Bernie Sanders has been doing his best to promote the Democrats’ reconciliation bill for the past couple of days. He’s been on television arguing that at a mere $3.5 trillion over ten years there’s simply nothing that can be cut. According to Sanders, this bill is already so lean that it’s shivering from the cold.
This morning, Sanders also made another argument about the bill. Here’s how he framed it on Twitter:
2 senators cannot be allowed to defeat what 48 senators and 210 House members want. We must stand with the working families of our country. We must combat climate change. We must delay passing the Infrastructure Bill until we pass a strong Reconciliation Bill.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) October 1, 2021
Bernie has been in the Senate for a long time. He must have noticed at some point that there are 100 Senators, not 50. So this isn’t 48 against two, it’s 52 against 48:
How about 52 senators and 225 House members? I'm pretty sure they can defeat what 48 senators and 210 House members want. https://t.co/cTy1sobkoM
— Jeryl Bier (@JerylBier) October 1, 2021
Bernie thinks 48 senators should be allowed to defeat 52 senators https://t.co/ouTanDZeWh
— Kassy Dillon (@KassyDillon) October 1, 2021
So many people are pointing this out that “52 Senators” has been trending on Twitter for a while.
He’s actually saying 52 senators can’t be allowed to defeat what 48 senators want. So much for the lectures around the filibuster and majority rule. https://t.co/wkhaE0n2c4
— Jason Willick (@jawillick) October 1, 2021
2 senators aren't defeating what 48 senators want, 52 are. https://t.co/UTLMqL9wNX
— Greta Wall (@GretaLWall) October 1, 2021
Some suggested that maybe this is a case of a socialist struggling with basic math. As Twitchy put it, “MAFF IS HARD!” While it’s entertaining to visualize Sanders taking off his shoes to try to count this out on his fingers and toes, the problem here isn’t math. Sanders got a bit carried away with what seems to be a progressive talking point. Yesterday he said something similar without quite going as far as his tweet above. “What you got now are 48 out of 50 members who are prepared to support this legislation…We have the overwhelming votes,” he said.
WATCH: “48/50 senators want this budget… 95% of House Dems… the President… the 🇺🇸 people…”
Senator @BernieSanders reminding us *centrists* holding up this $3.5 Trillion budget (over 10 years!) that helps regular folks in so many ways are the extremists in this equation. pic.twitter.com/aLPCoZPgen
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) October 1, 2021
But in fact Democrats don’t have the overwhelming votes. They have a minority and right now that’s all they have. Bernie just got carried away with himself, probably because he’s personally put a lot of effort into this.
Two points about this. First, Democrats have known about this problem for months. Sen. Sinema said back in July that she would not support the $3.5 trillion bill. Then, in case that wasn’t clear, she said it again in August. Similarly, Sen. Manchin informed Sen. Chuck Schumer back in July that he considered $1.5 trillion the very highest he was willing to go. In August he warned of “grave consequences” if the $3.5 trillion bill was passed. Clearly he was not on board.
And yet here we are in October and Democrats are shocked that they only have 48 out of 50 Senators who support the bill. I guess it never occurred to them that the moderates were serious. That’s where you get Bernie Sanders talking about the will of the 48 as if it’s just crazy they can’t ignore the two members of the caucus who have been saying no to this mega-bill all along.
And that brings me to the second point, which is that Democrats just assumed they would eventually be able to bully Manchin and Sinema into line. And who knows, maybe they will be bullied into going along with this eventually. There’s no doubt the pressure on them is intense. At least one group has already announced plans to primary Sinema in 2024.
But at least that’s strategic and somewhat rational. Scroll through the responses to her ratioed tweet from yesterday and you’ll see a lot of angry progressives spitting curses and calling her a traitor (if you can’t see it, that’s what the Shepard Fairey style poster says at the bottom).
Statement from your constituents: pic.twitter.com/RRs5N0DXHy
— Lizzie Lou (@LLwondercat) September 30, 2021
Here’s another one mocking her.
— Fully Radicalized by the DNC 🌹🌻 (@FeastOfBeast) September 30, 2021
There’s a lot of this out there and it’s not just coming from Twitter randos. Here’s a former Labor Secretary denouncing Sinema and Manchin as “corporate Democrats.”
Note to the media: Don't call Sinema and Manchin "moderate" or "centrist" Democrats. They are corporate Democrats.
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) October 1, 2021
Does Reich think bashing Sens. Sinema and Manchin like this will encourage them to get on board? At this point, it seems less about winning and more about placing the blame for losing. Some real desperation is sinking in. Dems assumed for months that they could bully their way to victory and now they’ll settle for bullying their way to defeat.
Seriously, any conversation about Sinema on Twitter is just crackling with very personal hate for her. Axios published a humanizing story about Sinema this morning and even their tweet is being ratioed by people who just need a prompt so they can denounce her.
Kyrsten Sinema’s allies have some free advice for anyone trying to bully the wine-drinking triathlete into supporting Biden's $3.5 trillion budget bill: She doesn’t play by Washington’s rules — and she's prepared to walk away. https://t.co/7LLrQUhcIy
— Axios (@axios) October 1, 2021
The bottom line here is that the left is finally realizing they aren’t going to get what they want, at least not all of it. That is making them crazy from the top down. Sen. Sanders is ranting about the will of 48 Senators as if that matters and many others are calling Sinema and Manchin corporatist traitors. It’s quite a spectacle to behold. Here’s hoping the bullies don’t win this one.
Update: I wrote “billion” instead of “trillion” a few times above. I’ve corrected it.