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More Please


ryan is a working man

This is more like it:

Hopefully this is the sign of a serious push by the left flanks on Schumer.

I’m finding all of these discussions what to do if Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell offer decent legislation that advances progressive ends faintly surreal. I mean…”Paul Ryan” we can stop right there. At best you’re going to get terrible legislation, like the Trump infrastructure proposal, framed in a concern trolling manner (“you said you wanted infrastructure! Now you don’t want to vote for a bill that mostly consists of tax breaks for projects that would be built anyway! Make up your mind!”) Should we be worrying about what to do if Trump nominates Pam Karlan to fill Scalia’s seat too?

This really isn’t complicated. The default position for Democratic legislators is “don’t vote for anything, because this is right both substantively and politically.” If there’s ever an exception we can deal with it then.

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  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    The default position for Democratic legislators is “don’t vote for anything, because this is right both substantively and politically.”

    Absolutely. But I’m not sure that that should be the stated position, at least this early in the game. As long as one isn’t prone to imagine decent legislation when there is none (and there won’t be), hypothetically being willing to support decent legislation isn’t a bad marker to throw down to blunt accusations of obstructionism when one ends up voting no on absolutely everything (because none of it is decent). Heck, even the Republicans did a little of this between the 2008 election and inauguration day 2009.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      That being said, as a voter / citizen, if I hear Democratic Senators express such a willingness, I’m going to give them a call and object. And I actually did call Sanders last week. But that doesn’t make Sanders’s hypothetical, stated willingness to work with Trump if he proposes something decent the wrong political move.

      • Hercules Mulligan

        Worth noting that polls show about 2/3rds of Democrats favor obstruction, compared to less than 40% of Republicans who favored obstruction post-2008. They got obstruction anyway.

        Not only is Scott right, but he even has a mandate from the people!

        • delazeur

          Link? That’s fascinating if true/reliable.

          It would say something about the elected officials of each party if the Republicans went hard obstruction with 40% of their base supporting it while the Democrats are still being conciliatory and compromising when 70% of their base wants the opposite.

          • Hercules Mulligan

            Ah, sorry, should have linked. It’s here.

            General public wants cooperation, but: “Nearly two-thirds of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters (65%) say “Democratic leaders should stand up to Donald Trump on issues that are important to Democratic supporters, even if means less gets done in Washington”…In November 2008…Republicans and Republican leaners were more favorably disposed to their party’s leaders working with Obama. Nearly six-in-ten (59%) said GOP leaders should work with Obama”

            • delazeur

              Thanks! That’s interesting stuff.

              • Emmryss

                We’re back to “In Polls We Trust” already?

                • The polls weren’t as bad as people like to say. The problem is that a lot of undecided voters rapidly broke for Trump in the last few weeks and states that turned out to be key states were polled infrequently. The models (other than 538) made incorrect assumptions about how states would vote in the absence of sufficient polling, as well as about how seriously to take rapid shifts in polling at the very end of the election.

                • delazeur

                  Even if the polls were as bad as people say, I don’t see any preferable alternatives.

                • sapient

                  Voter suppression was also a real thing. Not sure that we know what the effect was yet, do we?

                • Mike G

                  Exit polling indicated 2/3 thought Trump unfit for office.
                  Meaning at least 15% of people voted for him while believing he was unfit.

                • Nick056

                  Voter suppression was also a real thing. Not sure that we know what the effect was yet, do we?

                  Critical to read election law expert Rick Hasan on this question:

                  Democrats Blame “Voter Suppression” for Clinton Loss at Their Peril.

                  Let me start by getting a few important points out of the way, so it is clear what I’m saying.

                  Yes, Republican legislatures have passed a series of laws making it harder to register and vote. It is not just voter id laws, but laws affecting how ballots are counted, when voting takes place, and what rules are used for resolving disputes. They have done this for partisan (or in some circumstances perhaps a mix of partisan and racial) reasons, and not to prevent fraud, promote public confidence, or further government efficiency.



