The Washington Post

Political disappoint­ments


The July 17 front-page article “Many young Democrats are furious at their party” reported on college Democrats in North Carolina who are frustrated that President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D- Calif.) had not anticipate­d and prevented the removal of abortion rights. I guess some people would rather be mad at their friends than vote for them.

Surely anyone engaged in party politics, no matter how young, knows that overcoming the inevitable Republican filibuster in the Senate requires 60 Democratic votes. And overcoming the veto of a Republican president requires even more. The last time we had a Democrat in the White House and 60 or more Democrats in the Senate was 1977 to 1979 under Jimmy Carter. There were 61 Democratic senators. Roe v. Wade was only four years old, and there were still conservati­ve Southern Democrats in the party, so why would liberal Democrats at that time even consider kicking the hornets’ nest of abortion?

Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson had 64 to 68 Democratic senators to work with, but the liberal concerns of the 1960s were civil rights and the Vietnam War. Abortion rights were a state issue at that time and not serious at the federal level.

Young Democrats need to focus on what is essential to abortion and other rights — and even the survival of democracy. That is electing Democratic majorities at the state and federal levels.

John Hansman, Bethesda

Frustratio­n and fury are understand­able reactions to the current political situation. I, too, delete fundraisin­g texts and emails from streams of Democrats, most of whom probably detest sending them as much as we detest receiving them.

Consider, however, the principle of critical mass. If you assemble 98 percent of what is needed (people, money, tools, whatever) to accomplish a task, you will fail. If the problem is that there are not enough Democrats in Congress, particular­ly in the Senate, to do what Democrats promise and most Americans want, the solution is not to reject the Democratic Party or politics in general. This would only cede control of Congress to a party that supports none of what you want and would actively make matters worse. The solution is to ensure that there are enough Democrats — in fact, not just in name — to enact desperatel­y needed legislatio­n on a whole range of issues.

I ignore most campaign solicitati­ons, but I make regular, albeit meager, donations to several candidates in races that I believe can be won. If the Democratic Party gains an actual working majority and then fails to deliver, rejection of it would be justified and entirely appropriat­e.

Mark Thomas, Berlin, Md.

Young people are not the only ones “furious at their party.” I’m a baby boomer, and I have no patience for President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D- Calif.), among others, declaring they’ll run again. They are too old. It’s time to let go. Groom some younger people to take the party leadership. Jeez.

Maida Schifter, Silver Spring

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