President-elect Donald Trump has a "historically small" political mandate. But do Democratic lawmakers have what it takes to gather their own political capital and "to stand up for what's right," as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) put it this week?
One day after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her top lieutenants held onto their leadership posts—leaving some to wonder whether the Democratic Party is ready to do the sort of reckoning progressives have called for in the wake of the 2016 election—youth and advocacy groups are holding a nationwide day of action Thursday "demanding that Democrats oppose Donald Trump's hateful agenda without compromise."
"If you negotiate with an authoritarian racist and his cabinet of cronies and nationalists, we will support primary challengers against you."
—Yong Jung Cho, #AllofUs
The demonstrations kicked off Wednesday with a multiracial, millennial-led sit-in at Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's New York office, where CREDO political director Murshed Zaheed declared: "This is no time for reconciliation from Democratic leaders. Trump did not win the support of a majority of voters and he does not have a mandate. If Chuck Schumer does not change his ways under a bigoted, racist, anti-poor, and misogynistic Trump presidency, millions will suffer."
Similar actions are taking place in at least seven cities on Thursday under the banner #JointheOpposition.
Following Pelosi's win on Wednesday, The Nation columnist John Nichols said it was now up to her and Schumer to follow Warren's advice and "be an actual opposition party in the coming era of Trumpism."
Republicans are taking over Congress. They are taking over the White House. But Republicans do not have majority support in this country. The majority of voters supported Democratic Senate candidates over Republican ones, and the majority supported a Democratic presidential candidate over a Republican one.
The American people didn't give Democrats majority support so we could come back to Washington and play dead. They didn't send us here to whimper, whine, or grovel. They sent us here to say 'no' to efforts to sell Congress to the highest bidder. They sent us here to stand up for what's right. Now, they are watching, waiting, and hoping—hoping we show some spine and start fighting back when Congress completely ignores the message of the American people and returns to all its same old ways.
Democrats face their first test in this regard with a looming vote on H.R. 6392, the Systemic Risk Designation Improvement Act.
As David Dayen explained in the Fiscal Times:
This bill would lift mandatory Dodd-Frank regulatory supervision for all banks with more than $50 billion in assets, meaning those financial giants would no longer be subject to blanket requirements regarding capital and leverage, public disclosures, and the production of "living wills" to map out how to unwind during a crisis.
Instead, the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), the new super-regulator charged with monitoring systemic risk, would have to affirm that individual institutions require this enhanced supervision because they "could pose a threat to the financial stability of the United States." A vote of two-thirds of the FSOC's 10 voting members would be needed for designation.
[...] You can see with this bill's framework how financial regulation in the Trump era will be relaxed, not by outright repeal but through deliberate atrophy. Republicans want to replace any mandatory rules for regulation with discretionary ones. That way they can claim that they're merely improving the system by putting the decisions in the hands of the experts instead of members of Congress.
Unsurprisingly, Warren went on a Twitter tirade against the bill on Wednesday afternoon:
The banks cut loose by HR 6392 are the same size as the banks that helped bring down the economy in 2008. What could possibly go wrong?!— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) November 30, 2016
HR 6392 would take power away from independent regulators & give it to @realDonaldTrump’s choice for Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) November 30, 2016
Steve Mnuchin would get to decide how to regulate 30 of our biggest banks – including the bank where he currently serves as board member.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) November 30, 2016
"Deregulation historically has never been a partisan game," Dayen wrote. "Democrats and Republicans have typically worked together to roll back rules and open up the Wall Street casino for business. H.R. 6392 could represent a return to those times, or the moment when Democrats join together and say no, forcing Republicans to funnel victories to the banking industry on their own. If I were a Democratic member of Congress, I know what I'd rather have on my conscience."