The “Manchinema” obstructionists answered the call of history with lies, betrayal, and appeasement of the enemies of democracy. History will condemn them for the ages.
Above: Sen. Joe Manchin shamelessly lies about the Senate filibuster rule. Molly Reynolds in her 2017 book, “Exceptions to the Rule: The Politics of Filibuster Limitations in the U.S. Senate,” collected 161 examples of the Senate establishing work-arounds to the ordinary 60-vote requirement to push past a filibuster. The “Manchinema” obstructionists themselves voted just last month for a one-time filibuster carve out to increase the federal debt ceiling to avoid a default on the national debt.
I will reiterate what I said yesterday:
This [was] a vote to get every senator on the record for the judgment of history. 50 fascistic Sedition Party Senators + 2 Vichy Democrats who are collaborators appeasing the Sedition Party and who are betraying their party are filibustering fundamental voting rights.
This is the proper framing, not the lazy media villagers who write B.S. like “President Biden fails to convince Democrats to support his voting rights bill.” Actually, every Democrat will have voted in support of President Biden and his voting rights bill. It is 50 fascistic Sedition Party Senators + 2 Vichy Democrats who have betrayed American democracy and who are traitors to their country. Get it right.
EVERY Democrat in the House voted for each iteration of the voting rights bills. EVERY Sedition Party Republican in the House (including Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger) voted against each iteration of the voting rights bills.
EVERY Democrat in the Senate voted for each iteration of the voting rights bills. EVERY Republican in the Senate (including 16 Republican Senators who had voted to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act in 2006) voted against each iteration of the voting rights bills.
EVERY Republican in the Senate (including the 7 Senate Republicans who voted to convict Trump in his impeachment for the January 6 seditious insurrection), filibustered a final vote on the voting rights bill before the Senate.
ONLY TWO Vichy Democrats (who cynically voted for the bill) who are collaborators appeasing the Sedition Party and betraying their party joined the filibuster. Sen. Joe Manchin filibustered his own bill that he authored at his insistence.
ONLY ONE party supports voting rights and American Democracy, the Democratic Party.
ONLY ONE party is systematically undermining voting rights and enacting legislation to subvert election results, the Sedition Party Republicans.
The Sedition Party Republicans who attempted to overthrow American democracy in a violent seditious insurrection on January 6, 2021. Their slow-motion insurrection in state legislatures and local election boards is ongoing and is a clear and present danger to the survival of American democracy.
The “Manchinema” obstructionists know all this and say, “Nah, I don’t see any problem.”
All the corporate media headlines today proclaim “Democrats fail” to pass voting rights legislation. The truth is that Democrats were betrayed by traitors who collaborated with the enemies of democracy. But the “bothsiderism” of the corporate media will not permit them to speak this stark truth. They instead portray this as just a normal day of politics as usual in the Senate, rather than marking a seminal event in the death of American democracy at the hands of the anti-democracy Sedition Party.
The only thing worse than having to combat the enemies of democracy is being betrayed by traitors in our midst who are collaborators and appeasers of the enemies of democracy. The fascist barbarians are at the gate, and the “Manchinema” obstructionists are holding the gate open for them. This must be how the French Resistance felt with the betrayal by the Vichy French collaborating with the Nazis in 1940.
Greg Sargent writes, Joe Manchin finally makes it plain: He is in favor of minority rule:
Fittingly enough, one of those two Democrats — Joe Manchin III of West Virginia — has marked the occasion by making it as plain as day what’s really at the core of this stance. It’s unabashed, affirmative support for a Senate governed by the ability of the minority to dictate outcomes to the majority.
[N]ow Manchin has left no doubt: He wants to preserve a Senate where minorities can dictate outcomes because he sees this as an inherent good in and of itself, as something that is superior to a majority-rule one.
This is fundamentally anti-democratic. Democracy operates on a simple majority vote, 50 percent plus one. Manchin openly supports a tyranny of the minority.
Here Manchin reveals that to him, the filibuster’s affirmative value is that it is a “check” the minority can exercise to prevent the majority party from passing laws. The filibuster is a positive good precisely because it can stop that majority party from unilaterally dictating its way, even if it was legitimately elected by popular majorities to positions of control over the branches of government.
