fossil fuels has no bearing on his policy views?

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Thank you for the book recommendation, I'll check it out.

Joe Manchin collects $500K annually in coal dividends. I take your point that a politician's personal investments could reflect their values just as much as driving them, but I would prefer that politicians take some steps to avoid the appearance of corruption. Jimmy Carter sold his peanut farm, and I don't think it's too much to ask that the chair of the Senate's energy committee not receive hundreds of thousands per year personally -- not in campaign contributions, in income -- from investments in the fossil fuels that his committee regulates.

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Why is “money in politics” in scare quotes? That’s been a big, legitimate problem, even if it’s not the whole story for understanding Manchin.

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Mar 29, 2022·edited Mar 29, 2022

This is a part I never quite understand.

Federal government spending alone is 30% of GDP! The laws and regulations they issue impact far more than that. How can anyone possibly imagine that a system that controls trillions of dollars won't invite billions of spending to influence it?

And its not just large dollar donations. Small dollar donations have become incredibly powerful as more people donate money to candidates beyond their own districts. These donations tend to support much more ideological candidates - do you think that has been a good development or should we be restricting that as well?

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I don't just care about "money in politics" when it results in bad policies. I think it's immoral to sell a Senate seat *period*, no matter what you spend the money on. I also think unlimited campaign donations are bad for our political culture and for equality.

But then I'm probably more of a deontologist than most people in the comments here...

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What is your concern with money in politics?

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There are legit political scientists (like Martin Gilens in *Affluence and Influence*) who argue that progress is feasible on reforming the way money influences politics.

Are they ignorant, too, or are they acting in bad faith?

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In that case, I take less offense at being called ignorant ;)

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Mar 29, 2022·edited Mar 29, 2022

Just because a problem is big, that doesn’t mean it can’t get bigger. Indeed, the problem HAS gotten bigger in the 50 years since Buckley v. Valeo, with Citizens United being just a small example.

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founding

Is that actually right? Is there anything you can point me to in terms of actual political process and/or outcomes that shows that money is corrupting results more in 2022 than in 1996 or 1985 or whatever? (I believe that things might be a bit worse than they were in the immediately post-McCain-Feingold years but I'm skeptical that they're worse than the days of the Keating Five.)

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Mar 29, 2022·edited Mar 29, 2022

Sure.

1. Elite donors are spending more on campaigns now than they used to, and they make up a bigger share of donations. For example, the share of election-related giving that comes from the top 10 donors (+ spouses) went up seven-fold in the decade prior to 2018.

https://www.opensecrets.org/news/reports/a-decade-under-citizens-united

2. I think the political science here isn't totally settled, but good studies have found that money has an influence, especially in the early stages of legislation, when things are in committee.

See e.g. Hall and Wayman 1990, "Buying Time," in APSR (about PACs and committees), and Powell 2014, "The Influence of Campaign Contributions on the Political Process," in DJCLPP (which finds that money can influence state legislatures, and suggests reforming them rather than passing campaign finance laws).

3. Transparency matters. I think it's bad for democracy that you can now -- legally -- donate huge sums of money in the dark.

PS - I don't know the political science on illegal corruption. I mainly had in mind campaign spending.

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But it feels good and isn't that what it's all about in the end?

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Great post. Far too few people understand that the Majority Leader has absolute power over what comes to the Senate floor. When McConnell didn’t bring Garland up for a vote, there was nothing Obama could do about it. Manchin’s vote for Schumer on Day 1 is only the reason Biden can do anything at all.

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The people reading this are not the people who need to read it. The choice in West Virginia is between Joe Manchin and a Republican. Of far more interest is the situation in New Jersey. The Democrats continue to limp on with Robert Menendez, when they could win with literally anyone that could fog a mirror.

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Yes, this. If I were an American progressive, I would be far more annoyed at the likes of Menendez and Feinstein who could be replaced by far better alternatives at literally no risk.

Manchin is not *just* a distraction, he is a real obstacle on a wide range of stuff, but there are easier wins to take care of elsewhere anyway.

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Seriously Menendez is the worst. If I could vote in any State's primary, it would be in New Jersey to get rid of him.

