(Spoiler: Because they want to.)
I have spoken to a couple of members of the United States Senate and they will say very clearly that they are not excited about enacting the Bernie Sanders $60 trillion in new spending… but they also would not want to fight President Sanders about that. They are very comfortable with a reality in which he is the President, he gets to keep talking about how he believes health care should be a right, and there is no bill. Because, you know, there just [pause] can’t be. That that suits them very well, and in fact it makes them feel more reassured about being able to campaign for the ticket and, you know, be happy Democrats, knowing that all this stuff is kind of moot, right?
https://megaphone.link/VMP3623175792 (starting almost exactly 42 minutes in)
If your party is struggling to break even in the Senate, and it needs ten more seats to reliably defeat filibusters, and those marginal ten seats are likely in marginally purple and reddish states, well, that’s a hard problem.
If on top of that some of those fifty-odd sitting Senators are actually hiding behind the filibuster rule to avoid passing progressive legislation, on what planet do you expect them to turn around and support progressive legislation when that hard problem is solved?
A really basic rule of understanding human behavior is that people do what they want to do, when they have a choice. When they have a choice, they don’t do what they don’t want to do. That’s what choice is.
So when sitting Democratic Senators, at least a “couple” according to Yglesias, say directly that they don’t want to be on the hook for supporting progressive legislation, I think we have to take them at their word.
You want Medicare For All or a Green New Deal? That’s not sixty Democrats in the Senate, that’s more like sixty-five. We can’t count on the ones we have, and each new Senate seat for the Democrats will be purpler and purpler.