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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.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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