Spooled thread on Biden and bipartisanship

Amateur political analysis ahead. What are the chances for bipartisanship under Biden. Roughly speaking, that means whose votes would he need to get to 60 in the Senate, requiring 10 Republicans

Repubs who have voted with Trump less than 75 per cent of the time
Of these, Paul and Lee have dissented mostly from the right

Next 5
Scott voted to overturn the election

Next 5
Toomey, Graham, Johnson, Hawley (!), Lankford

Need I say more


Note: I excluded far-right Senator Lummins, who took her seat two weeks ago, and has cast hardly any votes

15 thoughts on “Spooled thread on Biden and bipartisanship

  1. This is me being stupid. Why does Biden need 60 votes in the senate? As I unserstand it, he needs 50-50 in the Senate plus the VP’s casting vote to get legislation through. He presum,ably needs 67 votes (over 2/3rds) in the Senate to win the Impeachment trial against Trump? This is assuming all Senators are at the vote. So why does he need 60 votes for anything? It seems a superfluity for some issues and insufficient for impeachment.

  2. Under the current rules, most though not all legislation requires 60 votes to overcome the filibuster. Biden doesn’t have the votes to remove the filibuster (a couple of Dems want to keep it). He can do quite a bit without that.

    The point of the post was whether he should do what he can with Democratic votes only, or try to bring enough Repubs on board to overcome the filibuster. I think the latter option is futile, given the list above.

  3. Professor, you know the Senate better than I do. (I should probably pay more attention.) One of the nicest things about Biden is, he will try anyway. Perhaps his most important achievement will just be reminding the country how a decent president behaves. A large part of that is to be president for everyone.

    Anyhow, it’s been basically gridlock for years – we’re used to it. I’m still happy this week though!

  4. The annoying thing is that there is no mention at all in the US Constitution about the filibuster. It’s just something mid-nineteenth century politicians decided upon. It’s become poison. Even more annoying, you no longer have to do anything to filibuster, ala Jimmy Stewart, just announce you intend to filibuster and that’s it. And yes, a few Dems–especially resident Neanderthal Joe Manchin–don’t want to kill it. It’s going to be a long two-to-four years for the US.

  5. … the hill. The congressional GOP is now bitterly divided between legitimists (led by McConnell) and insurrectionists (led by Hawley and Cruz). It’s hard to see how the crack can be painted over. McConnell’s interest is now to bury Trump completely, preferably in a prison cell, bankrupt and reviled. This probably implies crushing Cruz and Hawley too. Will a divided Senate GOP caucus be capable of organising filibusters?

  6. “Both houses of the Australian Parliament have strictly enforced rules on how long members may speak, so filibusters are generally not possible, though this is not the case in some state legislatures.”

    If the USA can’t deal with something as basic and archaic as the filibuster and the other faults in their system, and finally enter the modern age constitutionally speaking, then they collapse. It’s that simple. I wonder if at some point they will decide they would rather survive or just let the Whigs (now the oligarchs of capital) rule everything. American democracy, so-called, is still a primitive beast trapped in the 1776 mindset of Whigs (oligarchs), elite property rights, empire, (wage) slavery, dispossession and exploitation. Frankly, I doubt they can change. Only a mass movement from the base can change them. The elites will not permit that. They would rather pull the pillars down and kill everyone.

  7. Ikon said: “Only a mass movement from the base can change them.”

    Mobilise shame positively.

    “Shame Can Lead to Real Change Right Now

    Interview with Jennifer Jacquet [1.13.21]

    “Shame is felt over the whole self. The feeling says something about who you are. We look in the mirror and see who we are, as America, as a nation. Embarrassment is a reasonable feeling, but it doesn’t capture the whole experience.

    “ZEITmagazin ONLINE: But there must be something specifically American about this shame. When right-wing populists recently penetrated the Bundestag in Berlin, the Germans did not show themselves massively and publicly ashamed. Is shame the downside of American patriotism?

    “Jacquet: Shame is the flipside of pride. And of course you are right, a high level of identification with one’s own country and patriotism are widespread in the USA. I think there should be a separate word for shame about one’s own country. Who better to invent that than the Germans, who have so many beautiful and apt words for specific things. Incidentally, I find it remarkable that you say the Germans are not as ashamed of their country in the same way as the Americans.

    “ZEITmagazin ONLINE: Why, do you see it differently?

