Steve Bullock, Get Over Yourself And Run For The Damn Senate!
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is desperate to flip the Senate. Unfortunately, he's had trouble convincing Democrats in some key states to join this noble cause. Stacey Abrams wasn't interested in challenging David Perdue in Georgia, despite having equal favorability. Beto O'Rourke has declined to run against John Cornyn in Texas. But Schumer still hopes Montana Governor Steve Bullock will come to his senses and help save the nation. Bullock, a former presidential candidate, has insisted that the Senate isn't for him. Still, the filing deadline is two weeks away. Maybe Bullock will do the right thing like a common John Hickenlooper.
Schumer met with Bullock in Montana last weekend. We don't know the extent of Schumer's begging or whether it had any effect on Bullock, who we assume doesn't enjoy seeing grown men cry. You'd think convincing people to run for Senate would be the easiest part of Schumer's job, but it's like he's out there selling vacuum cleaners. The Democrats who've turned their noses up at the Senate claim that it's just not a place you go if you're interested in accomplishing anything useful. O'Rourke even called out Schumer by name when he was running for president, and that name was feckless Chuck.
BETO: Ask Chuck Schumer what he's been able to get done ... We still don't have [universal] background checks. Didn't have them when he was in the majority, either. So, you know, the game that he's played, the politics that he's pursued have given us absolutely nothing and have produced a situation where we lose nearly 40,000 of our fellow Americans every year..
Stacey Abrams has repeatedly stated that "her natural tendencies are executive, not legislative," and she's currently doing the good work in Georgia. Abrams's group, Fair Fight Action, is dedicated to making sure everyone can vote regardless of whether they might support Democrats. She doesn't agree that she'd serve the public better in the Senate.
ABRAMS: It is a much simpler narrative to say if we win the Senate, then all will be well. But of course, as a daughter of the South, I know that national belief does not translate into local action. When I talk about it nationally, I point out to folks that we don't have a single democracy. We have 50 different democracies served by 3100 administrative units — between counties and parishes.
Bullock is termed out of office this year. He has nothing pressing on his calendar that would preclude a Senate run. He's not defending voting rights, and we're not asking him to try to win Texas as a Democrat, which no one's done for almost 30 years. He's won statewide in Montana twice now and has the best shot of sending home incumbent GOP senator Steve Daines.
Democrats are just four seats away from banishing Mitch McConnell to the Phantom Zone -- three if we win the White House -- so there's urgency here. The Republican Senate majority reminded us how corrupt it is during the impeachment trial -- they voted against witnesses, documents, and every other thing resembling fairness. If Democrats controlled the Senate, it's still unlikely they would've had the votes to remove Donald Trump, but the actual trial would've been less of what Schumer described as a "national disgrace."
Trump has also reshaped the federal judiciary for generations with a parade of right-wing hacks the GOP Senate rubber stamps with minimal debate. If Democrats controlled the Senate, they could insist that Trump send them nominees who were moderately less terrible. Most importantly, a Democratic-controlled Senate would actually bring the House's legislation to the floor for a vote. (Election security, for instance!) McConnell won't even let these bills see the daylight of democracy.
This is why Schumer is chasing down every available Democrat with a personality or even just a pulse. It's a little humiliating for Schumer, but it's very important. There's still time for Bullock to do the right thing for the nation.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).