Earlier this year, Democrats agreed to end a government shutdown after just a few days, doing so without a deal in place to protect DACA recipients. Now, fresh off an election which will hand actual leverage back to the party for the first time in two years, it appears that they learned all the wrong lessons from that experience.
The Hill reports that Senate Democrats, including high-profile Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker—who both pushed for DACA protections to be included in last year’s spending bill—are both hedging this time around on whether or not they’ll vote for one without it. “Obviously DACA is very important to me, but I’m not prepared to give you a definite answer on that yet,” Harris told the Hill. Booker—who maintained he would push to get DACA protections into the bill—said he wouldn’t “speculate” on whether or not he’ll vote for a bill without DACA in it.
Per the Hill, this appears to be apart of a larger strategy by the caucus to not push for protections in this bill:
January’s brief government shutdown stemmed from Democrats insisting on adding language to a short-term spending package that would have protected from deportation immigrants who came to the country illegally as children, often referred to as Dreamers.
They later acknowledge, privately, that the standoff didn’t help and may even have imperiled vulnerable Democrats running for reelection in red states like Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota.
This time around, Democrats say they have no plans to include similar protective language in December’s must-pass spending bill.
This reasoning for abandoning DACA recipients again—assuming it’s accurate—isn’t just a moral failure, it also makes absolutely no political sense whatsoever. The Democrats are fresh off an election where they flipped at least 39 seats in the House and 7 governor’s seats. They also won nearly 60 percent of all votes cast in U.S. Senate races this year. The Democratic senators who did lose their re-election bids—Claire McCaskill, Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp, and Bill Nelson—were all moderates on immigration who supported ending the shutdown.
Additionally, the shutdown happened in January. It’s likely that the majority of people who went into the voting booth this year didn’t even remember it. When I started writing this blog, I thought it happened last year; in the nonstop environment for horrible news that has been this year, it may as well have.
To summarize: the Democrats took a stand, caved on it a few days later, got nothing out of the bad deal they did negotiate, had a stellar showing in an election ten months later, and their big takeaway from the shutdown? That it killed them, and that not only should they be the party of Strong Border Security, but also that they should just give up on this—again—just one month before they get a new House majority, a piece of leverage which they could theoretically use to pressure the GOP to let DACA recipients stay without fear of deportation.
You may be thinking that if the Democrats aren’t trying to work out a deal protecting DACA recipients, surely they must have some kind of plan to assuage the fears of people—some of them children—who fear that knock on the door from ICE. And they do. Per the Hill (emphasis mine)
They see the unresolved fate of Dreamers, as well as beneficiaries of temporary protected status, as a good issue for their candidates in the 2020 presidential election, when the Senate battleground map will be more favorable for Democrats than it was this year.
Fuck off. Fuck off!!!
If all of this isn’t proof of why Senate Democrats voted to support Chuck “Machiavelli” Schumer’s continued leadership by acclimation, I don’t know what is.