                  There is thus far not enough evidence that these laws actually affected the outcome of the presidential election. We have statistics on a fewer number of polls open or early voting days in some of these states, and we know courts have found in some cases that up to hundreds of thousands of voters lacked the right kind of ID to vote in some strict voter id states. But it is a big empirical leap to claim that these cutbacks caused the losses for Democrats in states that mattered for the outcome of the electoral college. Lots of people who lacked id could have gotten it and voted. (A more plausible case could be made in some of these states that these laws mattered in races which are very, very close.)

                  More importantly, even in states that had eased their voting and registration rules in recent years, such as Minnesota, Democratic turnout was way down. This is key: Hilllary Clinton is down millions of Democrats’ votes (right now about 7 million votes) compared to Obama in 2012. People stayed home for reasons unrelated to voter suppression.

                  In Michigan, Clinton got 13 percent fewer votes than Obama. Trump got 7 percent more than Romney. In Pennsylvania, Clinton got 5 percent fewer votes than Obama. Trump got 9 percent more than Romney. In Wisconsin, Clinton got 15 percent fewer votes than Obama. Trump did slightly worse than Romney — in a state that was home to Romney’s running mate.

                  Voter suppression is bad anytime it burdens anyone’s exercise of the franchise, or denies anyone a vote. But there really isn’t evidence that it was outcome-determinative in the “blue wall” states.

                • BartletForGallifrey


                  This is key: Hilllary Clinton is down millions of Democrats’ votes (right now about 7 million votes) compared to Obama in 2012.

                  She’s currently at 63.7M, on track to hit 65M. Obama got 65.9M in 2012. Turnout was in the wrong places.

                • Dilan Esper

                  The polls were OK. The humans interpreting the polls engaged in a ton of wishful thinking (about banking early votes, the Clinton ground and data operations, etc.).

                • JKTH

                  No the polls were shitty. The wishful thinking was mostly just for people trying to justify a blowout.

                • Dilan Esper


                  The polls I trusted had Hillary a couple of percentage points ahead in the final days. She won the popular vote by that margin. That didn’t seem shitty at all.

                  But there were a number of commentators who, in interpreting polls, assumed that the 2 point advantage guaranteed a Hillary victory, or almost guaranteed it, due to banking votes in early voting states, superior ground game, superior data operations, the “blue wall”, etc. And those people turned out to be dead wrong (and many of them have not yet even written a “mea culpa” about it).

                  Besides Nate Silver, the guy who got the election most right was actually Matt Yglesias, who predicted Hillary’s exact electoral college problem here:


                  It wasn’t a polling issue. It was a bunch of assumptions about how what did happen, couldn’t, based on wishful thinking about Clinton’s alleged electoral lock.

                • JKTH

                  I’m more talking about state polls which showed her pretty clearly winning in states she lost (PA, MI, WI). Even if Yglesias was right about the EC distribution issue, it wasn’t something that was being captured in pre-election polls.

                • Dilan Esper

                  Bear in mind, state-by-state polls have never been that accurate. There are less of them, there aren’t always that many of them near the day of the election, and there are all sorts of things that can affect a single state’s electorate.

                  The focus on state polls is very recent and is based on this cottage industry of 50 state models. Standing back and focusing on the more frequently taken national polls gives you a better picture.

            • addicted44

              I think it’s important to not ignore “on issues that are important to Democratic supporters”.

              I think Bernie approached it the right way. Before any plans were released, he conditionally stated he was willing to work with Trump, which gave him the authority to bash the “plan” on its substantive points once it was released, instead of bashing it on the basis of it being Trump’s plan.

              While I don’t entirely trust the Dems to follow through on this (they still don’t seem to have got the Republicans are assholes memo, despite the despicable treatment they gave Obama the past 8 years), I do think their wait and see approach at the moment is appropriate.

              At the same time, the same does not hold true for the rank and file, whose protests and stance that they will not accept the normalization of Trump is also entirely appropriate and commendable.

            • JKTH

              “Democratic leaders should stand up to Donald Trump on issues that are important to Democratic supporters, even if means less gets done in Washington”

              I’d be interested to see if this is how the question was typically framed in the past when it showed that Democrats wanted compromise.

