How Sanders’ Budget Bill Can Save The Democrats In The Midterms

and how ‘moderate’ Democrats might seal their doom.

By Gabriel Velásquez

Photo By Brian van der Brug

It's fairly safe to say that we live in quite possibly the strangest time in modern day political

history. We are living in a world where an independent senator caucusing with the Democratic Party is the best chance for that party to not repeat their 2010 loss in the next midterms; however, it seems as if history is repeating itself yet again. Let’s revisit the last time Democrats had the House, Senate, and Presidency back in 2009.

The Obama administration was attempting to get America back on track following a recent economic downturn - sound familiar yet? It should. However, ‘moderate’ Democratic senators, at the time, held up his agenda in order to appease the donors that put them in power in the first place. This caused the Democratic party to lose in such a spectacular fashion in 2010 due to being viewed as having done nothing with their newly earned power.

I say ‘moderate’ with quotation marks because that is how they would like to be portrayed. If you just look at where they stand on issues and where their campaign donations come from you will see that these senators are not moderate at all. They’re blatantly corrupt, morally bankrupt frauds who have, and will once again, sell out their values to the highest bidder no matter who it ends up hurting in the long run. That is why a lot -if not all- of the ‘moderate’ Democrats oppose the very popular idea of campaign finance regulation. It would be the death knell for their gravy train of legalized bribes and they will have only one group left to answer to: their constituents. Clearly, if you’re an elected shill for corrupt entities, that would not be an ideal scenario to be in.

However I’m getting ahead of myself, we need to go back to the 2010 midterms and what legislative battles occurred during the first two years of the Obama presidency. The largest battle during that time occurred over healthcare and the creation of Obama care. 59 Senators and the President all wanted to add in the very popular idea of a public option where the government would directly compete with private insurance companies. However, one Senator who was bought and paid for by the pharmaceutical companies put any idea of a public option to a complete halt. Allowing only a right-wing healthcare plan that was initially made by the heritage foundation to pass through the senate.

If your grand idea for this nation, as a Democrat, is to do what Mitt Romney did as governor of Massachusates did back in 2006 then obviously you will not have a great time during midterms as your party will be blamed for doing nothing the past two years when you were in complete power. The damages for the party’s inaction to a myriad of issues isn’t surprising to anyone yet they were absolutely destroyed in the Governor's races. Democrats lost previously held governorships in Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Maine and Ohio - all of which now granted these new Republican governors the ability to disenfranchise, discourage and obstruct typical democratic voters from voting in future elections under the guise of election security. In the U.S. House, Democrats lost over 63 house seats in the 2010 midterm. Such a drastic change had not occurred since 1948. Republicans gained six seats in the U.S. Senate, including Illinois, Obama’s home state, which he won two years earlier by over 61.92%. It should be painfully clear to everyone who was alive to remember the 2010 elections as a warning to any party that has a governmental trifecta to actually do something with their power, and more importantly, do something popular with it in order to stave off the worst of the effects in the midterms.


In essence, that is what Bernie Sanders is attempting to accomplish with his 3.5 trillion dollar budget bill. It’s essentially a list on all things both Sanders and Biden promised on the campaign trail during the 2020 election and while admittedly it does not have everything progressives wanted in the bill. It is something to marvel at how one bill could so quickly bring us to a standard of living other first world nations have been enjoying for nearly half a century. However, this bill has one great thing going for it, its popularity. Every single item in this bill is incredibly popular with the American population.

A Quinnipiac poll conducted July 27-Aug. 2 asked, "Do you support or oppose a $3.5 trillion spending bill on social programs such as child care, education, family tax breaks and expanding Medicare for seniors?" and found 62% support, 32% opposition. A Monmouth University poll conducted July 21-26 asked about the new $3.5 trillion bill, describing it this way: "A plan to expand access to healthcare and child care, and provide paid leave and college tuition support." The results were similar to the Quinnipiac poll, with 63% in favor and 35% opposed. It should be noted here that differences in wording don't seem to make a lot of difference when it comes to the results in these polls. Additionally it is shown with these two polls that mentioning the price tag of the bill does not indicate hardly any fluctuation of support or opposition of this bill as the Quinnipiac poll mentioned its price while the Monmouth University poll did not and there was little to no difference in the result.

Even when you give likely voters the full and complete summary of the legislation, it still polls extremely well. The progressive think tank, Data for Progress, conducted an online poll among likely voters from July 30-Aug. 2, with a much more detailed 130-word description of the bill. Included in the question was a bulleted list of six specific proposals in the plan, the $3.5 trillion price tag and even a description of the "reconciliation" procedure necessary to pass it. All of this - and the online mode, and the sample of likely voters as opposed to national adults - also didn't seem to make much difference; 66% of likely voters in their sample supported the plan as described, while 26% opposed it - similar to the Quinnipiac and Monmouth results.

The Democratic party has such an amazing and unique opportunity to make this piece of legislation the focal point of the 2022 midterms because Republicans have nothing new other than the same recycled culture war talking points which has been their message since 2009. If the Democratic party wanted to essentially guarantee the youth voter turnout of the 2018 midterms this would be one of the best ways to replicate those results. However for whatever reason this reconciliation bill dies or is watered down past the point of recognition for progressives the Democratic party will seal their fate to repeat the 2010 midterm election cycle. An outcome like that will create an easy pathway for Trump to return or someone worse to become president in 2024.


Photo By T.J. Kirkpatrick

Meet the 2 Democratic Senators who seem hellbent to do just that as neither of them are not motivated by standard electoral pressures. Kristen Sinema and Joe Manchin have both been an incredible thorn in the side of the Biden administration particularly when it comes to passing this reconciliation budget bill. For Manchin’s reserves on this bill he was hesitant about the price tag even though earlier this year he was fine with a 4 trillion dollar bill, however after he got exactly what he wanted with the bill’s price tag being cut down to 3.5 trillion. Joe Manchin now has the gall to demand even more for his corporate donors as he’s now demanding Democrats cut the bill's price tag in half yet again.

However, Sinema’s reservations with what reservation she has with the particular part if the bill are unknown to the general public as she has not released what about the bill she has problems with. Frankly many Democrats within the US House and Senate are equally perplexed as to what they have a problem within the bill other than the price tag. “There has been no clarity in what they actually want, both Sinema and Manchin,” progressive Representative Ilhan Omar told the Washington Post on the 30th, of September. This behavior by these two Senators is quite disheartening to the many Americans relying on the government's support to help them stave off the worst effects this pandemic had to offer. All while it seems Biden is starting to buckle to the empty demands of Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema, Bernie Sanders sums up the importance of this bill in this tweet.

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