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I got up to "Those judges will take on Biden in areas from environmental protection to civil rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, labor rights and voting rights, while protecting corporations, guns and dark money," and said to myself, "This is not about 'persuasion'".

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I agree that much of the first half of this article seems like the left wing version of the polarizing polemics seen on sites like The Daily Wire, Daily Caller, and The Blaze. If he would have cut from the start of the second paragraph up until “Here is the roadmap I would employ” this article would have been excellent and very persuasive to me.

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Thanks, Curtis, but there's so much to read that once I have this kind of reason to bail I don't look ahead for redeeming value -- unless I have some prior reason to think it worthwhile.

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Michael, I would think this a fairly objective assertion - Biden will of course want to advance an agenda of basic progressive priorities, and it is rather expected that he will encounter opposition from a conservative court. There are always surprises, of course, but conservatives have advocated these judges because they believe they will thwart what they view as the excesses of such an agenda, no?

You may feel that Mr. Ornstein seems to take a tone of advocacy. But keep in mind that these are reasonably moderate "progressive" goals that enjoy fairly strong public support. You'll note there is no mention of say, abolishing the police or single-payer health care. While these issues may have once been perceived as the core of the ideal leftist agenda, public opinion has shifted significantly and these are now generally considered fairly mainstream concerns.

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Eric, as a rule I don't consider assertions about people's future behavior "objective", and in this case I don't even see them as particularly informed guesses. They are the stereotypes and fears of certain progressives.

It's true that conservatives have promoted conservatives to the Court in the hope of certain outcomes, but the record shows them being mostly disappointed, because the legal conservatism of conservative Justices makes them tend towards adhering to what the law is, rather than what they think it should be (in contrast to the progressive Justices).

In any case, I haven't heard that the Federalist Society, which I understand did the heavy lifting in composing this Court, has specific opinions on these matters that Mr. Ornstein is so sure these Justices will fight Biden over.

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This is the kind of article I can find in the NYT; it is disappointing to find it in Persuassion. For example, Mr. Ornstein suggests banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines (both of which are subjective terms with no meaning) yet offers no idea how thus will be enforced. Will police go door to door confiscating weapons and magazines? Will having submitted to a background check to purchase such a firearm be considered probable cause for the police to enter your home and search it? I imagine Robert Francis O'rourke and Joe Biden will say yes to both these questions. But since Trump and Republicans are always and forever the only problem Mr. Orenstein can see he should be forgiven his fanatsies.

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One and two would work excellent and address the real pains of the American people. Three and four would fly like a lead airplane in non-coastal states. If we are talking about "healing," don't ram the legislation that is deeply unpopular in the first 100 days.

It is high time to bring gun owners to the table and get them to help craft actual laws. Most of my friends who are hunters and gun collectors are extremely reasonable humans who want some forms of reform. Let the middle of the country lead on this one.

Actually, talk to GOP folks who believe in ID laws. Here in KY, we have a Secretary of State who managed to do an excellent job with the primaries and looks to do very well in administering the general election. He is also very much pro-IDs. I know it seems like a contradiction but this is what we really need to embrace; public servants who do not think like us and who are objectively doing amazing work.

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Ornstein's implicit assertion that Biden will govern from the center ignores his own party's leftward drift (or lunge, depending on one's perspective). The progressive wing of the D's is currently being kept in line by the necessity of defeating Trump. Once that's accomplished, that activist energy will have to be directed elsewhere. The obvious target will be centrist, squishy Joe. He will be under tremendous pressure to focus on pushing initiatives that are on the progressives' wish list. One such is the Green New Deal, something that polls well in the abstract but not so well when people find out what implementing it might entail.

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He already ran exactly against the GND and Medicare for All, and won. He defeated them not in the more centrist general election, but in the Democratic Primary itself. Centrists are not squishy, and the people have spoken clearly on this issue.

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I agree that if neither the GND nor Medicare for All can win in a Democrat primary, it likely won't fare well as a campaign plank in a general election.

