The Monday Morning Teaser

Many stories competed for attention this week. Democrats from the Texas legislature dramatically arrived in DC, simultaneously denying a quorum to Republicans pushing a new voter-suppression law, and drawing attention to federal legislation protecting voting rights. It’s attention-grabbing, but will it work?

Also in Congress this week, negotiations continued on two tracks of infrastructure bills: a bipartisan bill that might pass through the regular process, and a much larger bill that Democrats hope to pass through the reconciliation process.

Or maybe the important thing that happened this week was that a fourth surge of the coronavirus was confirmed by a turnaround in the daily death statistics. Or maybe we should be focused on the revelations in the new last-days-of-the-Trump-administration books. Or on the climate-related fires in the Northwest and floods in Europe.

I decided to focus on the federal judge in Texas who blocked new applications for DACA protection. Not because the order was so significant in itself: It’s going to be appealed, so the ultimate result of the case is uncertain and probably still a year or more away. But that story is a hook on which to hang the larger and more amorphous story of the dysfunction of American democracy.

Think about it: It’s been nine years since President Obama created DACA as a “temporary stopgap” to let Dreamers stay in the country until Congress came up with a more permanent solution. Almost nobody wants the Dreamers deported, and yet that more permanent solution is still nowhere on the horizon. It’s yet another issue like universal background checks on gun purchases, or maintaining America’s roads and bridges, or closing loopholes that allow billionaires to dodge taxes. The American people want it to happen, but their elected representatives can’t get it done.

The spotlight is always on the tug-of-war between the executive and judicial branches, but those battles keep being fought because the dysfunction of Congress creates a void where a power center should be. The real story isn’t what’s happening, it’s what’s not happening.

Anyway, that article should be out around 10 or so EDT. The weekly summary should follow between noon and 1.

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