The United States of America - A Broken Democracy

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And here, there is an interesting division opening up among the Democrats. The New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand upped the ante this week, introducing the most ambitious program to change the way campaigns are funded in 50 years. Those dollars would radically change the pattern of fundraising for candidates in Congress.

As the experience in Seattle has shown, vouchers expand dramatically the range of citizens participating in the funding of campaigns. Yet so far, wannabe reformers such as Elizabeth Warren have been silent about how they would change the way campaigns are funded. Yet even more important than the details of these programs may be the priority.

Marianne Williamson has said the same. So too has Gillibrand. This is the real standard that reformers should be insisting upon — not HR1, but a Potus 1 that is as ambitious, or maybe even more. The next president should follow the lead of Nancy Pelosi and commit to making reform fundamental. He or she should then explain to us what that fundamental reform will include. A large majority of liberals favor universal health care , with many supporting a single-payer system.

American Constitution

A majority also favor diplomacy over military action , stem cell research , the legalization of same-sex marriage , stricter gun control and environmental protection laws as well as the preservation of abortion rights. Immigration and cultural diversity is deemed positive as liberals favor cultural pluralism , a system in which immigrants retain their native culture in addition to adopting their new culture.

Most liberals oppose increased military spending and the mixing of church and state. This ideological group differs from the traditional organized labor base. It was also the fastest growing typological group between the late s and early s. Progressives are the most left-leaning, pro- labor union faction in the party who have long supported a strong regulation of business, social-welfare programs and workers' rights.

In , progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren set out an "Eleven Commandments of Progressivism", being tougher regulation on corporations, affordable education, scientific investment and environmentalism , net neutrality , increased wages, equal pay, collective bargaining rights, defending social safety-net programs, marriage equality, immigration reform and unabridged access to reproductive healthcare. Progressives tend to be seen as closer to the ideology of European social-democratic parties than mainstream or establishment liberals.

Democracy in the U.S.: Is it broken, or was it never working to begin with?

The Congressional Progressive Caucus is a caucus of progressive Democrats and is the single largest Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives. Equal economic opportunity , a base social safety net provided by the welfare state and strong labor unions have historically been at the heart of Democratic economic policy. Democrats support a more progressive tax structure to provide more services and reduce economic inequality by making sure that the wealthiest Americans pay the highest amount in taxes. Democrats believe the benefits of social services in monetary and non-monetary terms are a more productive labor force and cultured population and believe that the benefits of this are greater than any benefits that could be derived from lower taxes, especially on top earners, or cuts to social services.

Furthermore, Democrats see social services as essential towards providing positive freedom , i. The Democratic Party favors raising the minimum wage. In , the Democrats supported six state ballot initiatives to increase the minimum wage and all six initiatives passed. Democrats call for "affordable and quality health care" and many advocate an expansion of government intervention in this area. Many Democrats favor national health insurance or universal health care in a variety of forms to address the rising costs of modern health insurance.

The Progressive Democrats of America , a group operating inside the Democratic Party, has made single-payer universal health care one of their primary policy goals. By April , more than 10 million Americans had enrolled in health care coverage since the launch of the Affordable Care Act. Democrats favor improving public education by raising school standards and reforming the head start program. They also support universal preschool and expanding access to primary education, including through charter schools. They call for slashes in student loan debt and support reforms to force down tuition fees.

Democrats have the long-term aim of having low-cost, publicly funded college education with low tuition fees like in much of Europe and Canada , which should be available to every eligible American student. Alternatively, they encourage expanding access to post-secondary education by increasing state funding for student financial aid such as Pell Grants and college tuition tax deductions. Democrats believe that the government should protect the environment and have a history of environmentalism.

In more recent years, this stance has had as its emphasis alternative energy generation as the basis for an improved economy, greater national security and general environmental benefits. The Democratic Party also favors expansion of conservation lands and encourages open space and rail travel to relieve highway and airport congestion and improve air quality and economy as it "believe[s] that communities, environmental interests, and the government should work together to protect resources while ensuring the vitality of local economies.