    • tonycpsu

      Right. I’ve been operating under the assumption that Sanders, Warren, Schumer, and others who’ve signaled a very qualified willingness to work with Trump are just trying to show they’re assuming good faith, because that’s what policymakers are supposed to do. Privately, I think they all know Ryan and Trump are snakes, and have no plans to actually support anything they come up with.

      • DrDick

        Certainly Sanders and Warren have clearly stated that they would actively resist Republican efforts at retrenchment and Sanders’ offer of cooperation was highly conditional.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Sure, I’m not saying Democrats should be saying “we’ll never vote for anything,” they should be saying “we’d vote for a good bill but whatever shit Trump is proposing isn’t that.”

      • Hercules Mulligan

        I agree with Scott, but I do think if public opinion is overwhelmingly opposed to working with Trump, then Dems run the risk of pretending to appease Beltway press while alienating the people protesting in the streets.

        • Phil Perspective

          I find it funny that Democratic voters are unwilling to compromise all of the sudden. Did the light switch finally turn on? Hope springs eternal!

      • Cheerful

        Sure. And amend to say “Because of Trump’s long history of chicanery, his general offensive beliefs and his current demonstration of cronyism and corruption [extended to as long as reporter is willing to hear you out] we assume that anything presented will be rife with graft and incompetence and giveaways to the rich. But if he surprises us, then yay, we’ll take a look”

        Trump and his administration are going to be a disaster at many levels across a wide scope of federal activity. Focusing on a willingness to work with him on some large issue like infrastructure will continue to obscure the massive amount of evil he will be attempting everywhere else.

      • CrunchyFrog

        I’m okay with that. The last 8 years have proven that it doesn’t matter what a political party says in Congress – the partisans who care already have chosen sides and those who are swayable aren’t paying attention to that kind of detail.

        However, what does matter is how the center-right MSM frames the issue to create a meme the swayable voters remember. Thus, in conversations with the pundits the Dems should put on their full Broder act and make it sound like they are willing to roll up their sleeves for a bipartisan bill to screw the proles – I mean, make tough decisions (or whatever). But, unfortunately, there is just too much wrong with the bill for them to vote for it. Don’t worry, every GOP bill will have plenty of examples of reasons to vote against it.

        • ColBatGuano

          I kind of think the last 8 years show that the party out of the presidency pays no penalty for obstruction.

      • This is not a wedge that Trump and Ryan are likely to drive in any year soon.

      • Cheap Wino

        Exactly. Sometimes it really is simple.

    • mongolia

      Absolutely. But I’m not sure that that should be the stated position, at least this early in the game. As long as one isn’t prone to imagine decent legislation when there is none (and there won’t be), hypothetically being willing to support decent legislation isn’t a bad marker to throw down to blunt accusations of obstructionism when one ends up voting no on absolutely everything (because none of it is decent)

      this, in my view, is the exact correct take.

      the point should be to get the infrastructure bill process started between ryan, trump, mcconnell. none really have any agreement on this issue, the ideological part of the wing is against spending, the white nationalist part just wants to MAGA whatever that means, the donors want tax breaks but probably don’t want to have to put in the effort to do it outside of high finance – it’s a perfect way to splinter the republican coalition, show bipartisanship, *and* be able to have long as hell hearings about how basically every part of the infrastructure bill(s) they propose are disastrous and fraudulent and massive graft etc.

      this is the correct bill to not be reflexively obstructionist on – and it’s good that mr. wall street apparently is willing to be that on dodd-frank and ppaca, for example.

      2018 has to be a referendum on ryan, mcconnell, and trump, and if we play the infrastructure bill right, can use that as a way of going GOP = corruption narrative, to potentially allow us some blue-dog wins some surprising states and/or congressional districts, and holding our tough senate seats in IN, MT, MO, ND (and if he’s still a dem, WV).

      • sam

        yeah – I think what they’re *hoping* to signal is “unlike republicans, we’re not obstructionists simply for the purpose of being obstructionist and blowing up the world – we care about making the lives of american people better, and if our GOP (cough)colleagues(cough) actually manage to propose something that HELPS the american people, we will work with them.”

