2018, Debbie Stabenow, Donald Trump, Gary Peters — January 6, 2018 at 11:40 am

Donnie wants to shut down the government and make America pay for it


This is how Democrats make it clear what we stand for

Tammy Baldwin has every reason to be cautious.

Republicans have already spent $3.1 million to unseat the first openly gay member of the U.S. Senate, “which is more than what all the other Democratic Senate incumbents on the ballot this year have faced combined,” according to the Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel.

Baldwin is running for reelection in Wisconsin, a state that has been the political proving ground for Koch Industries and other billionaires like Diane Hendricks, who helped nudge fellow rich guy Ron Johnson over the finish line last November. Hendricks would have plenty of money to spare, even if she didn’t often end up paying ZERO in state income taxes.

With the help of every GOP dark art available, these robber barons have turned a progressive state mostly red and made mannequins like Scott Walker, Sean Duffy and Paul Ryan look like political geniuses. Still it took massive voter suppression in the Badger State, on top of the tsunami of right-wing cash and gerrymandering, for WI’s electoral votes to end up in the GOP column.

None of these cancers on Wisconsin’s democracy have been cured. They haven’t even been treated. You could argue they’ve metastasized, but probably only if you know as little about actual cancer as I do.

But the prognosis is the same — Tammy Baldwin has every reason to run scared into the welcoming arms of centrism, as Democratic swing-state Senators in 2014 and 2010 did. RIP.

And she isn’t.

Instead, Baldwin is one of 28 “Dream Heroes” in the U.S. Senate who have taken the Dreamer Pledge, which promises that these Senators will only vote for a continuing resolution if it contains the Dream Act.

Numbers are key here because Democrats can only hold the GOP accountable for Trump’s unnecessary attack on the Dreamers in the U.S. Senate. To do this, they need 40 of the 49 Senators who caucus with the party to take a stand in the next few weeks.

Sherrod Brown, who may also face a tough re-election race this year, has taken the pledge. Michigan’s Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters have not.

There are reasons for Stabenow to be cautious, of course. She faces re-election in a state Donnie won. And the idea of letting the GOP shut down the government over non-citizens could stoke the sort of hostile ethno-nationalism that many think boosted the GOP nominee in this state.

But that would be a bad read of the political winds coming off Lake Michigan.

Republicans have not been able to find a top-tier candidate to face Stabenow. I’d argue the Senator needs to worry much more about the more than 51,000 Michiganders who voted for Jill Stein and less about 11,000 voters who have gave Don the edge over Clinton here.

A December Quinnipiac Poll found that nearly 8 in 10 Americans believe “undocumented children brought to the U.S. as children should be allowed to stay and to apply for citizenship.”

In contrast, the awful wall Trump is willing to shut down the government for is opposed by a majority of Americans, even 2/3 of voters in the swing border state of Arizona. And this is before Democrats get it together and start mocking Trump for giving up on making Mexico pay for the wall, a cornerstone political promise. On Friday, he sent Congress a budget request that would stick taxpayers with the $18 billion bill.

(Check out this thread from MoveOn’s Ben Wikler for more on the polling and politics of these issues.)

I’m not questioning Stabenow’s good intentions or political acumen. She’s proven these qualities more than 99.9 percent of us will ever will. Polling has also found that anti-immigration sentiment tends to be worst in areas where voters have the least interaction with immigrants, much like the more rural parts of Michigan Stabenow must be competitive in to win. And shutdowns rarely benefit the party making a stand.

But let’s not pretend that what happens in January will be top of mind by even February 2, unless what happens in January is an extra crispy nuclear war.

The political environment now revs faster than a first-generation Ford Fiesta. Details scroll out of mind faster than tweets. It took me a second to even remember the origin of “Fire and Fury.”

What people will remember is that Democrats stood for something — kids and the American Dream. Making it clear what we stand for, in addition to what we stand against, is a necessity right now.

Dreamers were brought here before they could make any decisions on their own. The biggest choice they’ve made is to devote their lives to this country, many by risking their current existence by bravely registering for DACA.

REPUBLICANS CONTROL THE ENTIRE GOVERNMENT. If they want to shut down the government over something Donnie broke and all of America wants to fix, Democrats cannot lose — unless they give in.

There’s no moral argument for what Trump wants to do. Estimates suggest that deporting Dreamers would cost our economy almost half a trillion dollars.

This all about the kind of politics — politics that pretends cruelty is strength. If Democrats can’t stand up to that now, it’s not going to get easier in November.