This is what democrats do. They argue for what they believe in. Then they listen to the opponent’s argument. Then they agree on middle ground. That’s what makes democracy work.
A special kind of compromiseis badly needed. I mean that Democrats should compromise among themselves. The Democratic representatives in the U.S. House must forge a compromise among themselves that they can then represent to the whole country.
I’m a social democrat, meaning I’m in the left wing of the party. I believe in Medicare for All. I believe in the Green New Deal. I believe that it is urgent that we impeach the loathsome sociopath impersonating a president. But I believe in something else more.
I’m a majoritarian, meaning I want the Democratic Party to build a stable majority in this country that can govern for a generation. You don’t do that by holding purity votes and holding out for exactly what you want. You do that by forging compromises and achieving significant legislation that moves the country forward.
This is not the time to be trying to scrape off those moderate Democrats who won in Republican districts. This is the time to listen to them. They are important messengers from persuadable voters. They are also messengers from the Democrats to those persuadable voters.
What good is it going to do to elect a Democratic president for one or two terms, if the Democrats are going to be driven out of office by a Republican wrecking crew that then devotes itself to undoing all the progress that was made?
Focus on the settlement zone. Democrats should be focusing on the settlement zone, not the end zone. The settlement zone is that area between two ends where compromise is possible. It can usually lie in the middle 40 percent between the two ends. If I say $100 billion, and you say zero, then the settlement zone is somewhere between $30 billion and $70 billion. I’m going to make my argument for $100 billion, yes. But I’m going to accept something in the settlement zone.
I hope Speaker Nancy Pelosi will not give up on passing a budget in the House. This is a critical test of leadership, and it is a critical test of Democrats. If Pelosi can’t get her own party to agree on a budget, then how is she a leader? Does she know about the settlement zone? If the Democrats can’t get a plan among themselves, how are they going to govern the country?
House Democrats must remember that they are America’s team now. This is their chance to prove themselves. They can win the confidence of the country if they rise to the challenge. They can give our next president an effective force for change, if they rise to the challenge.