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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

HARRINGTON: Democratic leadership too willing to compromise

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Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was among Democrats negotiating with Republicans about immigration policy during the government shutdown.

The recent government shutdown is the confirmation of a long-held theory of mine: Democratic leaders in Congress are absolutely awful at negotiations.

At this point, the constant concessions and compromises made by the Democrats in terms of legislation and policy are embarrassing. The Republican Party are not Machiavellian political tacticians who routinely outmaneuver the Democrats into giving them precisely what they want.

This Democratic concept of proposing policies that already meet the Republicans in the middle on issues is just mind-boggling. That is the polar opposite of how negotiating should work. Starting a deal by already meeting the other party halfway simply gives them a better position to reach more of their demands.

Democratic leaders like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi consistently lay down their arms and attempt to be the bigger party to the complete and total detriment of their own political goals.

The recent resolution of the government shutdown is a prime example of the political “good faith” that constantly leads to Democrats being metaphorically kicked in the teeth.

While the negative effects of a government shutdown are severe and most people dislike seeing government employees furloughed or forced to work without pay, the Democrats instant concession was an obvious bluff that Republicans saw right through.

Schumer and other high-ranking Democrats took Mitch McConnell’s word and agreed to end the shutdown with the promise of further debate over a legislative DACA fix.  Keep in mind, the Democrats did not settle for an actual fix. They settled for a promise of a debate from the leader of the party whose political aims are the total and complete reversal of almost every Democratic party platform.

The Democrats didn’t want to be viewed as the “bad guys” in the shutdown narrative. With 2018 elections on the horizon, the establishment left tried to save face and take another loss in their fight to at least maintain the status quo of their prize policies.

There should not be any kind of sympathy for the Democratic leadership from here out. Repeatedly, legislators like Pelosi and Schumer have seemingly dedicated themselves to finding new and frightening ways to trip over their own shoelaces in regard to policy.

The saddest part about this intense backpedaling is that come election time, most people won’t care about who started or ended the shutdown.

The Democrats are so afraid of being perceived as the cause of disruption in the political process that they are willing to sacrifice their own constituency’s interests by compromising on issues like DACA or the funding for Trump’s proposed border wall.

Many mainstream liberal circles fear that remaining steadfast and uncompromising on most issues is simply “purity politics.” This criticism is frequently leveled against more progressive members of Congress, who are almost always allies of mainstream Democrats.

This is an example of Democratic disconnect from their political allies and the reality of how policy negotiation works. A constant desire to cooperate and make “bipartisan” legislation is part of a grander issue with modern liberalism that stems from a general infatuation with Aaron Sorkin’s “The West Wing.”

The 1990s series constantly featured storylines where politicians would rise above their party allegiances and do what was right. What most ardent fans of the show seem to forget is the series was fiction. Politics is no longer a system where favors are repaid evenly and fairly; it’s ruthless and has no time for honorable sacrifices.

This mentality has been slowly eroding the political efficacy of the left for the past two decades. Until Democratic leadership is replaced and people like Schumer and Pelosi are removed from the political machine, the Democrats will keep spitting out teeth after every major policy proposal the Republicans bring forward. This is especially true for the foreseeable future with the 2018 elections looming on the horizon.

The grand tragedy of these 2018 elections is going to be the lack of correlation between the compromises the Democrats are making and the election returns. Changes in Senate seats and Congressional positions are going to come regardless of what the Democrats are doing now, so all of these concessions are in vain.

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