I checked in with James Wallner, a longtime Senate aide and rules expert who writes regularly on Senate procedure. Wallner noted that this from Manchin constitutes an unwitting admission of sorts that critics of the filibuster are right about it.
“This has been a long-standing critique of the filibuster, that it allows the minority to block a majority from passing legislation,” Wallner told me. “Manchin essentially acknowledged that.”
Wallner added that Manchin has effectively admitted that he actively wants the minority to have that power. This constitutes “giving the minority a veto they don’t otherwise have,” Wallner continued, adding that permitting this to remain in place allows “the minority to determine what ultimately is going to happen.”
What’s also striking is that this badly undermines a leading argument for keeping the filibuster, i.e., that it facilitates bipartisanship. As Wallner noted, Manchin is declaring that the filibuster’s virtue lies expressly in the fact that it gives the minority the ability to “say no.”
“That’s at face value what Manchin was saying,” Wallner told me.
Ben Jacobs writes, Kyrsten Sinema’s Moment of Infamy – The enigmatic Democrat votes for the filibuster and against her party:
In the corner, hunched over a cell phone, one senator was about to do something old-fashioned: Risk their career on a matter of principle. [Sinema’s defense of the filibuster rule has been unprincipled. This is about her seeing herself as smarter (superior) than anyone else, and stubbornly being unable to admit that she is wrong.]
And so, Kyrsten Sinema did just that and voted to preserve the filibuster and by doing so prevent her own party from advancing voting-rights legislation they consider vital to preserving democracy.
She was absent from the chamber for most of the final hour of debate where Democrats inveighed against the filibuster. Minutes after listening to Mitch McConnell’s speech, she slipped out of the chamber and returned with a bag of cough drops, from which she carefully unwrapped one and slipped under her face mask. Then as the roll call began, she prepared for her big moment. She reached into her overstuffed handbag and pulled out a brush she ran through her hair. Then, removing her mask, she applied a layer of powder to her face and carefully re-did her lipstick. Then she pressed the cough-drop wrapper to her lips, letting the lozenge drop out and chasing it with a sip of water. She looked tense as senator after senator stood up to solemnly pronounce their vote, smoothing out the wrinkles in her sweater, until finally her name was called. She stood up erect, both hands on her desk, and shouted “aye.”
Here's Senator Sinema voting "aye" since there are lots of tweets about it. pic.twitter.com/aTddI9YyBG
— Jeremy Art (@cspanJeremy) January 20, 2022
After the vote was over, Mitt Romney went over to Sinema and told her, “I respect your strength and character. Congratulations,” he recalled minutes later, and she replied, “Thank you.”
Shortly after the vote, Sinema could be seen shaking hands on the floor with several GOP senators who appeared to be thanking her.
A video posted to Twitter quickly garnered hundreds of comments, with many expressing outrage and disgust over the Democrat’s actions.
Watch it and read some of the responses below.
Anyone see any cash being slipped into her slimey hands? https://t.co/NJiFgE4uUX
— BlueC (@BlueGitana) January 20, 2022
I don’t think the senator from Arizona realizes that when they are done getting what they need from her they would throw her out of a moving car. https://t.co/jljR3H9FdM
— mike lauterbach (@mikelauterbach2) January 20, 2022
Am sure this was a major moment for this narcissist….getting accolades from GOP senators it only feeds her delusion that she is “the one” to “unite” America. https://t.co/Er2rUWRQnh
— Alejandro Villegas (@thecorpmex) January 20, 2022
Jason Easley adds, Republicans Plan To Use Puppet Sinema Against Mark Kelly In Arizona:
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has become the GOP’s favorite new weapon, and they plan to use her against Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) in 2022.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) told CNN’s Manu Raju:
GOP planning to use Sinema against Mark Kelly.
Cornyn to us: "I think there's going to be a big contrast in Arizona where one senator said not withstanding her support for the legislation she believes it's important … to have bipartisanship and one senator that doesn't."
