by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Hours after Senate Democrats failed to block Betsy DeVos’ nomination for education secretary, they shifted to trying to stop Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., from becoming attorney general.
Democrats plan[ned] to use the same tactics they employed unsuccessfully in the DeVos fight: late night speeches in the Senate, petitions from the many progressive organizations and voters who oppose President Trump’s nominees, telephone calls, and social media posts urging senators to vote “no.”
In doing so, the Senate minority is heeding the call from Democratic voters to stand up to Trump, despite the risk of promising the progressive base things they can’t deliver with their current numbers.
But progressives are making it clear they aren’t yet happy with the aggressive Democratic effort. Green Party 2016 presidential nominee Jill Stein, who won over a million votes by arguing Democrats weren’t sufficiently progressive, actually blamed Democrats for DeVos’ confirmation.
“Why would we have a tie on such an egregious nominee?” Stein asked on Twitter. “Because Democrats serve corporate interests.”
That criticism ignored the fact that there are only 48 Democratic senators, and all of them voted against DeVos. The education secretary pick was confirmed because 50 Republicans supported her and Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote in his constitutional capacity as president of the Senate.
Yet Democrats still faced criticism for not doing enough to make wobbly Republicans fear supporting DeVos.