A lot of Democrats feel they are in the biblical equivalent of Gethsemane losing 1000 seats in local, state and national elections. There are only 4 states with both a Democratic Governor and a Democratic controlled State Legislature. Obstruction and gridlock have given Republicans majorities in both houses of Congress. Now they have recaptured the biggest prize of them all the White House. Those who question the future of the party are suggesting that Democrats become the party of no and obstruct everything Republicans attempt to do.
Republicans stole Supreme Court seat
There is anger with Republicans for stealing Barak Obama’s opportunity to fill the current vacancy on the Supreme Court. Republicans ignored Obama’s choice by refusing to even grant him a courtesy meeting.
Democrats could look back to 2009 when Republicans had lost both houses of Congress and the Presidency. They might think that because Republicans played the obstruction card they have fought their way back to complete victory. If it worked for them it can work for us.
To follow this line of thinking would be a huge mistake for Democrats.
1) This is not who Democrats are. Being liberal minded makes Democrats more accepting of compromise. Mitt Romney’s 2012 Presidential campaign demonstrated you can’t pull off being someone or something you’re not. Democrats core principle is how can government enhance life for its citizens. Republicans core principle is how can government get charities and the private sector to enhance the life of its citizens. Restricting government’s role is who Republicans are.
The money is in the House
2) Democrats don’t have the leverage the Republicans had for most of the last 8 years. Republicans have had a majority in the House since 2010. Democrats did have a majority in the Senate for 6 of the last 8 years. But they never the 60 seat Senate majority necessary to avoid Republican obstruction.
The House is the place to obstruct a President or an opposing political party’s agenda. The Senate has sole purview over Presidential appointments but all appropriations of money originate in the House. Making it the best place to thwart the opposing party’s agenda. Republicans used this power over the last 6 years by refusing to vote for the necessary budget appropriations.
The downside to Republican obstruction is the third and most important reason why Democrats should not make the same mistake.
3) Republicans were successful in stopping things Democrats wanted to accomplish but they were unsuccessful at getting anything they wanted accomplished. Republicans got so consumed with obstructing that they forgot how to create meaningful legislation.
Republican obstruction proven to be a mistake
Republicans made over 50 attempts in the last 6 years to repeal Obamacare citing it as one of their highest priorities. Unfortunately they were so busy obstructing that they didn’t develop a plan of their own. Now they control both Houses of Congress and the White House but can’t repeal Obamacare because they have no plan to replace it with.
Republicans obstruction muscles grew strong over the last 8 years and their creative muscles grew weak. America can’t afford another 8 years of Congressional gridlock so Democrats must help when and where their core principle allows. They should fight tooth and nail against toxic republican policies but join them with equal vigor on policies where they have common ground.
Now is the time to put the American people first and party agendas aside. Putting the American people first is the surest way to winning majorities again in both the House and Senate. Democrats should stick to what comes natural to their politics and playing the obstruction game does not, all it will do is lead them into oblivion.