A progressive wave swept across the Delaware General Assembly yesterday. A message was sent to Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf and Senate Majority Leader Nicole Poore: it is time to embrace your progressive membership in both caucuses rather than trying to obstruct them. The leader in the Senate, Senator and Senate President Pro Tem Dave McBride, is going home to Lewes to retire for good now, mostly because he killed the gun safety legislation last year. Longtime State Representatives John Viola and Earl Jaques also were defeated, mostly because they both were Democrats from a different party and era no longer relevant in today’s world, and both held positions completely at odds with the Democratic Party of today. You saw progressives Larry Lambert, Sarah McBride, Rae Moore and Kyle Evans Gay win their primaries as well. Needless to say, the Democratic caucuses in both Houses of the General Assembly have been revamped and it is likely that both can fashion progressive majorities in January.
Therefore, it will be tempting for Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf and Senate Majority Leader Nicole Poore to try to continue to ignore the progressives within their midst and seek Republican votes to maintain their positions in January. That is what happened in New York a few years ago.
That would very unwise. Doing so will confirm their status as the next primary targets in 2022. It will tear the Democratic caucus in both chambers apart. It would guarantee their defeats in two years.
What they should do is instead bargain with these new progressive members for their votes, so as to preempt a leadership election. Yes, you can negotiate with your own caucus. Trade floor votes on progressive legislation such as gun safety for leadership votes.
Take the hint from the voters, Pete and Nicole, or you will be gone in two years too.