Some Democrats Livid at Schumer’s Leadership Strategy

Some Democrats Livid at Schumer's Leadership Strategy Chuck Schumer speaks to members of the press Sen. Chuck Schumer after a Senate Democratic Caucus meeting in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 18, 2022. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By Charlie McCarthy | Tuesday, 25 January 2022 09:27 AM

Some Democrats are seething over Sen. Chuck Schumer's game plan with both social spending and voting rights legislations, Politico reported Tuesday.

One of the primary complaints about Schumer, D-N.Y., is how he isolated moderate Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.

A half-dozen Democrat staffers Monday night told Politico that Schumer's strategy regarding the two centrists has set back the party in achieving its goals.

The report said that Manchin has not returned to discussions regarding the Build Back Better spending bill because he's furious at how he has been treated.

Sinema was censured by her state party Saturday for failing to support the progressives’ voting legislation.

Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and others have suggested they'd support primary challengers against Manchin and Sinema. That could be risky in Arizona, a swing state that Democrats will need to retain control of the Senate.

Politico said that all of the staffers spoken with were stunned by Schumer’s refusal to say that Manchin and Sinema should not be primaried. They said the leader’s failure to defend his two caucus members emboldened progressives to start talking about mounting campaigns to defeat the two moderates.

"Leadership 101 is, Even if you don’t get someone today, you’re going to need them tomorrow," a senior House Democrat aide told Politico.

"The level of malpractice is stunning. [The spending bill] is a once-in-a-10-year opportunity, and we f**ked it up."

Aides also criticized Schumer for exposing party divisions by holding floor votes on voting rights and the filibuster despite knowing they would fail.

A former longtime Senate staffer told Politico that last week’s vote also exposed vulnerable senators, such as Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., who are up for reelection in 2022.

"The Republicans had a fine week last week … there was no contrast with Republicans," another senior Democrat Senate staffer. "And it was a result of the fact that our party leader chose not to be the leader of the entire caucus."

Schumer last week told reporters that he had a moral obligation to hold a vote on voting rights because the issue is central to democracy. He insisted not holding a vote would have done more damage to his party than holding a vote that failed.

"There was overwhelming, strong, and vocal support throughout our caucus to hold the vote," one source close to Schumer told Politico.

Some Democrat staffers, though, suggested Schumer’s strategy to hold the votes had more to do with the leader’s political future.

"It's seemed clear for a while that the strategy Schumer is running has to do more with his fear of getting primaried than it did with actually achieving anything with the caucus he has or with protecting or expanding the majority," one senior Senate Democrat aide told Politico.

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