Nathan Newman nathan.newman at yale.edu
Sun Nov 28 06:53:46 PST 1999

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-lbo-talk at lists.panix.com
> [mailto:owner-lbo-talk at lists.panix.com]On Behalf Of Doug Henwood
> >On Sat, 27 Nov 1999, Nathan Newman wrote:
> >
> > > The fact that Clinton got 49% of the vote rather than the 56-58% he
> > > would probably have received cut his coattails quite a bit.
> >
> >Anti-Clintonites usually wield a breakdown saying Willie got 43% of the
> >vote. Is that oft-repeated nonsense, or am I misremembering?
> The idea of
> >a minority president has much less bite if it was 49%.
> Clinton got 43% in '92, 49% in '96.

But I was being sloppy doing the numbers from memory, so in the context of my original remarks, I was referring to 1992. But that just makes the point more dramatic in 1992. Winning Senate candidate for the Dems had to be getting significantly higher percentages than Clinton, sometimes dramatically so in more conservative states.

With a few more Senate seats, the Dems might have gotten the seats necessary to break GOP filibusters in a number of areas, such as campaign finance, striker replacement, and superfund cleanup. The fact that 60 Senate votes were required for any health care bill to pass was one reason the GOP had so much power to block and delay passage, although Clinton's clunky plan was as responsible.

For those who just dismiss the choice between Dems and GOP as meaningless, striker replacement is a pretty dramatic counterexample. Here is a basic life-and-death issue for many workers, whether they can be fired for exercising their right to strike. Legislation banning permanent replacements for strikers passed the House under the Dems in 1994 and received a majority of Senate votes in the same year, but was killed by a GOP filibuster. There were 50 Senate Dem votes to break the filibuster but only 3 GOP votes for the pro-union measure, a pretty dramatic issue for as clear a life-and-death union issue as possible.

-- Nathan Newman

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