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Why Senator McConnell Is Sure to Keep (or “Keep”) His Promise

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There’s been lots of talk about how taking a promise from Senator McConnell is something only a fool would do, after all his previous acts of bad faith. But there’s good reason to assume that McConnell will keep the promise he made to the immigration crowd of some kind of consideration of immigration legislation.

If McConnell did NOT keep his promise, that would precipitate another shutdown which the Democrats could enter into unified because they would know that it would be the guy who broke his promise — Senator McConnell — who was to BLAME for the shutdown. And blame is the name of the game, when it comes to shutdown. He who is blamed, loses.

The issue will be just how much will McConnell have to do to be able to successfully claim to have fulfilled his promise. I don’t know, for example, if his obligations will compel him to allow something meaningful to be done in terms of giving good immigration legislation A CHANCE. (Knowing McConnell, he will do the least he feels he needs to do for enough Americans to believe his claim to have kept his promise.)

That’s why, regardless of how the promise is couched, the Democrats should begin NOW to set it up for the promise to be so interpreted that fulfilling it creates a reasonable chance for some sort of success in enacting meaningful legislation. Nothing less than that can be satisfactory.

So it’s time to start moving the national expectations about the promise, pushing things in a direction that has a chance to succeed. First to put pressure on McConnell and the Senate, then on Trump to lean on Ryan in the House for passage, then on Ryan to waive the Hastert rule and allow a majority of the House to pass something on DACA that’s favored by at least 70% of the American people.

Let the Democrats begin now the battle over just what the Republicans are obligated to do with respect to immigration legislation.

  • James McCarthy

    Focusing on McConnel to keep a promise to Dems is missing the problem in the House and WH. Mitch can keep his promise while fully cognizant that Goodlatte’s radical right bill will be supported in the House and, then, in the WH. IMHO, DACA folks will be screwed as well as Dems by the ideological bloc sustaining the radical right, Bannon, and Steve Miller and, now, COS Kelly.

    Dems and other lefties have more work and cultivation of voters to accomplish before feeling any confidence in achieving goals. The behavior of our GA in the coming months is likely to be instructive in this regard.

  • Andy Schmookler

    I may over-estimate the possibilities of orchestrating something successfully, but it is not the case that I’m “missing” the problem in the House and the White House.

    Trump has said he wants to be good to the DACA crowd, but he seems continually to revert to his racist hostility to immigrants who aren’t white like him and the Norweigians. Nothing can pass the House unless the Speaker is willing to bring it to a vote of the whole House, rather than insist that it be favored by “a majority of the majority.”

    The question is whether sufficient pressures can be brought to bear to get Trump to lean on Ryan and Ryan to suspend the Hastert rule. What the Dems have going for them is the widespread popularity of what the Democrats want to achieve for the DACA people. And they’ve got potential leverage over shutting down the government.

    Whether those two levers, plus an effective rhetorical campaign to drive public opinion and involvement, can be sufficient to get something accomplished is uncertain. It may be a long shot. But then, with the Rs in charge of everything, it was bound to be difficult to accomplish anything on immigration, whether this (first) shutdown had continued or not.

    So if the goal is to take care of the DACA people, it was always going to be a challenge, wasn’t it?

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