        And then when the GOP repeatedly fails to deliver anything resembling decency, they can say “we tried, but the GOP are a bunch of shitgibbons”.

        Given the state of our media, I have significant doubts as to the success of this plan. But I can certainly understand the logic behind the plan on some level.

    • sleepyirv

      Republicans became obstructionist on the argument that Obama said something rude to them at a party. It shouldn’t take too long for the Democrats to have an argument.

  • XTPD

    There aren’t going to be any exceptions. This recent news (as well as the Bannon/Sessions appointments) makes me hope the electors give the Presidency to literally anybody but Trump (e.g. Kaine), and also that they give me a a free unicorn and shapeshifting powers.

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      Is Kaine meant to be the minimally-better-than-Trump example?

    • I would be a lot more comfortable with Pence as president than Trump. Sure he is a sanctimonious theocrat/amoral Randian but he is also the opposite of a charismatic strongman. He is also unlikely to end democracy or start WW III which is no small thing.

      • BartletForGallifrey

        He also isn’t a fucking white nationalist. There’s no “Heil Pence” movement.

        He’s just a particularly loathsome Republican. I would take him in a heartbeat.

      • XTPD

        True that the Human Supremacist* is significantly better than Trump, but he (or for that matter, Ryan and McConnell) would still most likely let Sessions’ nomination stand — i.e., choose attorneys-general who’d actively destroy civil rights. In that case, someone like Romney — or, god help us, Bill Weld — would be the least-worst scenario of a House election. (And I admit Kaine, albeit with a Repug VP, would be the absolute best-case scenario of such an outcome that has any plausibility).

        *h/t Halloween Jack

        • BartletForGallifrey

          I don’t contest that Pence is horrific. But they’ll both be corrosive to civil rights, civil liberties, and democracy. Only one of them has Nazi followers.

          • XTPD


  • Warren Terra

    I dunno Scott; I think that there's room for engagement with the Republicans. Students of the American and of international political systems have long theorized that our separate elections of the executive and legislative branches of government, largely unique to the US and some of our former colonies, are inferior to a system in which the elected legislature chooses and controls the executive. Such a system increases both the ability of the elected government to implement its platform and its accountability to the voters.

    This is why it's so very exciting that North Carolina is apparently moving to a Parliamentary system of government. Truly, the states are the laboratory of American democracy!

    • Warren Terra

      Note that of course this is only part of the growing evidence that, far from what people often portray as their xenophobia and anti-intellectualism, the Republican party is increasingly looking to widely adopted models overseas as they address the clamoring demand for governmental reform at home.

      See for example the way that the Trump Transition is following the model pioneered in so many countries of the developing and post-Soviet world, in which visiting foreign leaders and investors are expected to meet with and to satisfy the demands of a designated member of the national leader's immediate family - a sibling, say, or a daughter - who controls the family's commercial interests so the national leader can be one step removed from any accusations of corruption.

      Meanwhile, it's the Democrats that are hidebound and isolationist as they congregate to celebrate an idealized version of an American Founding Father dead for two hundred years.

      PS in a similar vein, it's exciting that the party accused of harboring misogyny is so clearly looking for inspiration to the careers of Margaret Thatcher, Madame Mao, and Marine Le Pen.

      • XTPD

        PS in a similar vein, it’s exciting that the party accused of harboring misogyny is so clearly looking for inspiration to the careers of Margaret Thatcher, Madame Mao

        I didn’t know the British PM was a communist.

    • delazeur

      This is incredibly disturbing.

      Disenfranchising populations are likely to disagree with you is deplorable, but refusing to accept the will of those who were allowed to cast a ballot undermines the foundations of our society.

      • Warren Terra

        But: Parliamentary government! Laboratories of oligarchy Democracy!

      • antoni_jaume

        Like Trump is doing with the greater part of the electorate that voted for HRC?

      • Manny Kant

        Allowing the legislature to overturn the results of an election and simply appoint McCrory as governor is so cartoonishly evil. It has to violate Article IV, doesn’t it?

