Democrats in America are getting excited about a “Blue Wave” they hope will sweep through November’s US midterm elections, giving the party control of one or both houses of Congress.
If they do gain the opportunity to check Donald Trump’s power, it will be despite growing friction between the party leadership in Washington DC, more progressive Democrats demanding fundamental changes, and a growing grassroots movement to impeach the president.
Today (May 21), longstanding lawmakers including Senate minority leader Charles Schumer, 67, and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, 78, released the party’s newest pitch: A multi-faceted platform topped with the slogan “A Better Deal for Our Democracy.”
What the latest Democratic platform says
The new platform, an update of one rolled out last fall, will focus on curbing corruption through wonky-sounding initiatives like “Empower the American Voter to Ensure Responsive Government” and “Fix Our Broken Campaign Finance System to Combat Big Money Influence.”
It criticizes “backroom power brokers,” who benefited “from the GOP tax scam,” and promises “a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United,” the Supreme Court decision that ushered in the current era of big-money political donations. It even echoes some promises of the 2016 Trump campaign, a sign Democrats hope to win over some Trump supporters:
The American people are sick of getting a raw deal from Washington and they’re tired of broken promises to “drain the swamp.” Democrats agree and we are committed to delivering real reforms that will restore a government of, by and for the people.
For the first time since Democrats swept Congress in 2006, “the entire Democratic Caucus is wrapping its arms around a single sweeping set of democracy reforms,” one congressional aide said. Still, some Democrats say it doesn’t go far enough:
What the latest Democratic platform doesn’t say
The platform doesn’t address key issues impacting many Americans’ lives, especially minorities. Hundreds of thousands of US families are being ripped apart by harsh new immigration policies that aren’t supported by the majority of voters, for example, but the party leaders’ proposals don’t even contain the word “immigration.”
Another issue that wasn’t mentioned is impeachment. That was intentional, the Democratic aide said: Just 42% of Americans would vote for a candidate who favored impeaching Trump, vs. 49% who would vote against.
Hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer is among those pushing for impeachment who believe an effort to remove Trump will galvanize Democrats in November. Republicans have pushed for the Democrats to air their impeachment dreams too, expecting a backlash that would help their party.
“We are going to talk about how the Democrats want us to shut up by impeaching Trump when they couldn’t beat him in 2016,” former White House advisor Stephen Bannon told the New Yorker (paywall).