Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

There are three pieces of legislation pending that Democrats are currently deciding what to do with. For all three, the tradeoff at hand is policy vs. politics. That is, is the policy valuable enough that it’s worth supporting even though it gives a Republican president a political win in an election year? Here are the three:

  • USMCA trade agreement (aka NAFTA 2.0). This one is peculiar. As policy, it’s barely different from our current NAFTA agreement. What’s more, I’m not aware of any significant Democratic constituencies that are begging for it. And yet, the Democratic leadership seems to be working hard to come up with compromise language that will allow it to pass. I’m at a loss to explain this.
  • Surprise billing. This is a bill that would prevent hospital patients from getting huge bills when it turns out that one of the doctors who wandered through their room wasn’t part of their insurance network—even though the hospital itself is. This would be a win for Trump, but it’s also something that would truly help a lot of people. I can see Democrats deciding that it was worth supporting even if it helps Trump.
  • Space Force. Democrats are apparently willing to support creation of Trump’s Space Force in return for parental leave for federal workers. This one also leaves me shaking my head. On the one hand, Space Force strikes me as bad policy. Nobody in the military community seems to think much of it, and I can also envision it being the foundation of some pretty sketchy activities that might not pass muster in the more traditional service branches. On the other hand, parental leave for federal workers is not only small potatoes, but could be explicitly bad for Democrats. There are lots of Trumpish-leaning voters who believe that federal workers are coddled, and a new benefit just for them might be greeted pretty coldly. Potentially, then, it’s both bad policy and bad politics.

I wonder what I’m missing here? It sure seems as though congressional Democrats aren’t playing the political game very astutely.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate