The Senate Democrats Failed the American People


Senate Democrats, used under Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

As the era of Trump came to a close, the Senate Democrats had an opportunity to save millions of Americans from misery. Instead they backed down from facing the Republicans and abandoned the American people.

The Democrats were, for the four years of Donald Trump’s presidency, a refuge for yellow-bellied cowards who refused to take real action against a conservative agenda. 

President Trump slammed through three conservative Supreme Court nominees, two of whom were grossly unqualified to serve, over the past four years, and the Democrats raised a meek protest. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi refused for months to impeach Trump the first time, saying to The Washington Post in March of 2019 that “impeachment is so divisive to the country…I don’t think we should go down that path because it divides the country.”  

The simple fact of the matter is that Democrats don’t like to play hardball when it comes to Republicans (of course, they have no qualms about blasting their progressive counterparts whenever they get the opportunity).

Yet, for all their cowardness and abysmal leadership, the fate of many Americans rested on the Democrats’ ability to get the job done. In late December the Democratic-controlled House had already passed the desperately needed $2,000 stimulus checks for most of the American people. The Democrats just needed to force a vote on the Senate floor, and it had a real chance of passing. 

So, with the backing of the Democratic party, the 72-year-old independent senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, stepped up to the plate for the American people. And Bernie was carrying quite a big bat. 

Sanders threatened to hold up a major defense spending bill, which President Trump had vetoed, unless Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to hold a vote on upgrading the stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000, delivering essential aid to millions of desperate Americans.

The bid to force the vote seemed like it had a good chance of succeeding. Bernie had found an unlikely ally in Republican Senator Josh Hawley, and together they pushed for desperately needed survival checks to millions of Americans on the brink of homelessness. The GOP would have been hard-pressed to defend passing a defense budget so bloated that one might mistake it for a beached whale while at the same time denying emergency aid to Americans desperate to find some way to avoid starvation, eviction and bankruptcy. 

Senator Ed Markey (a Democractic senator from Massachusetts) said it best: “We’re in the middle of an unprecedented crisis in our country. We have a health care crisis. We have an unemployment crisis. We have a hunger crisis. We have a housing crisis. We have an addiction crisis. We have a moral crisis in this country. The United States government should be responding to the needs, to the desperation, of families in our country at this time.”

So, all the Democrats had to do was help Bernie play hardball with their sworn enemy, and they would save millions of people from suffering. 

But we live in America, and that’s not how the story ever goes here. The op-eds and columns from editorial boards rolled in. Columns in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Bloomberg ran, about how the American economy had “healed significantly” and that “people didn’t need the help,” even though eight million Americans have fallen into poverty since the summer, and nearly 26 million Americans don’t have enough to eat, as The Washington Post itself reported.

 McConnell gladly used the talking media’s points, and his Republican colleagues added some good old “support the troops” rhetoric for good measure. And that was all it took. The Democrats folded. 

Forty-one Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and then-Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, showed their true colors and condemned millions of Americans to suffering by letting go of the only leverage they had and letting the defense bill pass. In fact, the Democrats provided the majority of the votes for the measure to end debate on the defense bill. 

 Only six Democratic caucus members had the guts to do what was right. Those six — Bernie Sanders, Ed Markey, Chris Van Hollen, Jeff Merkley, Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden — are the only Democratic senators who should have a seat after their next respective primary races. Every single other Democratic senator has betrayed their constituents, along with the rest of the American people, and they don’t deserve to hold office. 

So when an American family goes hungry at night or loses their apartment because they couldn’t pay the rent, I’m sure they’ll be glad that their vice president and the rest of the Senate Democrats cared so much about the troops that they’d condemn the American people to misery.