Once Americans were led to believe they had to make a choice between the economy and the environment. They now know this is a false choice". The most important environmental concern of the Democratic Party is climate change. Democrats, most notably former Vice President Al Gore , have pressed for stern regulation of greenhouse gases. On October 15, , he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to build greater knowledge about man-made climate change and laying the foundations for the measures needed to counteract these changes asserting that "the climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity".

Democrats have supported increased domestic renewable energy development, including wind and solar power farms, in an effort to reduce carbon pollution. The party's platform calls for an "all of the above" energy policy including clean energy, natural gas and domestic oil, with the desire of becoming energy independent. Many Democrats support fair trade policies when it comes to the issue of international trade agreements and some in the party have started supporting free trade in recent decades. The modern Democratic party emphasizes egalitarianism and social equality through liberalism.

They support voting rights and minority rights , including LGBT rights , multiculturalism and religious secularism. A longstanding social policy is upholding civil rights , which affect ethnic and racial minorities and includes voting rights, equal opportunity and racial equality. The party championed the Civil Rights Act of , which for the first time outlawed segregation. Democrats made civil rights and anti-racism a core party philosophy. Carmines and Stimson say that "the Democratic Party appropriated racial liberalism and assumed federal responsibility for ending racial discrimination".

Ideological social elements in the party include cultural liberalism , civil libertarianism and feminism. Other Democratic social policies are internationalism , open immigration , electoral reform and women's reproductive rights. The Democratic Party supports equal opportunity for all Americans regardless of sex, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation , gender identity , religion, creed, or national origin.

Many Democrats support affirmative action programs to further this goal. Democrats also strongly support the Americans with Disabilities Act to prohibit discrimination against people based on physical or mental disability. The party is very supportive of improving voting rights as well as election accuracy and accessibility. They support reforming the electoral system to eliminate gerrymandering as well as passing comprehensive campaign finance reform.

The Democratic Party believe that all women should have access to birth control and support public funding of contraception for poor women. In its national platforms from to , the Democratic Party has called for abortion to be "safe, legal and rare"—namely, keeping it legal by rejecting laws that allow governmental interference in abortion decisions and reducing the number of abortions by promoting both knowledge of reproduction and contraception and incentives for adoption.

The wording changed in the platform. Wade , which declared abortion covered by the constitutionally protected individual right to privacy under the Ninth Amendment ; and Planned Parenthood v. Casey , which lays out the legal framework in which government action alleged to violate that right is assessed by courts.

As a matter of the right to privacy and of gender equality , many Democrats believe all women should have the ability to choose to abort without governmental interference. They believe that each woman, conferring with her conscience, has the right to choose for herself whether abortion is morally correct. Many Democratic politicians have called for systematic reform of the immigration system such that residents that have come into the United States illegally have a pathway to legal citizenship.

President Obama remarked in November that he felt it was "long past time to fix our broken immigration system", particularly to allow "incredibly bright young people" that came over as students to become full citizens. In , Democrats in the Senate passed S. Most support for same-sex marriage in the United States has come from Democrats, although some favor civil unions instead or oppose same-sex marriage.

Support for same-sex marriage has increased in the past decade according to ABC News. The Democratic National Platform stated that marriage should be defined at the state level and it repudiated the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Democratic Party (United States)

On May 9, , Barack Obama became the first sitting President to say he supports same-sex marriage. The Democratic Party platform declares: "We are committed to addressing the extraordinary challenges faced by our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico. Many stem from the fundamental question of Puerto Rico's political status. Democrats believe that the people of Puerto Rico should determine their ultimate political status from permanent options that do not conflict with the Constitution, laws, and policies of the United States.

Democrats are committed to promoting economic opportunity and good-paying jobs for the hardworking people of Puerto Rico. We also believe that Puerto Ricans must be treated equally by Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs that benefit families. Puerto Ricans should be able to vote for the people who make their laws, just as they should be treated equally. All American citizens, no matter where they reside, should have the right to vote for the President of the United States.


