Which of the presidential candidates will make progressives in Congress stronger? This question is the subject of my newest piece in In These Times.
Beneath all the campaign rhetoric and platform promises, the prospect of change will have a lot to do with which candidate best empowers a Democratic Congress whose progressive power is (fortuitously) concentrated among the institution's most senior and powerful members. Right now, we have Senate committee chairs like Sens. Ted Kennedy and Barbara Boxer and House committee chairs like Dave Obey, George Miller and Henry Waxman. The more powerful these people are, the more progressive legislation we are likely to see out of Congress.
There is also the question of vetoes. Which of these presidential candidates is most likely to sign progressive legislation, and which is most likely to veto that legislation out of ideological opposition or devotion to so-called "triangulation?"
There is a potential aligning of stars here -- a potential Democratic president, a likely Democratic Congress, and a situation where the power in that Congress is concentrated in the hands of longtime progressive heroes. It's easy to debate the nuances of what these candidates are proposing. But, as I say in the piece, if you are truly interested in legislative change, you should be considering which of these potential presidents will best make that alignment work for progressive ends.