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Banner and KC skyline at Boulevardia.
Boulevardia 2024: Kansas City's ultimate urban music fest rocks Crown Center
Catie Walker, Staff Writer • June 20, 2024

Kansas City partied last weekend on Grand Boulevard at Crown Center for Boulevardia 2024, KC’s largest urban street music festival. The...

Taking place from June 7-9, the event featured performers, businesses and other organizations.
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Catie Walker and Evelyn BergerJune 11, 2024

  Kansas City celebrated the LGBTQ+ community at the 47th annual PrideFest and parade this weekend at Theis Park.    “Pride gives the...

Courtesy of Rosanne Wickman
Remembering G. Fred Wickman: Journalist, Professor and Mentor
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On April 27, 2024, former Kansas City Star columnist, UMKC professor and U-News (now called Roo News) advisor G. Fred Wickman passed away after...

Kansas City has a chance to advance to the Summit League Championship for the first time since 2011.
Roos Softball Advances to Championship Semifinal
Zach Gunter, Sports Editor • May 10, 2024

  Kansas City has thrilled viewers in the first three games of the Summit League Softball Championship.   Entering as the third seed,...

A picture of the posters on the University Walkway.
UMKC Students Received University Pushback at Pro-Palestine Protest
Aurora Wilson and Maisy BlantonApril 29, 2024

  Over 150 students showed up to participate in a protest in solidarity with Palestine and other protests across the nation on Monday.   Around...

The absurdity of moderation

Moderate Senate Democrats Joe Manchin (right) of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema (left) of Arizona (Gage Skidmore/Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin)

The long-awaited American Rescue Plan, the Biden administration’s COVID-19 relief package, was signed into law last week. The $1.9 trillion legislation is one of the most progressive bills signed in decades. 

The significance of this bill in the fight against the pandemic and helping uplift those suffering in crushing poverty is impossible to deny. However, President Biden’s relief package is not as progressive as promised. 

Within the Senate, the bill was needlessly curtailed. The primary actors responsible for this play of stinginess were moderate Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.  

Moderate senators acting as impediments to passing progressive legislation is not new. In Obama’s first term, a moderate block of Democratic senators undermined and watered down the Affordable Care Act. 

The defense for this kind of behavior is always that they are moderates seeking some kind of compromise. Many are doing it to seem independent or something akin to that. However, political theatrics are a poor reason to hurt others, making them unable to receive benefits by removing vital sections from an aid bill.  

Using your power in the Senate to sit and say no to policies that help people is short-sighted. More people would vote for you and your party if you did more to visibly improve their lives. Yet, these moderates are the people making it harder to do just that. 

If a faction of moderate senators hadn’t forced the Obama administration to remove the public option and other more progressive elements from the Affordable Care Act, more people would have clearly benefited from that legislation. That could have meant the legislation wouldn’t be seen as a toxic mess.  

These senatorial sagas of the past and present show the way moderates act is not actually in line with the labeling. When someone is labeled as moderate, most assume that is because they have a position that is more in line with the broader American public. 

However, that isn’t true. In Congress, a moderate is someone whose political positions fit the middle of the House or the Senate, not broader public opinion. More often than not, these moderates have opinions that are not popular with the American public.  

That was shown clearly over the last few weeks when many Senate Democrats didn’t support increasing the minimum wage, an almost crazy position to take, since increasing the minimum wage is popular among a majority of Democratic and Republican voters. 

Winning elections is hard, and it is understandable that sometimes decisions have to be made that are unorthodox or unpopular in that pursuit. However, when you are in power you should be using your leverage to help people, not blunting others’ efforts to do just that. 

Now more than ever, strident progressive action is necessary. That cannot happen if moderate senators’ response to these efforts is no. 

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