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Finally, we believe that federal officials must respect Puerto Rico's local self-government as laws are implemented and Puerto Rico's budget and debt are restructured so that it can get on a path towards stability and prosperity". With a stated goal of reducing crime and homicide, the Democratic Party has introduced various gun control measures, most notably the Gun Control Act of , the Brady Bill of and Crime Control Act of However, some Democrats, especially rural, Southern, and Western Democrats, favor fewer restrictions on firearm possession and warned the party was defeated in the presidential election in rural areas because of the issue.

The Democratic Party supports the death penalty far less than the Republican Party. Although most Democrats in Congress have never seriously moved to overturn the rarely used federal death penalty , both Russ Feingold and Dennis Kucinich have introduced such bills with little success. Democrats have led efforts to overturn state death penalty laws, particularly in New Jersey and in New Mexico.

They have also sought to prevent the reinstatement of the death penalty in those states which prohibit it, including Massachusetts and New York. During the Clinton administration , Democrats led the expansion of the federal death penalty. These efforts resulted in the passage of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of , signed into law by President Clinton , which heavily limited appeals in death penalty cases.

During his Illinois Senate career , former President Barack Obama successfully introduced legislation intended to reduce the likelihood of wrongful convictions in capital cases, requiring videotaping of confessions. When campaigning for the presidency , Obama stated that he supports the limited use of the death penalty, including for people who have been convicted of raping a minor under the age of 12, having opposed the Supreme Court 's ruling in Kennedy v.

Louisiana that the death penalty was unconstitutional in child rape cases. In June , the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee unanimously adopted an amendment to abolish the death penalty, marking the first time the party had done so in its history. Many Democrats are opposed to the use of torture against individuals apprehended and held prisoner by the United States military and hold that categorizing such prisoners as unlawful combatants does not release the United States from its obligations under the Geneva Conventions.

Democrats contend that torture is inhumane, decreases the United States' moral standing in the world and produces questionable results. Democrats largely spoke out against waterboarding. Torture became a very divisive issue in the party after Barack Obama was elected President. Many centrist Democrats and members of the party's leadership supported the use of torture while the liberal wings continued to be steadfastly opposed to it. Many Democrats are opposed to the Patriot Act , but when the law was passed most Democrats were supportive of it and all but two Democrats in the Senate voted for the original Patriot Act legislation in Democrats split on the renewal in In the Senate, Democrats voted 34 for the renewal and 9 against.

In the House, Democrats voted 66 voted for the renewal, and against. The Democratic Party believes that individuals should have a right to privacy. Some Democratic officeholders have championed consumer protection laws that limit the sharing of consumer data between corporations. Most Democrats oppose sodomy laws and believe that government should not regulate consensual noncommercial sexual conduct among adults as a matter of personal privacy. The foreign policy of the voters of the two major parties has largely overlapped since the s.

A Gallup poll in early showed broad agreement on the top issues, albeit with some divergence regarding human rights and international cooperation through agencies such as the United Nations. A The United States is doing too much in other countries around the world, and it is time to do less around the world and focus more on our own problems here at home. B The United States must continue to push forward to promote democracy and freedom in other countries around the world because these efforts make our own country more secure. In , Congressional Democrats were divided on the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq : voted against it 21 in the Senate and in the House and voted for it 29 in the Senate and 81 in the House.

Since then, many prominent Democrats, such as former Senator John Edwards , have expressed regret about this decision and have called it a mistake while others, such as Senator Hillary Clinton , have criticized the conduct of the war yet not repudiated their initial vote for it though Clinton later went on to repudiate her stance during the primaries.

Referring to Iraq, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared in April the war to be "lost" while other Democrats especially during the presidential election cycle accused the President of lying to the public about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Among lawmakers, Democrats are the most vocal opponents of Operation Iraqi Freedom and campaigned on a platform of withdrawal ahead of the midterm elections. Democrats in the House of Representatives near-unanimously supported a non-binding resolution disapproving of President Bush's decision to send additional troops into Iraq in Congressional Democrats overwhelmingly supported military funding legislation that included a provision that set "a timeline for the withdrawal of all US combat troops from Iraq" by March 31, , but also would leave combat forces in Iraq for purposes such as targeted counter-terrorism operations.