        • delazeur

          The thought crossed my mind, although I could see a conservative court ruling that this still satisfied Article IV’s “republican government” requirement. In one sense, it is a more republican way of choosing the governor than a direct election.

        • Bill Murray

          much like the Mongols had their Secret History, we have a Secret IOKIYAR Constitution that rewrites all Articles and Amendments to apply the way current Republicans want them to be applied.

        • Murc

          It’s not. All the law states is that in a dispute, the legislature decides who has the right of it. The lege would not be saying “McCrory lost, but we want’im anyway” but rather “no, McCrory actually won, because mumble mumble mumble.”

          It’s similar to how Congress has the right to determine who was the actual winner and seat them if there’s a dispute in the election of one of the people elected to it. That’s constitutional; so is this.

          • Manny Kant

            There has to be an actual contest, though. McCrory has nothing real, to the point where all of his challenges are getting rejected by Republican-dominated county election boards. If you can just gin up a “contest” out of nothing and then have the legislature give you an election, with the state courts having no review over any of it, that seems pretty damned close to just saying that the legislature can perpetuate single party control of the entire state forever if it so chooses. How could that not be an Article IV violation?

            • tomscud

              So at least according to some dude with a blog (I know literally nothing about Rick Hasen or the “Election Law Blog” other than that the Charlotte Observer just linked him), the decision would be subject to federal judicial review:


            • Tyto

              Ultimately, it’s all about the standard of review. “Rational basis” is a hell of a drug.

            • mds

              Yeah, I would think the lack of a rigorous standard for what “contested” means is where it potentially all falls down if a federal court reviews it. If literally the only thing that matters is a legislative majority willing to say, “We’re installing our choice, with lame excuses having no basis in reality as cover,” then the legislature is selecting the governor, despite it being a constitutionally directly-elected office. I mean, a law saying “The people’s vote for legislators shall be subject to at-will nullification by the legislature” wouldn’t be providing a small-r republican government by any normal definition.

              The court-packing part of the scheme is less openly shady, since the power to set the size of the state supreme court does lie with the legislature. It’s sleazy to be fine with the size until it’s suddenly going to have a more liberal majority, but God knows they’ve been given precedent lately. (Weirdly enough, I wonder if it could still backfire on them, since NC supreme court judges are elected, and the electorate might be a bit cranky about having their choices repeatedly overridden.)

  • LeeEsq

    I guess the big issue is how the Democratic Party could oppose Trump without it coming back to harm them in 2018. Trump’s plane is going to be more about massive tax breaks for billionaires and corporations and graft than actually repairing or building stuff but chances are that Democratic politicians aren’t going to be allowed to explain this on television. We also get pseudo-populist ads against Democratic candidates about how they opposed making America great again and middle class jobs.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I guess the big issue is how the Democratic Party could oppose Trump without it coming back to harm them in 2018.

      Yeah, remember when unbending Republican opposition to Obama devastated them in 2010?

      Again, this is not a debatable question. McConnell gave us an experiment in whether congressional obstruction hurts Congress or the president. The answer is the latter, the end. Collaborating with Trump would make him more popular and hence hurt the Dems in he midterms.

      • LeeEsq

        Just because it works that way for Republicans does not mean that it will work that way for the Democratic Party. The media dynamics are different for one thing. High Broderism and BSDI favor Republicans and hurt Democratic candidates.

        • addicted44

          Also Republicans vote strategically.

          Dems don’t.

          Dems still like to think politics is a high minded game about ideas and philosophy.

          Repubs don’t give a shit about anything other than winning.

          • gkclarkson

            That’s because you can’t exercise you ideas or philosophy without winning, and voters don’t care about policy.

            The DNC should nominate George Clooney or Tom Hanks.

            • Phil Perspective

              … and voters don’t care about policy.

              They care about policy. They don’t care about how the sausage gets made.

        • agorabum

          Have you totally forgotten the 2006 election?

          When the other party is in charge and constantly offering up garbage, you should loudly and consistently note that it is garbage that is harming America.

          And then don’t add on some bullshit caveat like “to be fair, our platform isn’t perfect and I’m really troubled by a lot of things our candidate has done in the past, and they owe America an apology.”