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The next Democrat to get elected president (and hence becomes de-facto party leader) needs to centralize power within the party and shift influence away from primaries and towards regional committees staffed with veteran, pragmatic politicians. Dems need to start optimizing the candidates they put forth, i.e. replacing blue-state moderates and fielding heterodox candidates in red states. But this will never happen as long as there are primaries.

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It never ceases to amaze me how many progressives, in their condemnations of members of their own party, seem to forget that half of 100 is 50.

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It's like when Jim DeMint said he would rather have 40 solidly conservative Republican senators than 60 Republican senators with a good number of moderates. Do people forget how math works?

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No one should underestimate the left's romantic desire to see swift and sweeping change in their favor whenever the Democrats manage to get full control of both the White House and Congress--even if it's full control by nearly the narrowest margin. There's always disappointment on their end when politics proves to be far more difficult.

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Mar 29, 2022·edited Mar 29, 2022

It never ceases to me amaze me how many critics of progressives, in their condemnations of members of their own party, make implausibly simplistic critiques that give no consideration to the possibility that progressives might have a valid point.

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Mar 29, 2022·edited Mar 29, 2022

I hear this generally. What do you take to be the valid point here? I imagine it's something like Manchin isn't gonna run/win in 2024, so he can do what he wants now. And what he _should_ want is whatever progressives deem to be moral.

Which is approaching valid, but I think easily dismissed from a bunch of angles, my preferred being that it's the job of elected representatives to represent their constituents rather than to rally for "justice."

Do you have something else in mind?

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Mar 29, 2022·edited Mar 29, 2022

Manchin is wrong a lot. For example his defence of the filibuster contains elements of factual error, over and above Matt's view that Manchin's assessment of the political impact of the filibuster is wrong. I think it's fine to criticise him on policy.

It's very unfortunate the debate within the Democratic party is so vicious, and Manchin does draw some of the worst excesses. Manchin's wing of the party is not free of sin there, however.

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"Manchin's wing of the party is not free of sin there, however."

Almost every other senator in the Democratic caucus just rode in the bus driving over Manchin with the voting rights legislation. Whatever wing of the party that Manchin is in seems pretty small right now.

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Rep Stephanie Murphy told Politico: "I also don’t want to hand my party over to the faction that wants to dismantle capitalism." How is that helping?!

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/03/18/stephanie-murphy-democrats-congress-house-00018272

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Is she wrong? I don't trust those people even a tenth as far as I can throw one of them, and I'm flabby and out of shape, so that's already not far.

The "Progressives" are often ill-informed, have a great number of terrible policy ideas (rent control, massive regressive consumption taxes, further unionization of the public sector, nationalizing various bits and bobs of the economy, an even more bureaucratic and interest-captured public and environmental review process for infrastructure), even worse political instincts, and would be terrifying if there were more of them, so it's fortunate there aren't that many.

That they're also in favor of universal healthcare and a few other good ideas is not really sufficient to redeem them on the policy front; overall, they're scarily wrong on most topics and no one should want them in power without strong moderating forces holding them back.

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Are you saying the "valid point" the progressives have is that "Manchin is wrong a lot"? Everyone is wrong a lot. The squad is wrong a lot--a lot more than Manchin, I'll bet, but I'm sure you differ. It's just nuts. It doesn't justify the stupidity of their position.

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I could see an argument that looks much akin to the case for strategic nonvoting. If you're really far to the left, for instance, then IMO trying to make a coalition who won't support moderate progressives can be logical, as it's one of the few things that acts in tension against the median voter theorem. One of the few tools you have to get your view represented, although it's certainly a defection against Dems as a whole so it's far from costless.

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It's funny, when you mentioned that Biden is appointing judges at a record-setting pace, I was like "Huh, I've actually never heard about that." And I consider myself reasonably well plugged into US politics, for a European at least.

Back when it was Trump's turn to reshape the judiciary, Republicans and right-wing media would not shut up about it. And that might explain the apprehension about Joe Manchin: Democrats don't care enough about winning.

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Or is this like a secret congress thing where its better if not too much attention is brought?

