I have to say I'm so tired of hearing the term “voting rights” being pushed by the Democrats.
Anyone who can legally vote can vote. No legislation that the Republicans are pushing is depriving one person of the right to vote. What they deal with are voter integrity issues like having voter ID or ballot harvesting — that's what Democrats don't want because those measures help to prevent fraud.
As I noted over the weekend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) claimed election integrity bills were a “legislative continuation of Jan. 6.” But while she said pushed that insanity, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) gave the game away, admitting that purpose was a federal takeover of elections, claiming that the “federal elections cannot be left up to the states, should not be left up to the states.” It's all about control.
But to do that they have to do away with the filibuster. They keep screaming about the objections that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have to doing away with the filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that they had to keep “pressing them and pressing them and pressing them until they do [comply].”
Sinema isn't even the only person from Arizona who has issues. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) is not yet on board with the effort to do away with it.
“I've never been part of an organization where it's really, really hard to do things. So if there's a real proposal, I'll take a look at it and evaluate it based on what's in the best interests of the country,” Kelly said. He said he has yet to see what, exactly, he would vote on and that the proposals Democrats have discussed change “almost weekly.”
He's not the only other one.
Sen. Chris Coons has said he's still “seriously weighing” what to do, although he thinks it's important to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Restoration Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. But, there were other Democrats speaking out, too.
Some, like Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) like a talking filibuster but are “not crazy” about making an exception for voting rights. Meanwhile, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) says reform is needed but is promoting more modest changes. She cites the near-impossible odds the party faces in getting all 50 Democrats on board for changing the filibuster unilaterally, also known as the “nuclear option.”
So, what Schumer may be doing with this effort is expose how divided Democrats are on all this, while not likely getting rid of the filibuster as he wants. And then if he does so, this can get folks like Kelly, who are in swing states, into difficulty while not getting it passed in any event.
“This is a tough game. And I understand they have a tough job to do. I think Chuck has tried to be as fair as he could be this whole year. We did some great things, now they're coming down to crunch time. And I understand the position they're in and what they're doing,” Manchin said on Monday. “But I've been very clear where I am. So hopefully they respect that too.”
Given Manchin and Sinema's staunch opposition to getting rid of the filibuster, Democrats are weighing votes on reinstalling a talking filibuster or a filibuster exemption for voting legislation as alternatives to eliminating the 60-vote threshold entirely. But making those changes would require lockstep unity and going “nuclear” — a unilateral vote to change the rules on party lines.
Bottom line, it doesn't sound like Schumer's going to get rid of it, and it sounds like he may hang some of his folks out to dry in the process. But if they did this, come November, they could be hanging themselves out to dry even more when the Republicans potentially take back the Senate. They may be completely sinking themselves with this push.
Watch how quickly their position changes and how important the filibuster will become to keep, then.