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PUTIN PUTIN PUTIN!

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The Democrat Party leadership last year released another element of their 2018 campaign platform. You guessed it: PUTIN!

This latest agenda, however, is focused on corruption around three pillars: voting rights and access, campaign finance, and pay-to-play politics. Democrats are planning to unveil a House resolution on the floor later this week along these lines, with specific bills to address the issues.

1) Democrats are focusing on voting rights. In light of the outcome of 2016 election and subsequent investigations into voting integrity around possible Russian interference, Democrats are zeroing in on voters and increased mistrust of the election system. Their platform ranges from access to polling places and gerrymandering to concerns about hacking on Election Day. They’re pushing to bolster the Election Assistance Commission’s resources and implement automatic voter registration and gerrymandering reform. House Democrats will propose mandating independent commissions across the country to ensure district lines are not partisan.

“We make voting in this country more complicated than it needs to be,” Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), the chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force, which led the effort to write this agenda, told me.

2) They’re highlighting corruption and ethics violations in the Trump administration.

“Way too many ethics lines are being crossed by the administration,” Sarbanes said. “That’s not an opinion. That’s an observation.”

To counter it, Democrats plan to hit the campaign trail with policy proposals aimed at tightening lobbying rules.

Among these proposals would be legally requiring presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns. That’s a direct reaction to Trump, who has yet to release his financial records, bucking decades of political precedent and breaking his own promises of transparency.

Sarbanes also cited a proposal that would tighten lobbying rules and institute statutes against former lobbyists becoming Cabinet officials in agencies that have purview over industries that previously employed them.

3) Democrats take a swing at campaign finance reform. This third pillar focuses on transparency in campaign donors. Sarbanes also cited a proposal that would create a 6-1 small-donor match program — a federal public financing system aimed at bolstering donations under $175.

WHY WON’T THE DEMS STOP TALKING ABOUT RUSSIA! And why is their economic agenda just a single sentence, “we love neoliberalism, and hate PUTIN?”*

Seriously, this seems like a good message — linking Trump’s corruption with Republican contempt for democracy as well as their acquiescence in Trump’s corruption — and Golshan provides some evidence for this, although who knows. More importantly, it’s a good opposition governing agenda should they take one or both houses: voting rights need to be on top of the agenda in all contexts, and the anticorruption agenda is an excellent way to keep media attention focused on Trump and less on whatever snipe hunts Republicans are ginning up for potential Democratic nominees.

On a related note, Serwer’s Grand Unified Theory of Trump scandals is very good.

*By the way, I love FlipYrWig’s characterization of the endless assertions that Democrats NEED A MESSAGE that pay no attention to anything Democratic politicians are saying:

For some reason NEED A MESSAGE is the in-group signal of The Savvy. The Savvy hear this shit from one another and repeat it to one another to affirm one another’s savvitudinousness. It’s grotesque.

Why people are so impressed with this particular entry from the Mark Haplerin Almanac of Rote Cliches I’m not entirely sure, but it’s certainly annoying.

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