Democratic Plan B

After worrying about the impact of false equivalence reporting of the government shutdown saga this morning (which I more succinctly described in a tweet as “false equivalence promoted by high-exposure pundits to low-information voters”), I’ve been hearing all day from friends fretting about the same thing.

So let’s game-plan this out and imagine that Republicans hang tough and begin to gain public traction from fatigue with “Washington partisanship” and a desire for “negotiations.” Is there a Plan B for Democrats other than continuing to point out what is actually going on?

Well, I’m normally not a fan of meeting asymmetrical polarization with counter-polarization, but this may be an exception. What if Obama and/or congressional Democrats say, “okay, we’ll broaden the negotations to consider your demand to delay or change Obamacare, but only if you consider our demands for an immediate House vote on the Senate-passed immigration bill and the Manchin/Toomey gun background check bill and a major minimum wage increase!” If the public’s going to view every dispute in Washington as political wrangling, maybe Democrats should politically wrangle over high-stakes policy disputes that don’t amount to degrees of the conservative agenda.

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.