Lesson: The Center IS the Problem

Ready… Aim… Fire!

Over the weekend I read an interesting analysis (and I forgot to bookmark it, d’oh!) that posited that designing a political strategy around House centrists was a tactical mistake. You see, centrists from swing states are always trying to appeal to the OTHER side to keep their jobs, and almost always are voted out.

That’s the swing in swing states.

The problem is that the base feels betrayed and let down when the leadership tries to craft “protections” for them by putting them on key committees or watering down legislation so that these representatives can go back to swingy suburbs of Possom Hollar and brag that they sure owned the Libs.

And then the Libs back home vote them out. Rinse/repeat. It happens every off-Presidential election and the House switches sides.

We saw this in action recently when three Dem House centrists voted down the legislation in committee (so it never makes it to the floor) that would allow the government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare. All three of them had major donations from Big Pharma. You could see this barreling down the tracks, coming right at us.

We (probably?) had the votes to pass this if it made it to the floor.

Activists blamed Nancy Pelosi for putting these three Pharma-owned assets on the key committees instead of members of the Squad, out of feat that the Squad was going to go full-bore Socialist. The activists pointed out that the Squad was already in favor of this legislation and would not have tanked it in committee. Putting three centrists on any committee is enough to tank legislation.

I’m a fan of Nancy Smash (as everyone knows I wish that she would teach the next generation of leaders how she does it), but I think that this is a legit analysis of a tactical mistake, and as much as I hate the Dems in Disarray headlines, I can see how this feeds it. She’s trying to protect her majority but its price is the Building Back Better Agenda is stalled, if not doomed —as these three mooks proved. It didn’t have to happen this way.

The Republicans went radical a while ago and they don’t really have centrists any longer; when they take back the House (and at some point they will), they will not face this as a problem. They will ram through tax cuts, roll-back protections and screw all progress we’ve made (such as it is).

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5 Responses to Lesson: The Center IS the Problem

  1. spotthedog says:

    Excellent take on ‘the problem’ TG. I fear the Squad going full-bore socialist about as much as I fear an aggressively large gooey chocolate sundae with horrifying whipped cream and a calamitous cherry on top.

    Liked by 3 people

    • tengrain says:

      Spot –

      The first three items I posted this morning are all related: It’s the Center, Stupid.

      It’s just mind boggling that anyone can see it any other way.




  2. beckymaenot says:

    When politics have gone full on divisive and of a two party system- only 1 party is willing to actually govern, then that party MUST play to win. And that means going full on progressive. I get that the D’s try to be all inclusive- but the fact is, not enough R’s will cross over anymore to make cooperation an actual, real thing. And we can’t get ANYTHING done if we don’t win elections.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You see, centrists from swing states are always trying to appeal to the OTHER side to keep their jobs, and almost always are voted out.

    Weird, how their base hates them for not representing their own voters, yet the other side, mysteriously, would rather have the real deal of the 2000volt jolt to the hippocampus that is the GQP instead of the bland, barely-able-to-dull-the-withdrawal maintenance offered by the Centrists.


    • tengrain says:

      Yup – that’s the issue.

      So to do big important things, Pelosi is protecting the centrists to protect her majority, which is keeping her from doing big important things.

      It is a strategic error.



      Liked by 1 person

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