Liberals had a real chance to defeat President Donald Trump’s CIA director nominee Gina Haspel over her ties to torture.
Instead, she skated to confirmation on Thursday — her nomination greased by a divided Senate Democratic caucus, leaders of the minority who opted not to twist arms, and advocacy groups that couldn’t mount an effective attack strategy despite what they saw as Haspel’s checkered record on human rights.
When she did prevail, winning six Democrats’ support despite three Republican opponents, the outcome did more than disappoint progressives. It shined a bright light on the political limitations of a Democratic minority that has also failed to unite members against Mike Pompeo’s bid for secretary of state and a banking deregulation bill.
“It’s more complicated” than it looks for Democratic leaders to keep the caucus together, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said in an interview. “We don’t have a parliamentary system … we don’t have that kind of party discipline.”