Democrats point fingers in wake of filibuster fallout

Democrats point fingers in wake of filibuster fallout

Desperate Democrats pointed fingers at one another Saturday amid the apparent collapse of President Biden’s legislative agenda — with calls for drastic change coming from every corner of the dispirited party.

“I don’t know if the right word is ‘apoplectic’ or ‘demoralized,’” said Quentin Wathum-Ocama, president of the Young Democrats of America. “We’re down. We’re not seeing the results.”

One year into Biden’s presidency, his inability to push an ambitious $2 trillion social spending plan or a sweeping election law through the evenly divided US Senate has his supporters at odds, with midterm elections looming just 11 months from now.

“We are not going to win the elections in 2022 unless our base is energized and ordinary people understand what we are fighting for, and how we are different than the Republicans,” Democratic Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told the New York Times. “Clearly, the current strategy is failing and we need a major course correction.”

Senator Bernie Sanders
Sen. Bernie Sanders said that the current strategy is “failing.”
AP / Jacquelyn Martin

But moderate Dems are equally furious — blaming Sanders and other progressives in the party for setting their sights on unachievable left-wing goals.

“Leadership set out with a failed strategy,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), one of 26 House Democrats set to flee Congress rather than run for re-election this year.

“Maybe they can message that they tried, [but] it actually isn’t going to yield real laws,” Murphy said.

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, who is leaving the House to run for his state’s open Senate seat, cited the party’s failure to extend the pandemic-era child tax credit — a key component of Biden’s Build Back Better social spending bill that was nixed by West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin — as a particularly stinging loss.

“It seems like the Democrats can’t get out of their own way,” Ryan said. “If the Democrats can’t get on with a tax cut for working families, what are we for?”

On Saturday, Rev. Al Sharpton and other “pissed” civil rights leaders went public with their anger at Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, whose Thursday speech on the Senate floor torpedoed Biden’s push to scrap the filibuster in order to pass his election legislation.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the one year anniversary of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
“Leadership set out with a failed strategy,” said Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy, one of 26 House Democrats set to flee Congress rather than run for re-election this year.
AP / Drew Angerer

Sinema’s statement, Sharpton revealed, came less than a day after she met with him, NAACP President Derrick Johnson, and others to hear their personal pleas on behalf of a legislative rule change that would allow the voting law to pass on a party-line vote.

“It was almost like she said that she wanted to be able to tick off the box that she ‘talked to major civil rights leaders’ before she did what she did,” one meeting attendee told Politico.

Sinema’s filibuster stance enflamed left-wing activists in her own state, who are already organizing a primary battle against her — even though she’s not up for re-election until 2024.

The Primary Sinema Project, a progressive opposition group that launched in September, had its best fundraising day ever on Thursday and its second-best on Friday, The Hill reported.

Meanwhile, embattled Vice President Kamala Harris is reportedly attempting a “course correction” after a first year in office fraught with stumbles.

She plans to increase her visibility among the party faithful with an extensive list of campaign stops ahead of November’s midterms, the Washington Post reported — and will make a point of appearing at Biden’s side more frequently, as she did for his gaffe-filled speech in Atlanta on Tuesday.

With Post wires

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