Once the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the minimum wage cannot be included in the COVID relief bill, Senate Democrats were all set to pass the relief package now, and find a way to raise the minimum wage separately later. There was reason to believe this was going to work, evidenced by the increasing discussion of finding ways to eventually work around the filibuster without having to abolish it.
But then Bernie Sanders decided to force a vote today on an amendment that would have added a minimum wage increase to the COVID relief bill. If this amendment had passed, it would have sank the entire relief package, and no one would have gotten anything. So eight Senate Democrats took the heat by voting down Bernie’s amendment, thus allowing the COVID bill to survive.
Unfortunately, because so many liberal (and particularly “progressive”) activists don’t understand how any of this stuff works, they’ve come away with the mistaken impression that Senate Democrats don’t want to raise the minimum wage, and that Bernie Sanders is somehow the only Senator who’s on their side. Funny how that works.
The real kicker is that because Sanders’ amendment forced the Democrats to vote against today’s minimum wage amendment, it’ll probably make it harder to increase the minimum wage later this year, because now those eight Democrats will have to be afraid of looking like they flip flopped – which always gets used against them by their Republican opponents, come reelection time. In other words, Sanders’ amendment decreased the odds that the minimum wage will increase this year.
This isn’t the first, the second, or the tenth time that Bernie Sanders has done something like this over the years. It was Bernie who refused to help pass Clinton-era health care reform, because he didn’t think it was pure enough. That’s right, some of you had to wait an extra twenty years before Obamacare finally came along, because of Bernie. And it was Bernie who blocked President Obama’s postal board appointees because they weren’t pure enough, which directly allowed Donald Trump to install Louis DeJoy. That’s right, the Post Office sabotage during and since the election is because of Bernie.
This brings us back to the decades-long debate as to whether Bernie Sanders pulls this destructive crap because he’s too naive to understand how politics really works and he doesn’t realize the damage he’s causing to his own side, or if Sanders pulls this crap precisely because he understands how this stuff works and he wants to make himself look good even if it means sabotaging the liberal agenda.
In any case, it’s more crucial than ever that we don’t allow Bernie’s antics to turn us against the Democratic Party. If we turn against the Democrats, nothing will get done these next two years, and the Republicans will take control of the House and Senate in 2022. It’s bad enough we’ve got to work around Joe Manchin’s centrist nonsense. We also have to work around Bernie Sanders’ never ending efforts to turn us against our own party. Foot stomping and grandstanding never delivers progress – ever. Sanders’ forty years of never delivering any tangible change should be proof enough of that.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report