Welcome to a premium Friday night edition of Progressives Everywhere!
Here we are, at the end of another long week of watching Democrats wobble between showing that they’ve learned the hard political lessons of the last two decades and falling back into the bad habits that they developed in 1996.
There are two distinct factions within the party at this point and it’s hard to know which one has the upper hand. Some lawmakers in DC are pushing the party towards enacting significant progressive legislation that would re-establish Democrats as the party of economic populism, while the other faction is trying to cut them down at the finish line. This morning, Larry Summers got Politico to print that his “analysis” calling for phasing out stimulus checks was all the rage in the White House, but that seemed to be debunked pretty quickly.
And yet, reports this afternoon suggested that the debate over stimulus phase-outs was still raging within the party and anyone’s game (I’m Team Jared Bernstein). It’s exhausting in and of itself; taken as a preview of the next six months of Democratic lawmaking, it’s downright infuriating. Republicans are sociopaths, but you’ve got to perversely admire their sheer determination and general unity whilst in the majority.
In case any Democratic Senators are reading this…
Speaking of perverts: Why the hell is Larry Summers still around? He’s not only wrong about everything, but he’s also a goddamn creep. There are plenty of economists who aren’t also obviating sex predators — let’s start working them into the rotation, Washington.
Okay, now time for the news!
Important News You Need to Know
Preamble: With so much going on, I’m planning to send out more premium editions of Progressives Everywhere per week, but with a bit of a twist. Instead of going deep on a few subjects each time, I’m going to turn some issues into fast-paced notebooks so that I can cover more stories. That way it’s easier to track ongoing issues and introduce new ones that bear watching.
Facing a gigantic budget shortfall due to Covid, many legislative Democrats in New York are talking about re-instituting a tax on Wall Street that would raise about $4 billion a year. Predictably, Gov. Andrew Cuomo hates it (remember, he speaks with his Hamptons buddies by phone every day) and Wall Street is threatening to move to New Jersey. Let me tell you something from personal experience: they won’t even go to family functions across the Hudson, much less relocate their seat of power to Jersey.
Farmworkers have largely been exempt from minimum wage laws since they were first established during the New Deal, a painful concession made to get racist southern Democrats on board. As modern Virginia Democrats finally raise the state’s pitiful minimum, there’s a push to include farmworkers this time around. Predictably and pathetically, it’s receiving a lot of pushback.
Amazon is embarrassing itself in its attempt to break the Alabama union drive. Voting starts Monday.
Speaking of right-wing interests trying to break progressive coalitions of working people, a new report indicates that all the garbage that Republicans spewed about voter fraud in Wisconsin was indeed garbage. A record 72% of eligible Wisconsinites turned out to vote in the state, which is of course an amazing thing.
This Sunday’s big newsletter story will focus on how expanding the Supreme Court is the only viable way to save democracy, which has been especially under attack since the eviscerating of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. Several Republican-held states have already indicated that they’re going throw voter suppression into overdrive this year and now you can add Texas to that list. The guy they’re putting in front of “election integrity” is a straight-up conspiracy theorist lunatic.
OK, want a sliver of good news? Give it up for the tattered remains of the VRA, which just won Spanish language ballots for voters in 31 Florida counties.
Last summer I spent a lot of time covering the dance that Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds was doing around restoring the rights of the formerly incarcerated. She signed a limited executive order just a few months ahead of Election Day, but the fight to fully restore rights is still ongoing.
Planned Parenthood is desperately clinging to its status as a Medicaid partner in Texas. A judge just granted the vital women’s healthcare clinic system a reprieve, but this bottle is ongoing.
Medicaid was expanded in Idaho in 2018, which pissed off Republicans enough that they were going to try to cut reimbursements this year, even amid the pandemic. And yet due to the pandemic, the state is getting enough money from the federal government that Idaho Republicans can’t justify their cuts. Now, there’s nothing wrong with moving to pay for outcomes… so long as the providers come along. Otherwise, you’re just creating a smaller set of options for Medicaid users.
Been meaning to link to this: How monopolies slowed down the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
Mental health check-in: My wife and I just canceled our wedding party for good; it was originally scheduled for last April, then last August, and then this coming April, which obviously won’t be viable. Instead of continuing to push it back and potentially having it a full two years after we initially planned, it just made more sense to move on with our lives.
Thankfully, we still went through with actual nuptials last April, improvising a ceremony on our NYC roof during the peak of the city’s COVID chaos, with a friend performing the vows and two more looking on from afar as the required witnesses. If not having a party is the worst thing that happens to us during this terrible epoch, we got off pretty lucky.
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