As Republicans can surely tell you, the result of winning across many diverse districts, is a party that includes many diverse opinions. Since ascending to power in 2010, the GOP has been fighting a slow running, internecine war between what could crudely be broken down into the groups calling themselves the Republican Main Street Partnership and the Republican Study Committee, with both occasionally battling the small but still loud, Freedom Caucus.
The Democrat party has been shrunken so badly, and pushed so far back into its urban redoubts, that it’s been a while since more moderate members of the party, often called Blue Dogs have been given a thought by political analysts. But, those Blue Dogs are the members who could win many of the toss up districts where the party is hoping for victory. If that happens, the House Speaker, presumably Nancy Pelosi, will have to corral the Blue Dogs if she wants to enforce her agenda. When it comes to the progressive issues Pelosi is known for championing, one wonders if the Blue Dogs will side with their leadership, or their principles. Will Blue Dogs sell out their home districts to toe the party line, or hold firm against attempts to raise spending and to diminish Americans’ Second Amendment rights? Only time will tell.
In US News & World Report, David Catanese writes that if Democrats win the House, President Trump will have to rely on Blue Dogs to enact pieces of his agenda:
They’re called Blue Dogs – a waning coalition of moderate to conservative-leaning House Democrats who stress consensus over conflict with Republicans and have been battling extinction ever since 2010 redistricting produced more partisan congressional maps and their party has steadily hardened its liberal ideology.
Reduced to just 18 members on Capitol Hill today, this band of Democratic centrists is aiming to add at least a half dozen new lawmakers to its depleted fold this year, providing members an opportunity to reassert their waning influence in what they hope will be a majority caucus.
Blue Dogs came to be in the mid-90s when some members said they felt they had been “choked blue” by the extremes of both parties. After 2008, they boasted a coalition-high 54 members. Two years later, half of them were wiped out in the GOP wave.
Now as the party feels increasingly emboldened about its chances to flip at least 24 GOP seats to capture control of the House, Blue Dogs say it can’t happen without them.
To get to 24, the party is heavily targeting the 25 Republican House districts carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016 as prime opportunities. Unless they completely run the table in those, they’ll need to add more traditionally Republican seats that were won by Trump to reach a majority.
That’s where the coterie of Blue Dogs factor into the equation.
“To win the majority, there’s no liberal seat out there that we need to win,” said seven-term Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, a Blue Dog, during a recent briefing outlining the group’s prospects.
If congressional control ends up being decided by a single-seat margin on either side of the aisle, the Blue Dogs would wield new power over the governing agenda, becoming instant swing votes for both Trump and Democratic leadership to pursue.
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