Delaware Republicans Are Breaking the Delaware Way

It seems odd to write that title especially since we are so often enraged by the results of the Delaware Way.  The Delaware Way I am talking about is personified by Return Day, when politicians who ran against each other appear with great ceremony in Georgetown to really bury a hatchet and to indulge in political gossip.  It is supposed to represent wiping the slate clean, so that everyone can get down to the business of making the State work better for Delawareans.

This Delaware Way is meant to describe a political atmosphere where politicians may disagree, may have differing ideas, but who do figure out how to make the state work under the circumstances of the day.  One hopes that these compromises are in the best interests of  Delawareans.  This approach that is typically pointed at compromise can make a progressive crazy — because your ideals and values too often end up on the cutting room floor to achieve a compromise.  If you are a progressive, you are too often scratching your head as to WHY certain compromises were made.  Still.  You could count on people mainly working at getting the business of Delaware done in good times and in bad times.

Not now.

It looks from here that this year, Delaware’s GOP is specifically trying to break the Delaware Way.  We can talk about whether that is a good thing or bad thing.  But I want to point out that there is much serious thinking that the GOP is largely responsible for the current dysfunction of government, through 30+ years of breaking institutions, extreme politics and general disdain for the thing they so badly wanted control over.   We pointed out that the rhetoric of candidate John Marino was pointed at extending the specific dysfunction in DC to Delaware.  And now it looks as though the entire GOP legislative caucus has decided that breaking Delaware on behalf of their wealthy funders — rather than making it work for all of us — is going to be their answer to getting Delaware’s budget balanced.

The list:

  • Holding hostage the appointment of Shawn Garvin to DNREC, while they held their breath that Marino would win.
  • Insisting on an Estate Tax cut for their wealthy funders when Delaware teachers are being laid off.
  • Walking out of a prayer given by a Muslim Imam, and then insisting that this was dangerous.
  • Walking out of a vote to create President Barack Obama Say, when President Ronald Reagan Day passed unanimously.
  • Walking out on committed support of HB 5, after 4 of the GOP caucus actually signed onto the bill as co-sponsors
  • Insisting on eliminating the Prevailing Wage — as if paying working people less would somehow be good for the Delaware economy.  And as if Prevailing Wage had any impact to the operating budget.
  • Insisting on Right to Work status — as if letting reasonably well paid union workers drop to minimum wage status actually helps the Delaware economy or Delaware families.
  • Accusing Democrats of not being serious about spending cuts — when the Governor proposed a framework of half cuts, half new revenue to solve the budget hole.  AND they’ve had all year to present another option.  They don’t have one, so are putting up destructive measures and walking out of prior commitments.

And then there’s this recent exchange from a press conference the GOP had recently:




In spite of Rep Hudson asking if we should fund kindergarten and secondary education, or if we should just fund K through 12 education, the GOP is today taking credit for raising $100M of the funds needed to close the budget.  Their expectation is that you will not remember that they are not in the majority.  They expect that you will not know that this increased revenue came at the price of making sure that their wealthy funders got an Estate Tax break.   So they took the budget hostage just to get a tax break for the wealthiest Delawareans.

I don’t think that any of this counts as the Delaware Way.  It is fine, really, to advocate for your side, but taken together, this has the look of the Delaware GOP not giving a damn about getting this budget done by the end of the month.  As outraged as we all were, the Delaware Dems were at least trying to negotiate their way to a solution when they agreed to create more of a budget hole by eliminating the Estate Tax in order to get an agreement to raise the Franchise Tax.

And don’t get me started on the retrograde attitudes towards Muslims and women being displayed on your dime.  $400M in the hole is a genuine crisis, and it is well past time for the Delaware GOP to remember that the state’s health is in the balance here and they need to come to the table to help fix this thing, rather than continuing to make it worse by just trying to break the entire enterprise.

I’m not sure about what will happen between now and July 1, but we need a solution to the budget crisis — one that continues vital investments like education and makes a downpayment on the structural issues in the budget.  What we don’t need is Trump-era GOP breaking of government institutions so that rich people can get more of your hard-earned dollars while working people pay and pay and pay.

9 comments on “Delaware Republicans Are Breaking the Delaware Way

  1. To me “the Delaware way” always conjured images of good old boys in a back room, making sure “things turned out right”. Right for their friends, right for the rich and right for the corporations. And that’s both parties as this state always has a fresh crop of DINOS on hand. Delaware is nowhere as blue as we’d like it to be, but I remember the Pete DuPont era when it was much more red than it is now. But the truth is politics is all about money here, the people take a back seat, and that’s if they even get on the bus to begin with.

    • cassandram

      I hear this too and take the definition from the context in which it is used. When the local politicians how up at stuff like Return Day, they want to make a point of how well they work together. I’ve heard Joe Biden talk about this as well on the national stage. Then there is the backroom stuff that is all too often the coin of the realm for getting anything done here.

  2. Seeing everything in list form is stunning.

  3. Thomas O'Hagan

    It is time the Democrats stood up to the Republicans. The Dems should announce a budget they can support that includes the Kowalko income tax bill and any additional cuts to balance the budget. They should advertise that the Dems budget protects the poor, education, and the environment and when the Republicans realize that this is what the citizens want they will be happy to vote with the Republicans to pass it as is without amendments. If this brings us past June 30 so be it. It is time that principles are worth more than a calendar. Let the Republicans, for once, defend their rich are more important than the poor stand.

    • cassandram

      I’m with you on this. I’ve been noting for months that the Ds needed to queue up this session’s work as the beginning of the 2018 campaign since this was going to be so financially difficult. They needed an agenda to work towards and to pass, rather than taking up the Governor’s. They probably should have done their own budget too. Messaging has gotten better recently (I think), but they are playing defense abit.

  4. huh? Democrats have had the governor’s office since 1993 (24 years and counting). If they can’t get their agenda passed in that time, umm, maybe it is time for some introspection?

    • The point is that they don’t have an agenda, other than staying in power.

    • cassandram

      Seriously? This is not about an agenda. This is about managing a crisis and the GOP can’t be bothered to take this seriously. And the GOPs only agenda is about helping their wealthy funders.

      • CinqueB

        Come on now Cassandram the Dems have always taken their fair share of the spoils here in Delaware. Be fair, their wealthy funders require something also.

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