But that's not the issue I raised originally. If the polls are reasonably accurate, his party will be in charge of both houses of Congress as well as the White House. I'm not sure that would be a "mandate" for anything more than a rejection of Trumpism. But some, particularly on the activist left, might well see it differently. If so, they will certainly put pressure on not just Biden, but also on other party leaders to be far more bold than they might want to be otherwise. Pelosi, who's no one's idea of a centrist, is herself is likely facing a leadership challenge from the AOC faction. One could reasonably expect more such internecine battles...and it will be fascinating to watch how "pragmatic" (but not "squishy") Biden and his comrades in the party establishment cope with what might turn out to be a rather lengthy cat-herding project.

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There are some common sense ideas in here: such as the stimulus and the public option. However, I'm pessimistic on the saving the grace of legislation at this point (but happy to be convinced otherwise).

According to Justin Amash the legislative process is fairly broken. Most legislators don't even know what they are signing (the bills are 1000+ pages) and the process is closed to amendments and tweaking on the floor, so they can't even be educated or persuaded by other legislators. The Speakers determine the agenda, freeing legislators to spend large amounts of time fundraising. So this means that the dynamic persuasive element of legislation is hampered at best.

Beyond persuasion, we live in modern times and still have an archaic process. We should be able to have legislation informed by data and monitored for effectiveness. We don't even know what works, which is why demagogues get power. Things that sound good, aren't always good. But without data what else are people supposed to go on besides persuasion?

There should be high quality evaluation that tries to get as close as possible to randomized controlled studies. Which is why, for example, the gun conversation never goes anywhere. The desired impact is reduction in violence... not guns. So there needs to be controlled studies about what reduces violence, where. This is just an example of how we are groping in the dark but thinking we are doing something.

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What precisely is an assault-style weapon?

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This is quite an important question. When anti gun folks use this phrase they usually mean one of three things (or a combo), all troubling.

(1) a set of mostly aesthetic features they think look scary (oh no a folding stock!)

(2) infantry style automatic weapons, which are already extremely restricted for civilian ownership and where legal guns are nearly never used in crime.

(3) most commonly, semi automatic rifles that are "AK-47 style" which people who dont know guns tend to not realize is most US firearms.

So calls for assault weapons bans tend to, depending on how defined, range from niche and ineffective to mass confiscation with no real happy middle.

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A few other objections while I am here... restoring the CFPB sounds so anodyne but the CFPB is essentially an unelected and unfirable independent law making body whose scope is consumer finance writ large... seems like a real tyranny concern even if we like its rules. And ok infrastructure is fine and well but infrastructure projects in the US run late and ruinously over budget in ways they dont in peer nations. Feels like a foolish boondoggle if we cant control cost.

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Today's hyper-partisanship is like covid. A dire threat that must be dealt with, rather than a wedge issue to be exploited for political gain. The framing of this piece is that the Republicans are so terrible they must be marginalized and ignored, rather than brought into a functioning government, which ignores the real problem.

A couple of the policies would do that, and a couple more would inflame divisions at a time when we cannot afford to do so.

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Bold and excellent. But Biden? He has been neither, lo these 50 years in public office. Maybe he'll surprise us and become the historical figure we desperately need.

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In terms of voting rights we need, in addition, a federal program. One problem with the right to vote is that states control this right and it is clear now that some states abuse this power. Another important task is to restore the ability of civil servants to act independently from the politics of the party in power.

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founding

States control this right but it's even worse than that. Because Republicans can have it both ways. Gore in 2000 was following rules and provisions put in place by the Florida legislature but conservatives on the court handed Bush the presidency based on the 14th amendment. That ruling wasn't serious. If it was, then it should have struck down the state control of elections seeing how they treat people in different areas differently. Republicans can insist on local rules and restrictions when it suits them, like in the recent WI ruling. But, the second some restriction favors the other side they can selectively cry 14 amendment on those things.

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