    “Jacquet: Who, if not the Germans, has experience of collective shame about their own country? Shame about the Third Reich and the Holocaust is deeply rooted in German society. A few years ago, I worked with scientists from the Max Planck Institute, and we wanted to carry out studies on the topics of shame, honor and guilt. The scientists said at the time: We cannot carry out these studies in Germany because the Germans are particularly sensitive to shame due to the history of the country. I believe that this experience can also mobilize in a positive way.

    “ZEITmagazin ONLINE: To what extent?

    “Jacquet: There are strict laws in Germany that make denying the Holocaust, for example, a criminal offense. One possible result of collective shame is such a sensitivity, an increased vigilance for harmful social developments. I hope that what happened in the Capitol will motivate you to take concrete steps in the right direction. The first signs of this are already there, such as the demand for Donald Trump’s impeachment.

    “ZEITmagazin ONLINE: The author and activist Margeaux Feldman wrote a few days ago: “Shame (…) keeps us from being active.” On the contrary, you now say that shame has a mobilizng effect.

    “Jacquet: Shame can be both activating and paralyzing. It’s not an either-or in this case. Of course, one of the consequences of being ashamed can be a desire to hide and walk away. But the current shame can also mobilize, it can lead to something really changing. Many people in the United States are motivated right now to take the next steps to ensure that something like the Capitol can never happen again.

    “People are rewarded for their shamelessness by getting on the news.”
    —Jennifer Jacquet”


    And Chrome web browser will now remind of who to be ashamed by…

    “Asterisk of Shame
    Adds a red asterisk following the names of the 147 Senators and Representatives who voted to overturn the 2020 election results.

    “This extension searches web pages for the names of the 147 Republican congresspeople who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, and when found, adds a simple asterisk “*” to their name. This is a reference to the “asterisk of shame” that is sometimes referred to when describing how people will be remembered in the history books. The intention is to provide contextual information that is part of the public record about a matter of public importance, and not to encourage harassment of any kind.”

  8. Right wing and white wing radicalisation has been evident for some years, but the various studies and reports on it as a phenomenon have been buried or largely ignored. Some of it is latent racism, some of it is overt racism, as in the white supremacists. Trump coalesced the paramilitary groups and the neo-Nazis, neo-fascists, gun-toting clowns, and a mixture of generic white people with a grievance. Trump and his ReTrumplican enablers then lit the fuse by pointing the federation of foolish people and dangerous people at the Capitol Building and its lawmaker occupants. There is a real chance that a court will find crimes took place that involved sedition, conspiracy, incitement of insurrection—what ever the proper legal wording is for those crimes.

    Mitch McConnell got his judges appointed, after stalling the process during the Obama years. Now that he is in essence a minority leader, at least for the next two years, I think he’ll concentrate on cleaning house, ridding the Republican party of as much Trump influence as possible. If he were to convict Trump at his impeachment trial, he would secure Trump’s permanent removal from any official capacity. I suspect McConnell would be thinking along those lines, for it would provide a window in which he could see to the expulsion of some of the more radical Trumpicans and perhaps improve the senate make-up on the Republican side at the next election (two years’ hence).

    For the time being, Mitch McConnell doesn’t have a squirrel-grip on the nuts of the Republican senate; there are simply too many radical ReTrumplicans who have burrowed into it. This might mean McConnell is more amenable to some bipartisan work, if it helps him set up candidates for the next senate election opportunity. Even so, I’d say real bipartisanship is a ship that sailed, well before Trump careened into it.

    I hope that while Democrats push their agenda, they do not shy away from a reckoning for the Capital Insurrection Day collaborators. This includes a hodge-podge of funders, people who created and supported chat media platforms devised for this purpose, certain politicians who deliberately created and grew the conspiracy theory to support the ultimate rally and insurrection, and of course the question of the role of Trump and other speakers at the rally before the insurrection. If I were in Nancy Pelosi’s shoes, I would wait to see some of the evidence that the FBI has gathered up—the chat room messages, texts, audio records from walkie-talkie apps, blogs, and interviews with some of the perps; with that evidence at hand, then send the article of impeachment across to the senate, and have a real trial—not a Mitch McConnell special, like the previous impeachment—and use the FBI evidence from court documents to absolutely bury Trump. If they try to do the trial too soon, there will be less evidence available for use in it, and the case might appear too weak for enough Republicans to be willing to convict. An overwhelming case, on the other hand, would do it, I think, for McConnell won’t block Republicans from voting to convict, and nor could he block all of them.

