Monday, February 8, 2016

Pester Congress

Bernie Sanders has called for a revolution. He wants to break the hold the 1% has over American politics. He and his supporters know the system is rigged and corrupt. Good. It is a goal I am very much in favor. Bernie says he will do this by calling on his supporters to pester Congress until his goals are enacted.

Melissa McEwen of Shakesville wants details. How are you and your millions of supporters going to get through or around a GOP Congress? Write letters? Call? Demonstrate and march? Sign petitions? McEwen has these concerns because:
Take, for example, Wendy Davis' filibuster in the Texas legislature. Despite the then state senator's 11-hour filibuster to block legislation that would severely undermine reproductive access in Texas, a packed floor of activists, a nationwide call to attention, and countless pro-choice people across the country taking action in support of her, the Republican-majority legislature, with a corrupt assist from then Governor Rick Perry, forced the measure through.

That moment is one of many examples of how an engaged citizenry is not always enough to overcome the steep power imbalance between an entrenched conservative legislature and We the People.

So I want and need to know what Sanders' plan is to effectively overcome this power imbalance.
Those other examples include Scott Walker in Wisconsin and the GOP in Indiana.

Granted, as president Bernie can veto such nastiness. But how will Bernie budge an obstructionist Congress that can simply do nothing? Ask Obama how well that works out.

Bernie talks a lot about breaking up banks. Good. But how will that happen without also addressing voter restrictions, gerrymandering, and electing fellow progressives to Congress and state legislatures? Bernie doesn't say much about these things. And his actions don't speak any louder.

One way Bernie can discourage his army of supporters is not be able to deliver on the promises he made. McEwen says Hillary isn't making promises she can't keep, though that means an incrementalist strategy.

Egberto Willies, writing for Daily Kos, has had enough of political incrementalism. That has been good because it brought us the Affordable Care Act, and has helped some with student debt. It was a way to make some progress when both parties don't want to upset wealthy benefactors.

But we've reached the end of incrementalism. The remains of the middle class can't take any more of it.

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