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Yes, definitely this; if Republican voters are highly motivated by judicial appointments, then they will be (even more) highly motivated to turf out Dem senators in red states if they know that Biden is appointing a load of progressives to the judiciary.

Much better to keep it a secret.

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I think Republicans also just care more than Dems about judges in particular. Opposition to abortion is, as far as I can tell, one of the most widely and strongly held beliefs among normal Republican voters, and "appoint a fuckload of conservative judges" has been *the* long term strategy in that endeavor. And protecting 2nd amendment rights is a big deal to a lot of Republicans too, I think. I don't think Dems are as invested in those issues as Rs are.

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Mar 29, 2022·edited Mar 29, 2022

Part of it is because Democrats associate the Supreme Court with protections for marginalized minority groups because of Brown v. Board of Education and Obergefell v. Hodges. A lot of normal people don’t realize that those rulings are very much the exception, not the rule.

Liberals haven’t had a ruling that makes them as angry as Roe makes conservatives. Yes there are some big cases liberals often condemn like Citizen’s United and Shelby County, but they don’t generate as much passion as abortion does.

I think that might all start to change in a few years after this conservative supermajority makes some unpopular and highly salient right wing decisions.

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Completely agree with your last sentence.

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Yeah you’re already seeing a lot of right wing rhetoric about the Supreme Court change. Like how they’re now very focused on condemning court expansion. You don’t see as much rhetoric from conservatives these days about how judges should be restrained and let elected branches determine the law.

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I think court expansion is a genuinely horrible idea if it's ever done for a partisan edge. Love to introduce problems with exponential growth into my government. Maybe someday we can all be justices.

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Mar 29, 2022·edited Mar 29, 2022

I don’t think anyone believes that court expansion is the best possible reform. However it is something that is clearly constitutional. And unfortunately most of the reforms that would be far better (like term limits for the Supreme Court) are unconstitutional.

But the Supreme Court is likely to become incredibly aggressive and hostile to Democrats and progressive causes in the coming years and the party needs some kind of a strategy to respond.

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What conservative writers do you read on a regular basis?

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Also maybe something something about judicial philosophy being one of the few intellectual areas where it seems like conservative views are putting up a good fight anymore. Not sure how much that matters to most people but from my perspective it's one of the most respectable things they've got going.

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I mean you’d have a point if conservative judges and Justices actually consistently applied those philosophies. In practice they usually abandon them whenever it would require a result they don’t like.

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I don't follow all the stuff super closely but some of them have seemed pretty consistent to me. Gorsuch, for instance, has impressed me so far

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Progressive media wouldn't shut up about it either. When Trump and McConnell were confirming judicial nominations at a record pace it was a imminent threat to democracy.

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Mar 29, 2022·edited Mar 29, 2022

I think the situation highlighted at the end of the article is even worse than MY makes it out to be. The democrats could run Manchin style candidates in all of those states and they'd likely all lose, not because the candidates would be unelectable but because they would be tied to a party that has really botched the historical opportunity to shore up the center that was presented by Trump. I've never voted republican and am a solidly, predictable democratic voter, and even I am rolling my eyes with frustration at the party. People in the center, independents that flipped from Obama to Trump and back to Biden, and suburban voters who were horrified by Trump, all seem to be exasperated and confounded at the things the democratic party seems to want to focus all of its energies on. I think the leadership of the democratic party needs to dramatically alter its stance and framing of key issues and make it clear that they're not focused on things the progressive and "woke" aspects of the party want to harp on all day, every day. Until that happens, democrats in swing states will find it almost impossible to win state wide races for national office because voters are smart enough to realize that voting for any democrat is providing a vote to the democratic party platform in Washington, regardless of how moderate or acceptable that particular candidate might be to voters in the state otherwise.

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Manchin’s VORP is so much higher than almost any other politician it’s not even funny! Every Democrat should be thanking him on bended knee every time he agrees to do anything even remotely liberal or progressive.

Incidentally, while I initially blamed him for the collapse of BBB, now we know there was a framework he and Schumer agreed to in the summer, and then Schumer pulled the rug out from him and shot way higher. While Manchin also did some flip-flopping of his own, the fault doesn’t solely lie with him!

