NYT: Reparations, Court-Packing: Once-Fringe Issues Take Hold in Democratic Primary Race
Check out Way to Win Co-Founder and Women’s Donor Network VP, Jenifer Ancona, in the article below.
The New York Times – March 12, 2019
It was a made-for-social-media moment for Pete Buttigieg.
In Philadelphia last month on his book tour, Mr. Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., and a Democratic candidate for president, fielded an unlikely question from the audience: “Would you support a packing of the courts to expand the Supreme Court by four members?”
The inquiry elicited titters from the politics-hungry crowd that appeared surprised by the question. But not from Mr. Buttigieg.
“I don’t think we should be laughing at it,” he said. “In some ways it’s no more a shattering of norms than what’s already been done to get the judiciary to where it is today. ”
His response drew immediate praise from liberal news outlets; ThinkProgress declared him the only Democratic candidate that seemed “serious about governing.” But if Mr. Buttigieg’s remarks were off-the-cuff, the question was not: It had been posed by a person involved with Pack the Courts, a liberal activist group that favors adding judges in order to flip the ideological tilt of the high court — known as court-packing.
The success of the strategy — pushing an issue that had mostly thrived on the fringe into the 2020 conversation — illustrates how activists are leveraging the early stages of the Democratic primary, creating pseudo-litmus tests for candidates eager to respond to the energy that is driving more extreme policy proposals.
For grass-roots organizers, the wide-open Democratic field — already veering to the left on taxes, health care, super PAC donations and other issues — provides multiple openings to elevate their agendas. In recent weeks they have helped spur similar exchanges on fraught topics like reparations and ending the Senate filibuster. They have also helped broaden the conversation on climate change to include an expansive proposal called the Green New Deal.
Candidates, including those in the top tier, are increasingly being urged to address these topics in interviews, at events and during media appearances. Senator Bernie Sanders, for instance, has been asked repeatedly about reparations, including recently on ABC’s “The View.” Senator Elizabeth Warren answered a question about ending the filibuster at an event last week in New York. And on Sunday, Mr. Buttigieg was asked again about packing the courts — during a town hall-style forum on CNN.