BLUE ON BLUE: A trio of Democratic senators — Booker, Warren, Harris — seem willing to bet that placating the far left on immigration will position them favorably in 2020. But are they sacrificing their party’s fractious unity for their own opportunity?
T.A. Frank for Vanity Fair:
This year, though, we see rather a lot of Democratic senators in red states that didn’t enjoy being forced into brinkmanship over what their opponents could deride as the prioritization of foreign nationals who are in the country illegally. Five sat out the original fight altogether, and 26 more gratefully jumped ship on Monday. Whatever data these senators were viewing, the numbers must have been even more frightening than they’d expected. In politics, a focus on issues can lead people to forget that prioritization is half the battle. It’s one thing to support legalization for DACA recipients; it’s another to say it’s top of the agenda, or the country gets it.
As awkward as the shutdown may have been for Democrats like Missouri’s Claire McCaskill, however, all of the presidency-eyeing stars of the Democratic Party wished, officially at least, to keep it going. While most Democrats voted to end the shutdown, those who didn’t included Booker, Harris, Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand. This, of course, reflects the blueness of their states (Dianne Feinstein also voted against stopping the shutdown), but it also suggests a belief that taking a hard-line stance on immigration, from the left, is the price of a fighting chance in the next presidential primaries. Such thinking might be valid, but things get trickier when it comes to weighing it against the sentiments of the broader public.
Hillary Clinton had a crooked DNC and plenty of superdelegates at her back, to prevent the party’s crazies from nominating Bernie Sanders. But the DNC “reform commission” is looking to limit the superdelegates, and the DNC is is already under the sway of the party’s far-left progressive base.
It’s too soon to make any predictions with confidence, but an early guess is that the Democrats are preparing for another McGovern Moment.