Senate Majority – A New Problem for Progressives

Posted on July 21, 2009 by

Much more important than the so-called filibuster-proof majority for Senate Democrats is the fact that 24 states now have two Democratic Senators (or independents who caucus with Democrats).

Beside the usual suspects, these states include Arkansas, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, New Mexico and Virginia.

Democrats have at least one U.S. Senator in an additional 12 states, including Indiana, Louisiana, North Carolina, Nebraska and South Dakota.

This is spectacular news for those of us who want to build and maintain Democratic majorities and would have been fantasy just five years ago.

But this new configuration is a problem for progressives as key Democratic Senators in recently conservative states are reluctant to risk their political future by moving too far beyond their constituents.

Like it or not, health care, global warming, financial reform, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell are going to be brokered by Senate Democrats such as Max Baucus of Montana, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

And President Obama will have his hands full with this crowd. (In the House, “Blue Dog” Democrats can be more easily appeased or in some cases ignored).

Since 2004, in just two national elections, we’ve picked up 15 Senate seats. We’ve expanded the base dramatically. Now the question is: How do we move the agenda?

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