The Senate Democrats announced their leadership team yesterday and I consider them a mixed bag that's moving in the right direction, but only in part. I'm somewhat slow to condemn, because I realize that the Senate is one of the most tradition bound institutions in government, where seniority takes precedence.
After Senator Charles Schumer of New York was elected as the new leader of the Senate Democrats earlier on Wednesday, he gave both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren leadership roles in the upcoming first Congress under President-elect Donald Trump.
Their roles are less meaningful than those of others on the leadership team, but their appointments are a sign that Democrats recognize and are responding to the progressive tilt in their party. Schumer had faced pressure to add the senators; earlier this week, dozens of protesters staged a sit-in outside of his office. Some liberals are skeptical of Schumer’s ties to Wall Street, while both Sanders and Warren are high-profile critics of big banks.
Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, faced off against Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary. Even after it became clear she would win the nomination, he held on to his presidential bid and resisted endorsing Clinton. During that time he won major concessions while pushing the Democratic Party into approving the most progressive platform in its history, including seeking a $15 federal minimum wage and a carbon pricing regime to combat climate change.
Schumer had hoped to become Senate majority leader under a Clinton administration. But with Trump’s stunning victory last week, he will have to deal with a Republican in the White House and both houses of Congress under Republican control. Schumer will replace Harry Reid, who is retiring at the end of this year.
Senator Dick Durbin will continue in his role as party whip—the second-ranking Democrat—and Senator Patty Murray will assume the new title of assistant Democratic leader and be the third-ranking party member. Schumer’s team also includes Senator Tammy Baldwin, the first lesbian senator to hold a leadership role, and Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate…
I'm not pleased with Schumer, but he was in line for the job. While OK on most issues, he's too cozy with Wall Street Banksters and Vulture Capitalists. According to GovTrack Durbin is better and ranks as 6th most progressive member of the Senate. Patty Murray is 13th. Tammy Baldwin is 7th. Joe Manchin, a horrid DINO, is 46th. He should NOT have a leadership role. Of course, my favorites are Bernie, who ranked 4th and Liz, who ranked 1st.