(Shh, don't talk about it)
We should return to a ban on cameras in the House and Senate. Let these people work in their committee without the continuous preening for the CSpan audience. Disclosure is important for democratic legitimacy, but that doesn't require live coverage of every committee, every floor speech, every hearing.
Doesn’t this suggest that policy-focused journalism is often counterproductive, since informing people about an issue raises its salience?
"If you are persuasive, determined, and willing to be eclectic in who you partner with, then things can happen."
One of the frustrating aspects with the way intersectionality is understood by activists is that it can really push against this kind of approach.
If you're advocating for serious immigration reform, you're probably going to have to work with Catholic groups, many of whom are going to be pro-life. This isn't throwing Planned Parenthood under the bus, this is just taking your job seriously.
(Unions are much more effective, in part because they ARE willing to be transactional. If you asked a union to stop cutting deals in the name of activist solidarity, you'd be laughed out of the room.)
What worries me is whether we can deal with climate change on this basis. A lot of prominent Republicans and right-wingers still don't take climate change seriously and it wasn't too long ago that the Republican party as a whole was denying climate change. If we had simple majority rule, Democrats would have had many more bites at the apple at this point and we could be in a better position.
"But that’s how it’s basically always been in America, and we’ve somehow muddled through okay."
Do you really believe this, or was this just a convenient kicker?
I mean -- I would have said that the political situation in the US has gotten markedly worse in my (seven decade) lifetime. Republican contempt for the law has only grown from Watergate to Iran-Contra to the Iraq War to Trump's endless plundering to the insurrection of 1/6. With no consequences for law-breaking, a culture of lawlessness has taken hold of the party. Combine that with an ideology of white revanchism that idealizes an all-white Russia over a multi-ethnic America, and you have big trouble. Now flood the country with cheap firearms and Fox News hate-speech, and you have a Rwandan genocide in the making.
So, do you really feel so all-fired sunny about our "muddling through," or is a commitment to dogged optimism merely another obligation imposed on you by your Weberian ethic of responsibility?
(In which case, you are probably also obligated to say, "no, no! I really believe it!")
Similarly true with SCOTUS—often a majority of cases are decided unanimously and a slim minority are 5-4
Somehow when we let legislators legislate, instead of measuring against the legistlative vision of the executive branch, things work out. Go figure.
This jibes with my contention of trying to de-polarize political by disaggregating positions. Is it possible to get someone who is pro-Life to support immigration reform? Someone who wants to “build the Wall” to support making taxes more progressive? Someone who opposes increasing the minimum wage to support a more generous EITC. Someone who dislikes “environmental extremists” to support a revenue neutral tax on net CO2 emissions? Someone who is “nationalistic” in foreign policy terms (anti -Iran/China) to support freer trade?
I have three very anodyne rules about American politics:
-- When you have big majorities, you can probably get big things done
-- When you have a small majority, you can keep the wheels of America greased but not too much more than that
-- If you want to get reelected, then just make sure the economy is good and we're at peace; doing big things legislatively will have no impact on your chances.
Oh, and I have one more rule about what legislation can pass:
-- If Tucker Carlson talks about it on his show, there's no way to pass bipartisan legislation; if Tucker Carlson doesn't pay attention to it, the Secret Congress may be able to pass something.
Would be curious to know who are the most effective members of Secret Congress, and how that effectiveness correlates (or doesn’t) with national profile, local popularity, partisanship, and etc.
Even if you accept all the arguments of this piece - is it _not_ supposed to be horrifying that public advocacy on an issue prevents Congress from taking action on it and only quiet lobbying can make something pass? Is everyone who doesn't have a job on Capitol Hill just supposed to keep their mouth shut and hope that good things happen?
I've been hoping you'd discuss more about Secret Congress and what, if any, advice can be given to political actors based on the knowledge of Secret Congress. I'd especially like something like "What if David Shor was in Secret Congress" but ways to both find and identify popular issues to advocate for, while avoiding the trap of doing so by appealing to partisan advocacy organizations to get a bill on the agenda.
It seems like there's a bad loop with funders not recognizing that the metrics they are using to determine if their support for a group is effective is actually undermining the chance for legislative success.
I see we might have a new Marc— welcome Simon!
You need to be 21 to buy tobacco now?
I think at least some of the time causation runs the other way, that there are deep salient disagreements in the public and that makes them nearly impossible to negotiate. Gun rights, abortion, tax policy mostly run this way.
Of course, then it becomes self reinforcing by becoming election level salient. But in those cases, other than nibbling around the edges public advocacy is the proper way to go for advocacy groups.
The hope is to raise the salience among your co-partisans to the point that they will feel as threatened by not acting as acting, hope to make it a 60/40 issue in your favor, or prevent it from going the other way. The ultimate success is something like gay marriage, where the other side eventually capitulated, though that it is very rare.
Props for the audio version.