    Finally, I think that a number of the more radical right groups will turn on Trump, for he threw them all under the bus in his video denouncement of the insurrectionists who broke the law. Given how many of them were claiming that Trump wanted them to do it, and the irony of facing lengthy jail terms for damaging federal property (a Trump executive order, one that Trump mentioned in his rally as the reason why BLM and Antifa people weren’t damaging federal property any more), I think not only will a number of them roll over and give information to the FBI, but they might harbour a desire for real revenge against the guy who could have pardoned them, but didn’t. As far as we know.

  9. The only thing Trump did in 4 years that surprised me was putting tariffs on China .That showed me that the ruling class had lost control of its electorally useful fire to a greater degree than I thought it had. Now having got what they wanted from him (plus a bit more), and finally feeling shame ,the establishment wants to purge the party of him as if he was simply an embarrassing accident .Anyone who had seen 10 minutes of The Apprentice or read 5 pages of any of his books should have known exactly what was coming.

  10. Anonymous: “I’d say real bipartisanship is a ship that sailed, well before Trump careened into it.”

    Allow me a Limey peeve rant. “Careen” is a transitive verb properly applied to sailing ships, and means “to haul a ship up on to a beach, lay it on its side, and scrape the barnacles off”. It’s obviously a vital term of art, if you are a seventeenth- or eighteenth-century pirate, and should be reserved for the exclusive use of the profession. The erroneous modern use equivalent to “career” (intransitive verb applied to a vehicle, “to charge around recklessly”) is the ignorant propagation of a typo.

  11. Anonymous says: “Right wing and white wing radicalisation has been evident for some years”

    I find the “Manne “Economics Institute” also, to have “pushed the judiciary in ever more anti-regulatory, anti-worker and pro-incarceration directions.”. And make bipartisanship more difficult.

    JQ, if someone like you does NOT develop an “economics course for judges”, to stymie ” improving the development of the law and benefitting America’s free enterprise system.” (^2.), we will continue bau for another 40+yrs.

    (I’d bet you loathe law.)

    “This Little-Known Libertarian Training School Is Making Federal Judges More Conservative

    “After attending training at the Manne “Economics Institute, judges are more likely to issue longer prison sentences and overturn protections for workers and the environment.
    …”But the raw numbers of conservative versus liberal judges only tell part of the story. The more difficult dimension to quantify is how the massive educational apparatus that conservatives have funded and run for decades — from the Federalist Society network to judicial law clerk and judge training programs—has pushed the judiciary in ever more anti-regulatory, anti-worker and pro-incarceration directions.

    “Now, a major working paper** by three economists — Elliot Ash, Daniel Chen and Suresh Naidu — shows the huge return on just a small part of this educational investment. It shows that a short private training program for judges has directly led to judges issuing longer prison sentences and show a greater propensity to overturn regulations protecting workers and the environment.

    “Their paper looks at the effect of the Manne Economics Institute for federal judges, a two-to-three-week law and economics training course for federal judges run out of George Mason University.”


    Here is George Mason:
    “A basic knowledge of economics principles, however, can help judges better understand the long-term implications of their decisions,

    “For over four decades, the LEC’s Judicial Education Program has helped train the nation’s judges and justices in basic economics, accounting, statistics, regulatory analysis, and other related disciplines.”…


    And how many events in half a year, promoting “the development of the law and benefitting America’s free enterprise system.”?

    – Judicial Seminar on American Law and the Political Economy of Economic Freedomon March 10 – 15, 2021
    – Public Law: Economic Concepts and Caseson March 21 – 26, 2021
    – Economics Institute for Judges on March 21 – 26, 2021
    – Economics Institute for Judges on April 25– 30, 2021
    – Public Law: Economic Concepts and Caseson June 13 – 19, 2021
    – Advanced Law & Economics Institute for Judges on August 7 – 13, 2021
    – Sixteenth Meeting of the American College of Business Court Judges on October 27 –29, 2021


    ** https://elliottash.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/ash-chen-naidu-2018-07-15.pdf

  12. James Wimberly: my Oxford English Dictionary has intransitive form of “careen” as meaning “2 a intr. tilt; lean over. b tr: cause to do this. 3 intr: swerve about; career.” It helpfully adds, as you have explained, that sense 3 of careen was influenced by “career (verb).”

    Thanks for that JW, always good to dig into words and their history.

    NB: I made a genuine typo in my spiel; “Capital” should be “Capitol.”

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