        • Scott Lemieux

          Just because it works that way for Republicans does not mean that it will work that way for the Democratic Party.

          The evidence says otherwise. Congressional voting is heavily tied to presidential approval irrespective of party.

          • Aaron Morrow

            Also, 2006.

      • Lasker

        There’s no doubt that republican obstruction was effective both in terms of policy and politically against democrats generally, but did it really hurt Obama personally? Doesn’t his approval rating suggest otherwise?

        • gkclarkson

          Obama’s personal approval ratings don’t matter because (a) he can’t be reelected, so he has absolutely no means to exercise any political capital capital he may accrue from his popularity and (b) his own gravitas clearly doesn’t extend to anybody but himself.

          • ColBatGuano

            Yeah, Obama’s approval rating and $6 will get you an over-roasted cup of coffee at Starbucks. It certainly was critical in Clinton’s election win….

    • XTPD

      Given signals like this, the press’ conduct will go far beyond “BOFF SIDES DO IT But Democrats Are Worse” and into “actively pro-fascist.”

    • Emmryss

      No the big issue is how the Democratic Party can do its part to oppose Trump and prevent his administration from harming the millions of Americans now feeling so exposed and vulnerable and who don’t have the luxury of waiting until 2018.

      • LeeEsq

        And if the millions of exposed Americans get some minor protection between 2017 and 2018 but are left even more vulnerable after the 2018 mid-terms?

      • gkclarkson

        I’m at the point where I’m okay with those poor saps in the rust belt suffering the consequences of their dumb decisions.

        All of us safely ensconced in New York or California are going to be fine.

        • Linnaeus

          I’m at the point where I’m okay with those poor saps in the rust belt suffering the consequences of their dumb decisions.

          I’m not, in part because a very significant number of the people who live there are not “poor saps” who made “dumb decisions” in the context of this election. But that’s just me.

        • BartletForGallifrey

          All of us safely ensconced in New York or California are going to be fine.

          All of you white people, maybe.

        • djw

          I’m at the point where I’m okay with those poor saps in the rust belt suffering the consequences of their dumb decisions.

          I’ve seen too many variants of this over the years and it never ceases to horrify me. The total erasure of the region’s dissenting voters, children, etc. It’s really not that far from here to collective punishment.

          • BartletForGallifrey

            I’ve seen too many variants of this over the years and it never ceases to horrify me. The total erasure of the region’s dissenting voters, children, etc. It’s really not that far from here to collective punishment.


          • SatanicPanic

            I consider it our jobs to hold up our standards here in blue states so that other people will have a safer place to run to and as an example for everyone else how we can offer a better alternative. And because it’s the best we may be able to do. It’s not OK to condemn everyone else to live in the apartheid regimes the red states are headed for.

            • Derelict

              Although the way that will likely work is that you’ll have the Joads moving from Oklahoma to Massachusetts to find work, then getting jobs in factories and defense plants, then voting for any GOP politician who promises to do away with the damn unions because, you know, those damn unions expect those former Okies to pay union dues and that just ain’t right!

              And by Pence’s second term, even the sanctuary states are looking pretty dismal.

          • MedicineMan

            Not to mention the fact that Hillary literally lost the election because her support dropped in rural counties from that of her predecessor.

            Reaching out to persuadable people in flyover country and bringing a few more of them on board is *the* way to reverse this dismal situation over time.

        • Tyto

          All of us safely ensconced in New York or California are going to be fine.

          Yeah, no. I have several Jewish and Middle Eastern friends who already have been harassed in various ways. In Los Angeles. In 2016.

          That aside, I’m not ready to sacrifice vulnerable populations anywhere on the alter of my anger over Trump.

        • Origami Isopod

          Uh, yeah, another vote for “This is an extremely douchey and privileged thing to say.”

          • so-in-so

            Not to mention; fundamentally untrue. Incessant war, nuclear war, global warming and economic collapse will not confine their damage to Red states or rust belt trump voters (or the disadvantaged being targeted).