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"Everyone also understands that whatever disappointment they may feel about the current state of the Biden legislative agenda, everything would be worse if Mitch McConnell were Majority Leader." --> This is, I think, incorrect. Not everyone understands this. Some progressives would actually prefer this outcome, or at least that's their revealed preference.

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This is called "heightening the contradictions". You make things worse, because then, everyone will realize you were right all along and support sweeping change.

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I think one cause of this anger is that there are a lot of causes are important and are not making progress (climate change, child poverty, voting rights, etc) and you need someone to blame.

The correct answer is that there are a lot of people who have more conservative opinions about politics than Joe Manchin who vote, and thus they have a big impact on the direction of the country even though they're wrong. But there's a lot of discomfort with that answer on the left, both because it implies the need for the kinds of compromises that Matt suggests but more fundamentally because it's in tension with believing good things about your fellow citizens, and about democracy more generally. So instead it's easier to blame Manchin.

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Mar 29, 2022·edited Mar 29, 2022

Bernie Sanders at one point said something like "how can 2 senators thwart the will of 48 senators," completely ignoring the fact that there are also 50 Republican senators. I'm sure politics is much easier if you pretend your opposition does not exist, but that is not the reality we have.

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There's also a view that "If that's what a majority of Americans really believe, then their will needs to be subverted, not compromised with, because doing the right thing on [Issue X, Y, or Z] is a matter of human rights and non-negotiable and yada yada." So there's anger at those politicians who are in positions where they *could* simply thwart the will of their constituents if they wanted to, but choose not to.

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I think very few people think this. Mostly people think either (a) lol nothing matters for elections, (b) people actually support more left-wing approaches (this is what Bernie says constantly, for example, although that's not necessarily reflective of his considered analysis of the state of american politics), or (c) a kind of disillusionment with the whole thing (eg, the "I don't know how to convince you to care about other people" article).

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But in a lot of cases it’s *not* about what a majority of Americans believe. Democrats consistently win more votes nationally than Republicans. The issue is that some people’s votes matter more in America based on where they live.

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"But in a lot of cases it’s *not* about what a majority of Americans believe. Democrats consistently win more votes nationally than Republicans."

People vote for a party without agreeing on all the issues. You can tell this because both Sanders and Manchin are Democratic Senators voted in by the majority of their constituents and have very different opinions.

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My point is that America’s elected institutions are not based on what a majority of the country thinks, and in some cases like the Senate, the median Senator’s median voter can be *wildly* different from the median American.

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Bleh - we don't vote on individual policy items. We vote on politicians who hold positions, some of which we agree with and some of which we don't.

It also goes both ways. Matt has made the point that the evidence is strong that a majority of the country wouldn't put nearly as much emphasis on climate change as the Democratic party does - should progressives abandon most of their ambitious goals because of that?

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What items in the progressive agenda cannot be implemented at the state or local level?

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“…people who have more conservative opinions…though they're wrong”

Holding different opinion from yours shows that a person is wrong?

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I mean, if I held wrong opinions, wouldn't I change them?

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Progressives do sometimes change their opinions, but many are too stubborn.

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I repeat my suggestion that in red states where Dems have no chance of winning, they should reach a backroom agreement with a non-Democrat to run for office as an independent, and the Dems should agree to just not run anyone. The independent guy or gal can make a bunch of noise about how much they hate socialism and Nancy Pelosi, while also, you know, not being a member of the Trump North Korean-Style Personality Cult Party. In the vein of this piece, a bunch of Manchins from Indiana, Wyoming, Idaho, the Dakotas, Missouri etc. would certainly be *better* than the alternative. They might be economically populist to a greater or lesser degree (higher minimum wage, etc.), depending on their state.

This is where I disagree with David Shor- I don't think there's anything most candidates can do to win in some states, so long as they have a D next to their name. It kind of doesn't matter what positions they take, popularism or no. Increasing our total number of Congressional Manchins (the Strategic Manchin Supply?) would probably be a good thing for the health of the country!

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founding

As someone who lives in Texas, I sometimes wish that we got rid of the rule that says that governors have to be people rather than grocery stores. If H-E-B ran for governor on a non-partisan ticket, they would win in a landslide, and we would be the best-governed state in the nation.

