This week’s drama will create a new image of the futility of Democratic power in Washington. Yet the obstacle to passing suffrage reform and the Build Back Better climate and spending bill had long been evident. But the White House and Democratic leaders still chose to move forward without a clear path to success. Absent a last-minute U-turn from Manchin and Sinema, which is highly unlikely, the current rumble raises questions about the White House’s political strategy and its decision to prepare the public for reforms. historic generations without the guarantee that they could be adopted. At this point, there is a strong sense that Senate votes are held primarily for political reasons rather than the expectation that they will enact new laws.
When they hit the Senate wall, it’s unclear what the Democrats will do next. Asked about the administration’s plans on Monday, Harris said the strategy was to “keep working on it.”
“I’m making calls and meeting people. We’re not going to give up. You’ve heard me say this before, and I mean it. It’s too important,” the vice president told reporters.
It is true that the history of the civil rights struggle has unfolded over decades, encountered congressional filibuster worse than is likely to unfold this week, and ultimately rewarded a dedicated political campaign. But if Democrats can’t pass their suffrage bills soon, they risk losing the opportunity to do so for years to come, with Republicans convinced to take control of the House of Representatives and consider a takeover of the Senate in the November elections.
Sinema and Manchin stand firm
If the voting rights legislation fails this week, as expected, it’s unclear how Democrats will proceed. While only one Republican, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, has voiced support for one of the current bills, the John Lewis Advancing Voting Rights Act, the entire Senate conference in GOP opposes the Freedom to Vote Act. Taken together, the measures would give all Americans the right to vote by mail, create Election Day as a national holiday, standardize voting rules and restore protections against racial discrimination in state election laws struck down by the Court. supreme. Republicans call the bills a federal takeover of the electoral system and dismiss criticism of state election laws, which are rooted in Trump’s lies the 2020 election was stolen.
The threat to democracy grows
Martin Luther King III, son of the slain civil rights pioneer, tapped into that sense of urgency on Monday, warning that 50-year-old students would read what’s happening in the Senate this week.
“No matter what happens tomorrow, we have to keep the pressure on and stop saying empty words. Don’t tell us what you believe in, show it to us with your votes,” he said. “History will look at what happens tomorrow.”
Democracy advocates are particularly concerned about moves in some states that seek to politicize the nonpartisan process of collecting and tabulating election results, after some notable Republican officials stood firm in 2020 against Trump’s bid to steal an election that several courts and even his own Justice Department says he lost.
The threat in this regard posed by the increasingly autocratic Trump is only becoming more extreme. The ex-president spewed more outlandish and dangerous lies about non-existent voter fraud at a rally in Arizona on Saturday night. He also lobbied state lawmakers to decertify Biden’s election victory. In a recent video message, the twice impeached and defeated ex-president also claimed he won Pennsylvania, a state he actually lost by more than 80,000 votes to Biden.
“We will have to be much more precise next time when it comes to counting the votes,” said Trump, who has tried to mobilize supporters in election commissions and in positions responsible for organizing the vote across the country. “Sometimes the vote counter is more important than the candidate,” he added.
So far, Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election have all failed. But his anger over refusing to admit defeat to Biden has led to substantial changes to the US electoral system that arguably make it less democratic. The current president and his party may be about to squander their best, and perhaps their last chance to respond.