Why America's Democracy Is Broken?

Criticism of the Iraq War subsided after the Iraq War troop surge of led to a dramatic decrease in Iraqi violence. The Democratic-controlled th Congress continued to fund efforts in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Presidential candidate Barack Obama advocated a withdrawal of combat troops within Iraq by late with a residual force of peacekeeping troops left in place. The Democratic Party has been critical of the Iran's nuclear weapon program and supported economic sanctions against the Iranian government.

In , the Democratic-led administration worked to reach a diplomatic agreement with the government of Iran to halt the Iranian nuclear weapon program in exchange for international economic sanction relief. Democrats in the House of Representatives and in the Senate near-unanimously voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists against "those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States " in Afghanistan in , supporting the NATO coalition invasion of the nation.

Most elected Democrats continue to support the Afghanistan conflict and some, such as a Democratic National Committee spokesperson, have voiced concerns that the Iraq War shifted too many resources away from the presence in Afghanistan. Troop levels were 94, in December and kept falling, with a target of 68, by fall Obama planned to bring all the troops home by Support for the war among the American people has diminished over time and many Democrats have changed their opinion and now oppose a continuation of the conflict.

Divided We Stand

In contrast, Republicans were more supportive of the war. Three quarters of Democrats oppose the war". The Democratic Party has both recently and historically supported Israel. The Democratic Party platform acknowledges a " special relationship with Israel, grounded in shared interests and shared values, and a clear, strong, fundamental commitment to the security of Israel, our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy".

It also included:.

It is in the best interests of all parties, including the United States, that we take an active role to help secure a lasting settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a democratic, viable Palestinian state dedicated to living in peace and security side by side with the Jewish State of Israel. To do so, we must help Israel identify and strengthen those partners who are truly committed to peace while isolating those who seek conflict and instability, and stand with Israel against those who seek its destruction.

The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel's right to exist, and abides by past agreements. Sustained American leadership for peace and security will require patient efforts and the personal commitment of the President of the United States. The creation of a Palestinian state through final status negotiations, together with an international compensation mechanism, should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel. All understand that it is unrealistic to expect the outcome of final status negotiations to be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel.

The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths. Around half of all political moderates or independents sided with Israel. The rise of the progressive Bernie Sanders-aligned faction of the party, which tends to trend more pro-Palestine, is also likely responsible for the decline in support for Israel.

A Pew Research poll found that while Clinton supporters sympathized more with Israel than Palestinians by a point margin, Sanders supporters sympathized more with Palestinians than with Israel by a 6-point margin. Professionals, those who have a college education and those whose work revolves around the conception of ideas have supported the Democratic Party by a slight majority since Between and , professionals favored Democrats by a percentage point margin. While the professional class was once a stronghold of the Republican Party, it has become increasingly split between the two parties, leaning in favor of the Democratic Party.

The increasing support for Democratic candidates among professionals may be traced to the prevalence of social liberal values among this group: []. Professionals, who are, roughly speaking, college-educated producers of services and ideas, used to be the most staunchly Republican of all occupational groups [ In the four elections from to , they backed Democrats by an average of 52 percent to 40 percent. A study on the political attitudes of medical students , for example, found that "U.

Future U. Academics, intellectuals and the highly educated overall constitute an important part of the Democratic voter base. Academia in particular tends to be progressive. The social sciences and humanities were the most liberal disciplines while business was the most conservative. Male professors at more advanced stages of their careers as well as those at elite institutions, tend to be the most liberal.

Those with graduate education have become increasingly Democratic beginning in , [] , [] , [90] [91] and [] elections. Intellectualism, the tendency to constantly reexamine issues, or in the words of Edwards Shields, the "penetration beyond the screen of immediate concrete experience", has also been named as an explanation why academia is strongly democratic and liberal.

In the past, a self-identified Republican was more likely to have a 4-year college degree, but according to some recent surveys similar percentages of Republicans and Democrats are likely to have 4-year college degrees and Democrats are more likely to hold post-graduate degrees. An analysis of through survey data from the General Social Survey, the National Election Studies and the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press led to a slightly different assessment of the overall educational status of self-identified Democrats and Republicans:.

