Hold The Line-- But On What? Timing Or Substance?

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

"Joe Manchin: 'Want More Progress?... Elect More Liberals'" by Nancy Ohanian

ProgressivePunch is a slightly imperfect tool for measuring progressiveness of members of Congress. But it's less imperfect than any other tool. It doesn't take committee votes, sources of contributions, courageousness, effectiveness, or organizing into account, for example, just floor votes. As of yesterday these are the members of the House with the dozen most progressive lifetime voting records:

  • Andy Levin (D-MI)- 99.46%-- D+4

  • Mondaire Jones (D-NY)- 98.96%-- D+9

  • Marie Newman (D-IL)- 98.96%-- D+6

  • Ritchie Torres (D-NY)- 98.96%-- D+39

  • Jamie Raskin (D-MD)- 98.79%-- D+17

  • Adriano Espaillat (D-NY)- 98.20%-- D+40

  • Nikema Williams (D-GA)- 97.92%-- D+36

  • Mark Pocan (D-WI)- 97.87%-- D+18

  • Chuy Garcia (D-IL)- 97.31-- D+33

  • Ayanna Pressley (D-MA)- 97.31-- D+35

  • Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)- 97.29-- D+36

  • Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA)- 97.13%-- D+24

Melanie Stansbury (D-NM), a freshman, has generated the 29th most progressive voting record: 95.35%, between progressive firebrands Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), a fraction below Cori Bush and a fraction above AOC, Ilhan and Rashida. Stansbury's district in, basically, Albuquerque and the PVI is a nice safe D+9. Yesterday she was one of many members of the Progressive Caucus who tweeted about "Holding the Line." God bless them-- and God bless Pramila's strong, effective Justice-powered leadership.

How long will they hold the line? Who will be left holding it in the end-- once the heavy pressure from Pelosi and the White House is applied? Who can we count on, the way the billionaires and lobbyists knew they could count on Manchin and Sinema in the Senate and Gottheimer, Schrader, Case, Correa and Cuellar in the House? And what can we count on them holding the line on-- the procedural issue of when the two bills get voted on? Or will they do what Manchin and Sinema did and say, for example, "No, you muthafuckers, 80% of Americans want tax fairness and almost that many want lower drug prices. Leave them out and you can shove the bill and you reelections up your ass." I have a feeling all we're going to get is the procedural part of this... so kind of a big letdown for people looking for something transformational.

NOTE: Pelosi cancelled her demand that the progressives throw in the towel and vote for the hard infrastructure bill tonight. Instead they will extend the transportation money through early December.

A frequent DWT contributor, investigative historian and author Eric Zuesse sent along an opinion post today: "The only honorable move for congressional progressives, now, is to join Republicans to block passage of Democrats’ proposed compromises on budgets and taxes." Take a look at his whole piece:

For once, the progressive thing for congressional progressives (if they exist) to do is to vote with the Republicans against the Democrats in Congress.
Republicans plus Democratic Senators Sinema and Manchin are blocking progressive proposals on federal spending and taxes, and the only solution if progressives truly are progressive is to vote with the Republicans to block raising the debt-ceiling. Doing this will force the U.S. Government into default, which would be the worst possible outcome for America’s billionaires, because our billionaires get their way on virtually all federal legislation. (This has been proven in numerous studies, including the ones mentioned and linked-to here.) And the billionaires are clearly winning yet again, as a consequence of which, congressional progressives are now trying ti rewrite the U.S. tax-code in a way that will be both fair to the public and also acceptable to the billionaires (who are united against the progressives-- an effort by congressional progressives that’s almost certain to fail (as has always happened ever since 1945). In other words: the biggest recipients of federal largesse are our billionaires, and they are determined to keep it that way. If the Government would go into default, then our billionaires would panic. They wouldn’t allow that to happen (and they control the U.S. Government; so, they could prevent it from happening; they could prevent it by-- at long last-- caving to the progressives by yielding to them on everything that congressional progressives are united on supporting, such as Medicare-for-All). It’s the only way that progressives can realistically beat our billionaires-- the billionaires of both Parties. For the first time ever, progressives would finally get their way in America, and America’s aristocracy (ever since 1945) would not continue to control America.
Here are the progressive proposals that America’s billionaires-- the individuals who own controlling blocs of stock in (and thus control) America’s international corporations-- have blocked:
Having the Medicare system negotiate each drug’s price for all Medicare beneficiaries (like happens in most countries that have government regulated healthcare systems that are rated better than America’s and that cost half per-capita of what America’s healthcare costs).
Have truly progressive taxation-rates, which reward working, far more than they reward gambling (‘investing’). Our current system is the reverse of that; it rewards gambling far more than its rewards working. Instead of protecting America’s workers, the U.S. Government protects (especially the wealth of) America’s billionaires. (That’s what America’s ‘Defense’ Department is 100% for, and that Department is the largest of all federal Departments and the only one that is growing right now.) As the billionaire Warren Buffett said, “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” (He told this to the conservative Ben Stein reporting in the aristocracy’s New York Times, on 26 November 2006, but that newspaper won’t let readers access the article online, and instead prefers to charge anyone who seeks to see whether or not that famous quotation from Buffett is authentic-- it is. And the statement is true. But the 31 March 2019 issue of Forbes headlined “Reimagining Capitalism: How The Greatest System Ever Conceived (And Its Billionaires) Need To Change”, and reported: “‘America works, and it works now better than it ever worked,’ Buffett says.” Better for himself and other billionaires, that is. (But Forbes hides that fact.)
The only way in which America’s progressives can even possibly win is by forcing the U.S. Government into default unless the billionaires will stop blocking the progressive changes that the American public need and want.
Here are some examples of how America’s billionaires are-- right now-- blocking those changes: this and this and this and this.
Any allegedly progressive member of Congress knows all about this. The only real question now is: Will the person do what any authentic progressive would do in order to put an end to this control over the U.S. Government by U.S. and foreign billionaires?
It’s put-up-or-shut-up time, for the progressives. Will they cave, as they always (since 1945) have done?

So much winning for our team! Does it feel like winning to you? Do you feel like we won? Members I spoke to today are all trying to convince themselves that we're winning. No one likes my idea of breaking off from the Democrap Party.

I guess here's the answer. This Progressive Caucus just put this out moments ago: