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Ode to EML, Or…

by Editor on November 7th, 2018

…Some thoughts on the Midterms. Principally on Congress, and on the Democrats in Congress.

1. The biggest challenge for the Democrats is avoiding overreach. Don’t know what the answer is, but finding the right balance between necessary oversight and industrious investigation will be crucial–crucial for near-term success, and for building towards greater success in 2020.

2. One good way to avoid overreach will be through bi-partisan action. Democrats: join Senator Ben Sasse in advancing his proposals for ethics reforms. (Is Sasse’s framing on this text partisan and anti-Clinton? Yes. But is he wrong in his analysis? Not even a little.) Bring similar legislation to the floor in the House. The benefits of Sasse’s item #2 should be immediately apparent, and this approach will be better than a House investigation.

2a. If Senator Sasse has changed his mind about his proposals, in light of the shifting politics, push harder. Any Republicans backing away from supporting ethics reform will subsequently have a good campaign issue hanging over them.

3. Drop the “Abolish ICE” nonsense, because we all know–even those of us who support greatly loosing restrictions on immigration–that some agency has to protect the borders. Here’s a better idea: follow Trump’s advice and make immigration a signature issue, into which fixes to ICE (or the creation of a successor organization) can be rolled. And to be clear: I am not suggesting taking Trump’s approach to immigration, only that it is clearly an issue that resonates with many voters, so voters should see you working to address it.

4. It’s still the economy, stupid. And despite all of Trump’s hype about it, it is clear that many aspects of our economic success are superficial (as Trump himself used to call out in the campaign, e.g., on the unemployment numbers) and paper thin. You have the power of the purse, so use it.

5. The abysmal Chris Christie did say one right thing on ABC’s News coverage on Tuesday night: this election also reminded everyone that the quality of the candidate still matters. A lot of cash and some hot button issues won’t help candidates who just aren’t appealing.

5a. With that in mind, Democrats: rethink and redo your leadership, top to bottom, House and Senate. And use that process to send some clear signals to potential spoilers for 2020 (looking at you, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders). One thing Republicans did right a few years ago? They ditched a formal seniority plan in favor of looking at other leadership qualities. Is it perfect? No. But it has ensured better transitions in leadership that have helped the GOP stay more nimble.


Thanks, EML (and you know who you are) for the kick in the ass.

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