            Unless you are a tube worm living by a heat vent in the ocean depths, you will probably be affected by one or more of these things.

            • XTPD

              Agree in most part with the responses to gkclarkson, but just leaving this here.

            • mds

              Unless you are a tube worm living by a heat vent in the ocean depths

              Wait, that’s an option? I was thinking of moving to Canada, but that’s obviously of limited help. Heat vent, here I come!

              • Derelict

                I’ll bet that Origami Isopod already has a place there where we crash!

                • so-in-so

                  And they said DNA manipulation was unethical!

  • SIS1

    Having had to analyze the Trump ‘plan’ for infrastructure (what little of it there is), I would say that an honest analysis of it would compare it to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, which is what the Feds created in the mid-80’s when we gutted most federal funding sources for affordable housing. You make it cheap for private developers to get in by giving them a sweat deal on their equity stake, and thus ‘incentivize’ private investment.

    The LIHTC has not been a failure, but investments in real estate have a clear to identify revenue source (rental income), while many of the most necessary infrastructure projects don’t, or the only way to create a valid revenue stream would be high user fees or dedicating tax revenue as the source of profits. Which is why such a plan would very much fail in terms of providing an actual funding source for those projects that are most necessary.

  • efgoldman

    If you want to keep up, but don’t have the time or energy for constant, aggravating, difficult activities (some people actually have to work for a living and take care of kids….), this new project might be a good way to keep track.

    • Tyto

      Thanks for this, EFG.

  • smott999

    Whatever infrastructure plan Trump comes up with, will be a giant grift selling of public resources to private corps.
    The Dems better already be working on framing this as the ripoff it is. Because the Repubs will be screaming Jobs Jobs Jobs and opposing that is tricky.

  • addicted44

    Good on Bernie for coming out and saying this. This is where he is strongest, and other Dems need to come out and back Bernie on this.

    The “infrastructure plan” is clearly nothing other than a corporate giveaway. You will have all these public private partnerships that will raise a lot of money from the govt., declare bankruptcy, and then have the government come in to actually complete the problems at great expense.

    And that’s the best case scenario.

  • rewenzo

    Scott, what did you think of Chait’s argument that a real infrastructure bill, i.e. based on government spending, may actually be forthcoming from Trump, and that Paul Ryan would allow such a plan to go forward? He makes the plausible argument that Republicans have never been opposed to deficit spending when the Republicans are in charge. On the other hand, it’s hard to reconcile with Paul Ryan’s “cut government spending at all costs so that we can cut taxes for rich people” stance.

    • Bill Murray

      aren’t the Republicans more in favor of deficit spending in the areas that benefit the people they like, which would favor the current fake plan over a good plan

      • rewenzo

        I think Republicans favor what gets them reelected.

        One could make the argument that repealing Obamacare and privatizing Medicare, and cutting benefits isn’t a recipe for being wildly popular in 2018. An infrastructure bill which gooses the economy and builds useful stuff could help it look like the Republicans were making Washington work again by draining the swamp or whatever.

        Assuming Paul Ryan’s loathing of government spending is genuine, it’s possible he’s willing to accept a one time infrastructure bill in exchange for ruining the life of every vulnerable person in America.

        • djw

          I think Republicans favor what gets them reelected.

          Again, if this is all the modern Republican party was about, they’d be a lot less scary. The denialism that they actually have an ideology is bizarre, and a very weird form of wishful thinking.

      • gkclarkson

        They don’t actually know what they’re in favor of, which is why they’re so confused right now. They were assuming they were going to lose and it would be another 8 years of defining their platform as being against whatever Obama/Clinton is for.

        That’s why they’re panicking about the Affordable Care Act, because they can’t actually figure out a good way to oppose it on policy grounds. They’re against it because it was the centerpiece of Obama’s presidency and it’s popularly called Obamacare.

        My money is on them “repealing and replacing” it with legislation that’s fundamentally 99.9% the same, except they’re going to brand it as #Trumpcare or #Ryancare so that it comes from them.

        • AMK

          They would do that if they could do that without marginally higher taxes on rich people, but they can’t, so they won’t.

