@jacklerner They should have:
-focused heavily on corruption, which is deeply unpopular
-aggressively investigated executive branch wrongdoing
-been willing to hyperventilate more on camera about Trump's awfulness instead of taking the high road
-used funding to exact concessions/leverage
@jacklerner -just acted FASTER - e.g., the initial request and subpoenas for his tax returns took months, could have been done on day one. The handful of hearings they did conduct generally took place months after the misconduct they were allegedly responding to
@jacklerner -on impeachment, they should have either impeached more broadly or multiple times, dragging it out to keep his misconduct in the news permanently
-more fully investigated the whistleblower claims (e.g., they never attempted to get the server allegedly hiding other conversations)
@jacklerner -the scope of these impeachment proceedings should obviously have included conduct like emoluments violations, which are more run-of-the-mill corruption that don't require understanding of East European geopolitics
-they should have followed up on the Mueller report
@jacklerner -during covid-19 they should have used the must-pass economic stimulus bills as vehicles for critical electoral protections, like mail voting (at the time they said they'd use the Phase Four bill, which never came)
@jacklerner -they should have explored creative use of procedural and constitutional authorities to make spectacles, oppose Trump, and affect outcomes. Stuff like inherent contempt may not work but they were scared of trying and failing, didn't think about the opportunity cost of not trying
@jacklerner None of this is a panacea, of course. The House is still only one part of the government. But that doesn't mean they can't actively probe for ways to conduct real (urgently needed) oversight, and look for political fights with the unpopular president.
@jacklerner And there are a lot of potential benefits, even when you fail:
-you might dig up scandals that grow much bigger (a la Benghazi/Clinton's emails)
-you keep the admin on its back foot, use their time and resources
-you provide transparency
-you help keep voters and media focused

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More from @whstancil

23 Sep
Okay, here's my plea to media organizations, especially the Times:

The major story of this election is Trump's unprecedented efforts to lock in a victory through non-electoral means. It's effectively a coup. Please, please treat this as more important than the hors race.
At this point, no one could possibly have any real doubt that Trump want to at least ATTEMPT some scheme to overturn the election, probably involving mail-in votes and the Supreme Court. He talks about it constantly, and he's not a subtle man.
Even the possibility of such a scheme being attempted is a monumental story: the president of the United States attempting to disrupt democracy in the United States. If it is attempted, it's a much bigger story. And of course, if it succeeds.. that's the end of the Republic.
Read 11 tweets
23 Sep
You people need to stop living in a fantasy universe where Dems will ask good questions at a confirmation hearing and voters will suddenly be educated and something will come of it. It will be vaguely reported as “heated” and nothing will come of it.
Attending the hearing won’t sway anyone, very little will come out of it, it would normalize the process as politics as usual. The public already opposes the nomination and it doesn’t really matter. Doing something dramatic and splashy is better politics.
Because I’m old enough to remember the Kavanaugh hearings, I realize that asking tricksy questions in a confirmation proceeding actually makes no difference at all and will be barely be reported.
Read 6 tweets
23 Sep
If and when Trump's stolen Supreme Court strikes down the ACA, remember that Democrats could have saved it with a tiny change the statute - which they could put in the funding bill right now, forcing a huge pre-election fight with the GOP over health care. prospect.org/health/pelosi-…
It's inexplicable that Pelosi doesn't do this. It would:
-draw attention to the anti-ACA SCOTUS case ahead of the confirmation fight
-force GOP reps, senators, and the admin to go on the record as trying to kill the law

And it would all happen immediately before the election
Isn't this the exact fight Pelosi wants to have? A giant showdown over health care - and specifically, over how the GOP is still trying to remove the ACA and preexisting condition protections?

She could FORCE the GOP to have that fight.
Read 4 tweets
22 Sep
Trump is announcing that he doesn't want to count all the ballots. But since the only sane reaction to this is to accuse one party of gross authoritarianism, and that's against the both-sides rules of media balance, media is largely ignoring these threats.
Trump's going to have free run to subvert the election in plain sight, because our media can only cover lawbreaking and scandal up to the point where it stops being contestable. Once they lose the ability to hedge about what's happening, they simply stop talking about it.
TRUMP: I've got the best economic record. Also, I'm going to legally challenge mail-in ballots as fraudulent and if I lose, the election was rigged.

BIDEN: I've got the best economic record.

MEDIA: The latest from the horse race! Candidates trade dueling claims on the economy
Read 4 tweets
22 Sep
But seriously, a campaign to specifically add four seats to the Senate and a bunch of courts would actually solve some of the problems of endless freeform norm-breaking, by stating a goal certain and a specific, unified response for people to rally around
Right now you've got a situation where people kind of blur from "no" at the very far right of the left-leaning coalition to "add 400 seats and/or abolish most courts" at the far left, which is a problem if you want to organize for democracy reform.
"Add four seats" is like "$15 minimum wage" - a specific target that prevents the coalition from breaking into people who want to go higher and go lower.
Read 4 tweets
22 Sep
One myth that's helping destroy our democracy:

The idea that "public opinion" is something that exists independently of elite opinion, a mysterious collective force with deep economic and social precursors, knowable only through polls, but guiding all political outcomes.
The relationship between "public opinion" and political and social elites is perceived as the relationship between a pond and bugs skimming over the surface of the pond. The pond affects the bugs but is unaffected by them.

But that's totally wrong.
Society isn't made up of some mystical volk around which we all maneuver. It's a bunch of social links and hierarchies, and our political and social elites are perched at the top of them. They're not irrelevant to the public or at its mercy; they're the most powerful part of it.
Read 10 tweets

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