Cracks in the Party
Both political parties are amalgamations of various demographic groups that link up over some common value, ideal, or interest. However, in a land of almost 314 million but only two parties, the two camps are bound to have their share of difficulties keeping everybody on the same page. Today most people focus on the disputes within the Republican Party, but they tend to overlook those of the Democratic Party, Mona Charen writes. The modern Democratic Party is currently comprised of a “grand alliance of minority groups, young voters, public employee unions and women that propelled President Barack Obama to two comfortable victories”. According to the Harvard Institute of Politics, 57 percent of younger voters (ages 18-39) disapprove of Obamacare. Additionally, various groups within the party support policies at odds with policies supported by other groups. Teachers unions oppose school choice, which many African Americans and Hispanics support. They, in turn, support racial quotas in schools, which Asian Americans oppose. “The Democrats may be able to hold their coalition together in 2016, but the fissures suggest openings for challenge”, Charen concludes.
The Senate Under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is aiming to be the Majority Leader in the next Congress, and he has already provided some insight into how the Chamber would operate under his rule. According to Paul Kane of The Washington Post, Senator McConnell would reportedly restore some power and authority to the committees, permit more amendments to legislation, and lengthen the workweek. Both the committee and amendment processes have suffered in recent years (in both Chambers). Members of Congress are generally only in DC from Monday evening through Thursday afternoon, and much time is spent fundraising. In the Floor speech where Senator McConnell outlined his principles, he reminded the Senate of the principle that it should be a place to develop a wide consensus on legislation. “Because if America is to face up to the challenges we face in the decades ahead, she’ll need the Senate the Founders in their wisdom intended, not the hollow shell of the Senate we have today”, he said.
Dems Shore Up Vulnerable Incumbents in 2014 Midterms
The House Democrats are already trying to figure out where to cut and run and withhold assistance for their candidates in the face of a challenging electoral landscape. This is, of course, common practice, but Alex Isenstadt of Politico reports, “some of the party’s campaign veterans said they felt the committee was being far more stringent than in past years.” Much of their resources will have to go to vulnerable incumbents. They will also target fewer Republican incumbents. Initially, some thought between 30 and 40 seats were contested, but now this number is in the low- to mid-20s. “Some Democrats say the party is adopting a “hold the line” approach: focus on helping incumbents get reelected, limit losses and look toward 2016, which could be a much more favorable year for Democrats”, Isenstadt writes. The Democratic House Majority PAC has spent $6.5 million to reserve time for commercials on TV. The ads will benefit Representatives Ron Barber and Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona, Representative Patrick Murphy of Florida, Representative Scott Peters of California, and Representative Sean Maloney of New York.
And for our latest post: Cracks in the Senatorial Saucer: Filling the Tree, Cloture, and Curtailing Senate Debate