    • Hob

      By “when the Republicans are in charge”, does he mean GWB? Reagan? Even during the Bush years the GOP hadn’t yet fallen as far under the sway of the Tea Party/Club for Growth types as it is now, and they used to have a lot more party discipline when it came to actually creating legislation (as opposed to the kind of discipline that just enforces obstructionism on everything).

      I’m not sure it makes sense to try to generalize from their behavior in previous decades.

      • Schadenboner

        I think this is a good point.

        For all our talking about how history for them started on January 20th, 2009 it really is true. The GOP went from being a (shitty, bad, evil maybe?) governing party to being a political party characterized by nothing more noble than nihilism and obstructionism.

        Say what you will about the tenets of Reaganism, at least it’s an ethos…

    • Scott Lemieux

      I’m dubious. It might have more highway spending that Trump’s plan but I think will be mostly tax breaks and shit.

  • raypc800

    I have another tactic in mind myself. You let the GOP pass what they want. Give the Electoral College what they want and all of the GOP. Let those policies create havoc in every area of the country. When the gigantic failure occurs the GOP has to take full credit for it. All Democratic members of Congress have to do is abstain from voting either for or against.
    Yes it is true that in the beginning some Democratic Party members will object to this. But if they reason on it they will see that the GOP are being put into a trap where they will get all of the responsibility for the outcome. This should let the voters know for a certain that the two parties are not the same.

    • so-in-so

      The Democrats may have little choice, or the choice be limited to voting for or against, with the bill passing either way. The question is how much recover is possible post-Trump…

    • Brad Nailer

      That seems pretty dangerous to me for two reasons. One, it will cause damage throughout the country which will be hard to repair. And two, there’s no guarantee that the Republicans, with the media at their back, will be forced to accept responsibility and won’t be able to convince the country that the damage is the fault of the Democrats.

      We’ve seen the Republicans get away with some pretty bizarre shit over the years, thanks to press coverage that often seem to come down more heavily against the Dems (the Trump presidency pretty much proves that point). Standing back and allowing the Republicans to create chaos in hopes the media and the public will know who’s behind it seems pretty risky to me.

      • so-in-so

        Just a month or so ago, the GOP blamed Obama for their overriding his veto of the bill allowing people to sue Saudi Arabia.

        I guess because he didn’t veto hard enough. Or take hostages, who knows.

    • Origami Isopod

      You let the GOP pass what they want.

      Hell, yes! Let’s let people be put into detainment facilities, or beaten/raped/killed in the street! Or die “peacefully” from lack of healthcare! Gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet, right?

      • Horatio Seymour


  • AMK

    I would even be so wildly optimistic as to say that the problem is not Trump being against traditional infrastructure projects–it’s not like they’re spending his money, and he would get the credit–so much as Trump having to actually do something resembling work to build a legislative coalition to box out the GOP leadership and the teahidi loons who are actively against infrastructure. He would sign a bill a Dem Congress sent him, but he doesn’t have the interest or the attention span or the basic civics lessons to do anything himself.

  • Thrax

    I mostly agree that the chances of decent legislation passing are very slim. I don’t, however, understand the need to make congressional Democrats explain their entire strategy right now. There’s no point in Schumer saying something like “well, we’ll support an infrastructure bill if the ratio of useful government spending to dumb tax breaks exceeds 3:2.” It’s not going to affect the substance, and it implies a lot more leverage than he has.

    I mean, I understand the impetus. Everyone wants to know how the Ds can turn this around. The boring, unsatisfying answer, unfortunately, is “take legislation as it comes, oppose virtually everything on its merits without announcing that total opposition is your strategy, and filibuster strategically.”

  • Dagmar

    No doubt the GOP legislation will be captioned with a title loaded with orwellian doublespeak, e.g., oil industry subsidies will be titled “Making Sure Guys who wear baseball caps to church get their fair share and screw the immigrants Act.”

  • Horatio Seymour


  • Ruviana

    Troll clean-up. Also infesting SEK’s memorial post above.

    • q-tip

      I just emailed MGMT about this one ^^

      Edit: I’d say DNF, obvs

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