On average, self-identified Republicans have more years of education 4 to 8 months each, depending on the survey and are probably more likely to hold, at the least, a 4-year college degree. One major survey indicates that they are more likely, while the results of another survey are statistically insignificant. With respect to post-graduate studies, the educational advantage is shifting towards self-identified Democrats. They are now more likely to hold post-graduate college degrees.

Studies have shown that younger voters tend to vote mostly for Democratic candidates in recent years. Despite supporting Ronald Reagan and George H. Bush , the young have voted in favor of the Democratic presidential candidate in every election since Bill Clinton in and are more likely to identify as liberals than the general population. The Young Democrats of America are an affiliated organization of members of the party younger than 36 that advocates for youth issues and works for youth voter turnout.

Although the gender gap has varied over many years, women of all ages are more likely than men to identify as Democrats. Among ethnic minorities, women also are more likely than males to identify as Democrats. Also, American women that identified as single, living with a domestic partner, divorced, separated, or widowed are more likely than men in these categories to vote Democratic, in contrast to married Americans which split about equally between Democrat and Republican.

Women in these categories are significantly more likely than males in these categories to vote Democratic. National women's organizations that support Democratic candidates are Emily's List , which aims to help elect pro-choice Democratic female candidates to office and often but not always the National Organization for Women.

Americans that identify as single, living with a domestic partner, divorced, separated, or widowed are more likely to vote Democratic in contrast to married Americans which split about equally between Democrat and Republican. GSS surveys of more than 11, Democrats and Republicans conducted between and came to the result that the differences in fertility rates are not statistically significant between these parties, with the average Democrat having 1.

Patrick Egan, a professor of politics at New York University specializing in LGBT voting patterns, calls this a "remarkable continuity", saying that "about three-fourths vote Democratic and one-fourth Republican from year to year".

Why We Wrote This

Since the s, a critical component of the Democratic Party coalition has been organized labor. Labor unions supply a great deal of the money, grass roots political organization and voting base of support for the party. Democrats are far more likely to be represented by unions, although union membership has declined, in general, during the last few decades. This trend is depicted in the following graph from the book Democrats and Republicans—Rhetoric and Reality.

The historic decline in union membership over the past half-century has been accompanied by a growing disparity between public sector and private sector union membership percentages. Other important issues for labor unions include supporting industrial policy including protectionism that sustains unionized manufacturing jobs, raising the minimum wage and promoting broad social programs such as Social Security and universal health care. While the American working class has lost much of its political strength with the decline of labor unions , [] it remains a stronghold of the Democratic Party and continues as an essential part of the Democratic base.

The working class is largely distinguished by highly routinized and closely supervised work. It consists mainly of clerical and blue-collar workers. However, most working class Democrats differ from most liberals in their more socially conservative views. Working class Democrats tend to be more religious and likely to belong to an ethnic minority. Socially conservative and disadvantaged Democrats are among the least educated and lowest earning ideological demographics. However, since at least [] there has been a noticeable decline in support for the Democratic Party among white working-class voters.

The Democratic Party receives support from secular organizations such as the Secular Coalition for America [] and many agnostic and atheist Americans. Although a diverse group themselves, atheists and secular people may include individuals who are fiscally conservative. In this case, fiscally conservative atheists and secularists will come together due to their opposition to the religiously bound social policies of the Christian right. From the end of the Civil War , African Americans primarily favored the Republican Party due to its overwhelming political and more tangible efforts in achieving the abolition of slavery , particularly through President Lincoln 's Emancipation Proclamation.

In addition, the ranks of the fledgling Ku Klux Klan were composed almost entirely of white Democrats who were angry over the poor treatment they had received at the hands of northerners and who were also bent on reversing the policies of Reconstruction. Roosevelt was elected president. Kennedy and Lyndon B. The Hispanic population, particularly the large Mexican American population in the Southwest and the large Puerto Rican and Dominican populations in the Northeast , have been strong supporters of the Democratic Party.

