Four urgent policies for his first 100 days
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'".
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.
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.
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.
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.
What precisely is an assault-style weapon?
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.
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.
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.