Look, nobody but Manchin and Sinema actually understands, even in their own sick, twisted minds the rationale for their decision to gut voting rights by protecting a Jim Crow era filibuster rule. But it no longer matters. These two knuckleheads are locked in their position, and I don’t see how that changes.
But it is still important for Biden and Schumer to make the stand, and force these two turncoats to put their votes on the official record, in public, on national television. And here’s why.
Make no mistake about it. It was massive African American support that handed the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to Biden. And he made promises to get there. And highest among then were the restoration of full voting rights for African Americans, as well as criminal police reform. They took him at his word.
When Biden plinked his ass behind the Resolute Desk, everybody understood he had to deal first with Covid and the economy. And he did that, first with martialing the full forces of the federal government to get 1 million shots into 1 million arms in 100 days. And then he passed the mammoth Covid relief bill that bought the country breathing space. This was fine, since minority communities benefitted as well.
But then Biden swung to a legacy item, a massive proposed bipartisan hard infrastructure act. It took longer than it should have, thanks again to Judas Joe, but he got it passed. Mission accomplished.
Meanwhile, the House was following the progressive agenda. They passed the For the People Act, a wide ranging voting reform bill, followed by the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, meant to offset the disastrous SCOTUS US v Shelby case. And then they passed the George Floyd criminal police reform act. African American activists were thrilled.
And Biden instead chose to throw his full support behind a massive $3.5 trillion human infrastructure bill touted by House progressives, which had little support in the Senate. The White House spent months trying to reconcile the two sides, while voting rights and police reform languished in the Senate. Why wouldn’t the African American community not feel once again like they were the ugly kids sitting in the corner at the dance?
And now everything has fallen apart. Criminal police reform is dead. Manchin and Sinema have already made it clear that they will die in harness rather than give fully qualified American citizens the right to cote in elections. Once again, the African American bride has been left standing at the alter, and they’re blaming Biden.
But there is still a way to make this right. When Biden and Harris went to Atlanta for a voting rights speech, local activists told them to not even bother if they didn’t have a concrete plan. Money talks, and bullshit walks. Biden and Harris went down anyway, and put on a barnburner speech, well received.
How many times have I said this in the past? You want to unite the base? Then Show. Them. A. Villain! And that’s what Biden and Schumer have the chance to do, as long as they call a floor vote to reform the Senate rules to allow voting rights bills to pass with a simple majority. That will show a unified Democratic Senate, minus two Blue Dog turncoats, that are totally committed to voting rights. And those two Senators are from red states with a piss poor history of minority rights.
Shit, this is nothing new for African Americans. Since the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1965, every step of forward progress that African Americans have made had to be bought with blood, sweat, and tears. Politicians always talk a good fight, and then disappear when it’s time for the tubber to meet the road.
But if the Democrats hold those votes, and show that they are committed to voting rights, with two turncoat traitors, they could energize the African American base to show up once again and defend their hard fought franchise. Standing in line is nothing new for African American voters, just so long as there’s a spot at the end of the rainbow.
- Manchin and Sinema are a national disgrace, But if the Democrats show unified support for voting rights, then hopefully they can activate the African American community to come out in force once more, especially in a year when Trump is trying to reestablish his dominance. All we can do is to try.