Cuban Americans still tend to vote Republican, though there has been a noticeable change starting with the elections. Although now a small percentage of the population virtually non-existent in some regions , most Native American precincts vote Democratic in margins exceeded only by African-Americans. Jews as an important Democratic constituency are especially politically active and influential in large cities such as New York City , Los Angeles , Boston and Chicago and play critical roles in large cities within presidential swing states , such as Philadelphia , Miami and Las Vegas.

Arab Americans, who are in general socially conservative yet with more diverse economic views, historically voted Republican until recent years, having supported George W. Bush over Al Gore in The Democratic Party also has considerable support in the small yet growing Asian American population.

The Asian American population had been a stronghold of the Republican Party until the presidential election in which George H. Originally, the vast majority of Asian Americans consisted of strongly anti-communist, pro-democracy Vietnamese refugees , Chinese Americans , Taiwanese Americans , Korean Americans and socially conservative Filipinos who fled Ferdinand Marcos in the s through the s and the general Republican Party 's socially conservative, fervently anti-communist position strongly resonated with this original demographic. As of [update] , there have been a total of 15 Democratic Party Presidents.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Democratic Party disambiguation. Major political party in the United States. Democratic Party. Politics of United States Political parties Elections. Federal Government. Constitution of the United States Law Taxation. Presidential elections Midterm elections Off-year elections. Political parties. Democratic Republican Third parties Libertarian Green. Other countries Atlas. The donkey party logo remains a well-known symbol for the Democratic Party despite not being the official logo of the party.

See also: Modern liberalism in the United States. Main article: Political positions of the Democratic Party. See also: United States minimum wage. Main article: Environmental policy of the United States. See also: Abortion law in the United States. See also: Iraq War. See also: United States sanctions against Iran. See also: Afghanistan — United States relations and International public opinion on the war in Afghanistan. See also: Israel—United States relations. See also: Higher education in the United States.

Further information: Social class in the United States. Main article: Irreligion in the United States. See also: National Jewish Democratic Council. Liberalism portal Politics portal United States portal. Hayes won a majority of votes in the Electoral College. Bush won a majority of votes in the Electoral College. Cole Jacksonian Democracy in New Hampshire. Harvard University Press. Ballot Access News. Retrieved November 12, Scott Imposing values: an essay on liberalism and regulation. Florence: Oxford University Press.

Modern liberalism occupies the left-of-center in the traditional political spectrum and is represented by the Democratic Party in the United States. The Huffington Post. June 29, Retrieved January 9, Princeton University. Retrieved June 9, The Making of the New Democrats. New York: Political Science Quarterly. October 30, The New York Times.

Retrieved January 28, The Hill. Retrieved May 4, The Washington Post. Retrieved March 25, The Atlantic. The Nation. Berry; Jerry Goldman Cengage Learning. Florence: Cengage Learning. In the United States, the Democratic Party represents itself as the liberal alternative to the Republicans, but its liberalism is for the most part the later version of liberalism—modern liberalism. The Catholic Voter in American Politics. The Passing of the Democratic Monolith. Washington, D.

The American Catholic Voter. South Bend, Indiana: St. Politics and Religion in the United States 2nd ed. Trends in party affiliation among demographic groups Pew Research Center". Retrieved December 29, The American Prospect. Retrieved October 22, These House votes show how". Retrieved May 22, R 1, which creates new, alternative financing systems for congressional and presidential races that allow candidates to run for office without becoming dependent on and obligated to big money funders.

This empowers ordinary Americans by making their small contributions much more valuable to candidates. At the same time the systems greatly dilute the power and influence of influence-seeking funders by freeing up candidates from dependency on their money. One might of course wonder how much H. But history teaches that the bill should be taken seriously: Americans never let a good scandal go to waste.

Mitch McConnell R-Ky. It barred unlimited contributions to political parties. In the wake of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandals of the s, Congress enacted the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of that contained important lobbying and ethics reforms. One or both of us was actively involved in each of these successful reform battles. But the repeated lessons of the past show that in the wake of public anger and outrage about corruption and scandals, McConnell cannot do that indefinitely.

And such public anger and outrage exists today.