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Sunday Nov 9, 2008

Getting to 60

Getting 60 Democratic Senators would be nice, but it is no guarantee of preventing filibusters. You still need to hold 60 Senators, of any party, to overcome each cloture vote on an issue-by-issue basis.

So with Dems only having at least 57 senators (with three seats still up in the air), what are the prospects of beating back conservative filibusters?

Here is an admittedly crude analysis.

Consider: there are 10 Republican senators representing states that Obama won.

Martinez (FL)
Lugar (IN)
Grassley (IA)
Collins (ME)
Snowe (ME)
Ensign (NV)
Gregg (NH)
Burr (NC)
Voinovich (OH)
Specter (PA)

These senators represent states that affirmed Obama's platform and -- so long as individual agenda items are well argued -- may be reluctant to be seen as obstructing the public mandate, especially in a time of economic distress.

They should receive maximum pressure from those of us in their states.

At the same time, there are 12 Democratic senators representing states that Obama lost.

Lincoln (AR)
Pryor (AR)
Landrieu (LA)
McCaskill (MO)
Baucus (MT)
Tester (MT)
Nelson (NE)
Conrad (ND)
Dorgan (ND)
Johnson (SD)
Byrd (WV)
Rockefeller (WV)

One one hand, these Senators generally want to see Obama's agenda succeed, so the Democratic Party's prospects in their states can further flourish.

On the other, any backlash against a particular idea may prompt them to break ranks and highlight their "independence" to their constituents.

The bottom line is as it was: we have to continually make our case. Nothing is assured.

We cannot forget what we have learned about framing debates, distilling arguments, and honing messages that are compelling to the broader electorate.

We will have to guard against distortions of policy details, and be prepared to get in the weeds without getting lost in the weeds.

We will have to remain engaged at the grassroots level, and not allow the conservative movement to regain momentum.

Democracy doesn't stop between elections.

Posted by Bill Scher on Nov 9, 2008 email post email Spotlight / / You are in Democratic Party
Posts Near Nov 9, 2008