June 6, 2019

A former top aide to Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) this week warned that Democrats must learn the lesson that political power is meant to be used.

During a panel discussion on MSNBC’s Last Word program, Adam Jentleson told a story about how Democrats decided not to take action after Senate Republicans refused to hold hearings on Merrick Garland, then-President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

“The risk is that we spend the time between now and election day — 17 months — having these kinds of arguments, having these kind of political stories about disagreements within the caucus instead of uniting behind an effort to use the power the House Democrats have and wield it effectively to hold Trump accountable,” Jentleson explained.

“When Merrick Garland was up for confirmation and McConnell blocked him,” he continued. “There were some extreme measures we could have taken, but we looked at the polls that showed Hillary Clinton confidently beating Donald Trump.”

At the time, Democrats decided not to “rock the boat,” Jentleson said.“Let’s not do anything extreme,” he recalled. “We’ll win the election and President Hillary Clinton will send her Supreme Court nominee to be confirmed by a Democratic Senate.”

Jentleson pointed out that “it didn’t work out that way.”

“When you have the opportunity to wield power against your opponent politically, you should use it,” he added, offering a lesson from the Garland incident.

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