Charles Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, has forced a debate over fundamental party priorities out into the open. Should Democrats focus primarily on the problems of the poor or should they first address the economic struggles of the working and middle classes?
It’s not often that a politician provokes conflict within the ranks of his party’s core supporters. Schumer did just that in a National Press Club speech on Nov. 25, three weeks after devastating Democratic losses in Senate, House, gubernatorial and state legislative elections.
According to Schumer, President Obama and his party suffered defeat last month in large part because of the strategic decision to press for enactment of the Affordable Care Act soon after Obama won the presidency. In 2009, with Democrats in full control of Congress and the White House, Schumer said,
Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them.