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founding

Definitely a potential problem. I don't think either of them could beat H-E-B.

But it looks like someone conducted the experiment, and Whataburger beat H-E-B. I can't find the results of the general election between Whataburger and Buc-Ee's. I'm not a fan of Buc-Ee's land use and public transit policies, but I'll sure take them as value over replacement senator (not sure if I would with Whataburger).

https://www.click2houston.com/news/local/2020/01/19/check-out-this-social-media-battle-full-of-texas-brands-trolling-memes-and-friendly-wagers/

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They tried that in Kansas some years back. Didn't work, unfortunately.

Plus you're always vulnerable to someone deciding to run on their own and then siphoning away 20% of the vote.

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What specifically happened in Kansas? My understanding as a non-attorney is that the Democratic Party does have the legal right to prevent someone from running as their official representative- that they can prevent the state from printing a ballot with X Candidate named as the official Democratic one. But there's nothing to prevent various whackadoodles from running as fringe Green Party or Justice Dem candidates or something, if that's what you mean. Other than the general difficulty of getting signed up as a 3rd party candidate

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I used to believe this, and I completely understand the logic but I don’t want to give up on Democratic brand building/restoration. Maybe if (as a coalition) we were strapped for cash I could go for strategic amputations like this, but we have plenty of money. I think we should continue to try to find - even if it’s at the local or even school board candidates and continue to compete where we can. The bigger problem is that talented candidate aren’t going to want to be perpetual sacrificial lambs in service to an overall party building goal- I don’t know what to do about that- maybe some kind of a rotation system where we can promise them cushy think tank jobs after they’ve put up a good fight? I don’t have the answers but I really want to explore this more before completely giving up in these states.

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Right! And while yer man did better than a Dem would have done, he didn't win. If the election is tight enough it might matter, Repubs will make sure enough voters know what the ruse is to tank it. It either emerges organically or it doesn't work IMO.

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Every time I bring this sort of thing up with non-Missourians, I get some version of you Missouri people are stupid racists or rural americans should move to the city if they want to live. Every time I bring this sort of thing up with Missouri democrats, I get some version of, f off, we know what we are doing and you are stupid. I gave up. My only hope is external forces convincing people to act differently.

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1. First, you're underrating Tester's chances in 2024. Every time he runs, he wins a bigger slice of the electorate than in his previous election. As opposed to Manchin, whose tally shrinks every election.

2. Manchin, in my estimation, too often negotiates in bad faith. His stance on the filibuster is part of that. He likes the filibuster because it means he doesn't have to do the right thing when it's difficult, like on the voting rights package he negotiated. Or when he brought the voting on Covid aid to an unexpected halt in the middle of the night, prompting Jon Tester to remark, "I have no idea what he's doing." Manchin may not be the villain progressives cast him as, but he's also far from being a sober, even minded moderate who puts the public first. He's an illogical egotist, and just as easily offended as some of the more progressive Senators. You don't have to hate him, but don't buy the BS that he has a finger on the pulse of America. He's as misguided and blinkered as everyone else in DC, with the added complication that a small tribe of moderates and contrarian progressives (points at MY) take time every few months to write up something to inflate his ego.

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I feel like I keep seeing mismatched responses like this.

A: Manchin is valuable because it's miraculous to have a Democrat in that seat

B: You're wrong, Manchin is not a good person, he's not acting in good faith

The point is, he's not a Republican. The only thing that's debatable is whether dems could've done better working with him and the answer is almost certainly yes even if you just go by what was said publicly.

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founding

I'm at my wits ends dealing with Joe Manchin; Secret Republican conspiracy theories from folks who think that he's definitely going to get challenged from the Left and somehow he is scared of that. As someone who went to and graduated high school in small town West Virginia, i implore folks to educate themselves on what exactly happened to Stephen Smith's populist "West Virginia Can't Wait" campaign for governor in 2020. He didn't even make it out of the Democratic Primary, despite outraising other candidates...and everyone knew the guy who won the Democratic primary was going to lose to Justice ANYWAY.

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