Earlier this week, Erick pointed out that the biggest winner of the apparent Democratic move to impeach President Trump was the NRA and the biggest losers were environmental activists who had hoped to turn adoring media coverage of a Swedish teenager’s speech about climate change into legislative action on the subject.
Well, it looks like Democrats are starting to notice that their laser-like focus on impeachment might just might make it look like they can’t walk and chew gum and that voters might think that’s a bad look for a party asking to be given back the Presidency and control of both chambers of Congress.
Influential Democrats outside of Congress are starting to point to ways in which elected Democrats can mitigate against fallout from pursuing impeachment – basically, by suggesting it will prompt Nancy Pelosi & co. to do more, not less, on areas where bipartisan agreement exists in order to look like fully-functioning adults capable of governing.
In Politico’s Morning Trade newsletter today, two Democrats are quoted making the point that Democrats moving on impeachment could ironically make it more likely that Democrats will pass the US-Mexico-Canada trade Agreement (USMCA):
“Democrats have to be able to say, ‘We did something. We did something with our majority, and we did it for workers,'” Canadian American Business Council CEO Maryscott Greenwood said.
Added Ed Gerwin, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute: “My bet is that [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi doubles down on trying to show progress on issues like USMCA to help members show constituents that Democrats aren’t abandoning their legislative duties.”
For the record, Maryscott Greenwood is the former Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Georgia, as you can see here, so she’s not just some random trade association CEO. She has some clout.
Obviously, so does the Progressive Policy Institute, even though it’s considered a little passe by the Squad and other hardcore leftists.
But set these quotes themselves aside, Nancy Pelosi’s evident interest in a speedy impeachment process is another big tell that Democrats are worried voters will see them as one-trick ponies myopically focused on taking down Trump, rather than progressing work on a bunch of important issues.
Why be “speedy” if you have a bunch of legislative victories under your belt to boast about, and no need to show more value, fast, before 2020 actually rolls around?
The irony is, while media is going to focus a ton on impeachment, Democrats now have an extra-heavy incentive to work to get USMCA, legislation to bring down prescription drug prices, family leave legislation, and further criminal justice reform, perhaps, passed. It’s the best pathway to looking competent and willing to work with Trump even while they move forward with a process that they’ll say is about holding him accountable, but will look like rank, cheap partisanship to a good 25 percent of the country, minimum.
The reality is that Trump offered praise for Nancy Pelosi’s prescription drug plan.
His administration has previously shown commitment to using existing law to hold down prescription drug prices, for example by setting ceiling price regulation and instituting transparency measures relating to the 340B drug discount program that benefits a lot of Trump voters in rural America. Democrats and Republicans have both rebuffed proposals to cut the program.
Ivanka Trump wants action on family leave, and that means her Dad wants it, too and will fight for it, if only to keep his favorite kid happy. Conveniently, Democrats want family leave legislation, too, even if there might be some quibbling about the details.
Criminal justice reform was a rare area of bipartisan agreement that benefited both Trump and Congress politically. Both have bad approval ratings that could do with a boost, and there’s more that can be done in that area. Again, it’s a personal focus for the President’s son-in-law, which means it’s a personal focus for Ivanka, which means the President will want it done. So should Democrats, with their intense focus on reducing the size of the prison population in part as a racial justice push.
Might we wind up seeing a more active Congress as impeachment seems to get nearer and nearer, or more gridlock? Signs from Democrats are that they want the activity, not a legislative standstill. And for all the talk about Trump being an ultra-conservative extremist, the reality is, there’s plenty policy wise that he and Pelosi can agree on – and very well might, when push comes to shove.