Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

We must understand how rare it is that the Senate and the House and the presidency are all under the control of the Democratic Party. (Photo: Screenshot/Youtube/Robert Reich)

We must understand how rare it is that the Senate and the House and the presidency are all under the control of the Democratic Party. (Photo: Screenshot/Youtube/Robert Reich)

If the Democrats Don't Pick Up the Pace All Could Be Lost

Democrats have to get rid of the Senate filibuster and stop worrying about bipartisanship.

Robert Reich

 by RobertReich.org

The political window of opportunity for Joe Biden and Democrats to deliver on their promises to the American people and pass the legislation the country needs, could close at any time. 

We must understand how rare it is that the Senate and the House and the presidency are all under the control of the Democratic Party.

That’s happened in only 4 of the past 28 years.

The Democrats’ current Senate majority would end with the shift of a single seat from Democrats to the Republicans. That could happen even during this session of Congress. In 27 of the 38 Congresses since World War II, the party in control of the Senate has changed during the session.

Not to be morbid, but we also need to consider that this Senate has six Democratic senators, over the age of 70, who are from states where a Republican governor would be free to replace them with a Republican should a vacancy occur.

Five other Democratic senators are from states in which a Democratic vacancy would go unfilled for months until a special election was held to fill the seat—which itself would hand the G.O.P. control of the Senate at least until that special election.

It would be foolish to count on the Democrats increasing their numbers in the Senate or the House in the midterm elections of 2022. The president’s party rarely, if ever, picks up more seats during midterm elections. The last time a Democratic president has not lost Democratic seats in Congress in his first midterm election was 1934.

Meanwhile, state Republicans — who, not incidentally, control a majority of state governments — are proposing an avalanche of bills to make it harder for likely Democratic constituencies to vote, including people of color, young people, and low-income people. Some states, like Georgia, have already put these voter suppression measures into place.

And with these state Republicans in control of the upcoming once-in-a-decade redistricting process, we could see even more gerrymandering in these states—meaning an even greater likelihood that Republicans gain ground in the House.

If Joe Biden and the Democrats are going to accomplish what a majority of Americans want them to—such as raising the minimum wage, expanding health care, strengthening unions, raising taxes on big corporations and the wealthy, providing free public higher education, and strengthening voting rights with the For the People Act — they’ve got to get it done, now. 

That means Democrats have to get rid of the Senate filibuster and stop worrying about bipartisanship. 

The window of opportunity is already tiny. And it’s closing fast.

Watch:


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Robert Reich

Robert Reich

Robert Reich, is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time magazine named him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. His book include:  "Aftershock" (2011), "The Work of Nations" (1992), "Beyond Outrage" (2012) and, "Saving Capitalism" (2016). He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine, former chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." Reich's newest book is "The Common Good" (2019). He's co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism," which is streaming now.

Progressives Say 'Do What the People Want and Tax the Rich' to Pay for Infrastructure

"It is obvious that if we're going to address the needs of working families in this country, we need revenue," says Sen. Bernie Sanders, "and one way that we get that revenue is by demanding that the wealthiest people, the largest corporations are paying their fair share."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


Doctors Without Borders Calls on BioNTech to Share Vaccine Tech With World

"The faster companies share the know-how, the faster we can put an end to this pandemic."

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·


Over 30,000 US Veterans of Post-9/11 Wars Have Killed Themselves Since 2001

"As we come closer to the twentieth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, we must reflect on the mental health cost of the Global War on Terror."

Julia Conley, staff writer ·


Sunrise Ends 400-Mile Climate March With Arrests at Ted Cruz's House

The Gulf South marchers demand that Congress and the Biden White House pass bold climate jobs legislation, including a bill to create a Civilian Climate Corps.

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


Global Hopes in Doubt After G7 Fails to Meet Climate Finance Pledges for Poor Nations

"I'd have really hoped for a clearer signal on how and when we will be able to see the commitment to mobilize the $100 billion fulfilled."

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·