Did Swing District Congressmen Doom the Bailout?

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Numbers maven Nate Silver looks at how electoral prospects affected votes on the bailout:

Among 38 incumbent congressmen in races rated as “toss-up” or “lean” by Swing State Project, just 8 voted for the bailout as opposed to 30 against: a batting average of .211.

By comparison, the vote among congressmen who don’t have as much to worry about was essentially even: 197 for, 198 against.

…among 26 congressmen NOT running for re-election (almost all of whom are Republicans), 23 voted in favor of the bill, as opposed to 2 against and one abstaining.

There’s a huge chance the bailout doesn’t work; there’s very little chance it makes everything better. As a result it’s way, way safer for Congressmen in tight races to vote against the thing.

That said, I do believe there was genuine ideological opposition to the bailout on the left of the Democratic Party and the right of the Republican Party. A host on CNBC postulated that this was a revolt of the Republican rank-and-file who had been told, for many years, that their desire for fiscal conservativism would have to take a back seat to the GOP leadership’s spending priorities. I think there’s some real truth to that.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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