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 19, 2022
If you want to see how this is already being used by Republicans, see Laurie Roberts at The Arizona Republic fka The Arizona Republican who, instead of villifying the traitorous Sinema today, instead argues that is Sen. Mark Kelly who might be in troulbe for agreeing to this one-time carve out of the filibuster rule to defend voting rights and American democracy. Will Sen. Mark Kelly’s half-stand on the fillibuster cost him the election? Carry water much, Laurie?
Sen. Sinema has gone way past obstructing the legislative priorities of Democrats for no other reason than her political ambitions and self-interest.
Sinema could cost Democrats a Senate seat if used against a member of her party during the midterm election. Sinema used Democrats to get elected. Now that she is in power, she is ignoring her constituents in Arizona and trying to build a brand that will keep her in office without Democratic votes.
[S]en. Sinema thinks she is building a career with her choices, but each wrong decision represents another step toward Democrats running her out of the US Senate.
Sinema is done in Democratic Party politics. Demand her resignation today to allow Arizona Democrats to appoint a real Democrat to her seat that she obtained under false pretenses, and then betrayed the voters who elected her.
As voting rights expert Ari Berman says, GOP States Are Shredding Voting Rights and Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema Are Now Complicit (excerpt):
Of course, it’s in McConnell’s interest to deny [the GQP effort to make it harder to vote]. More surprising was how Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who co-wrote the Freedom to Vote Act precisely to counter these GOP voter suppression bills, claimed that no voters would be disenfranchised after he and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) announced they would side with Republicans to block a change to the Senate rules that would have allowed his bill to pass.
“[People say] you’re making it so that they’re not going to be able to vote in the next election,” a reporter queried Manchin on Tuesday.
“The government will stand behind them to make sure they have a right to vote,” Manchin said. “We act like we’re going to obstruct people from voting. That’s not going to happen.”
But Congress is the government, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that voter disenfranchisement could skyrocket in 2022 because of new GOP voting restrictions and the Senate’s failure to block them.
As the Senate debated voting rights legislation this week, large urban counties in Texas reported that they were rejecting as many as half of all mail ballot applications for the upcoming March primary because of stringent voter ID requirements passed by the GOP-controlled legislature in August, an example of how even seemingly small bureaucratic changes can have an extremely burdensome effect on voters.
Texas already makes it incredibly difficult to vote by mail, limiting such ballots to those who are over 65, out of town during the election, in jail, or have a “sickness or physical condition” that prevents them from going to the polls (fear of contracting Covid doesn’t qualify). Under the new ID requirements imposed by the legislature, voters must put their driver’s license number, state ID number, or the last four digits of their Social Security number on their mail ballot applications. But here’s the catch: if that number doesn’t match the one the voter used when they registered, their application will be rejected. Moreover, some voters are submitting applications on old forms that don’t have a space for the now-required ID number. And, to make matters worse, it’s now a felony for election officials to send a mail ballot application to voters who didn’t specifically request one—making it more difficult to fix any errors.
As a result, the number of rejected applications in Houston’s Harris County has increased by a staggering 700 percent compared to the last midterm election in 2018. “If the numbers hold,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said on Wednesday, “we would end up rejecting or at least flagging for rejection 27,500 applications. That is more than enough potential voters to sway the outcome of an election.”
The Texas law, like virtually every other voting restriction adopted by Republicans over the past year, passed on a party-line, simple-majority vote, yet Manchin and Sinema blocked the Senate from protecting voting rights in the same manner, insisting on requiring a bipartisan supermajority by upholding the filibuster.
The debate over voting rights on Wednesday underscored how unrepresentative of the country the Senate has become. The 48 Democrats who supported reforming the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation represented 34 million more Americans than the 52 senators (every Republicans plus Manchin and Sinema) who upheld it, according to data compiled by Alex Tausanovitch of the Center for American Progress. Far from encouraging the Senate to come together, Manchin and Sinema allowed 41 GOP senators representing just 21 percent of the country to block a bill they both supported that would protect voting rights for tens of millions of Americans, reinforcing how the filibuster has historically been used to block civil rights efforts.
Their decision to essentially give McConnell and other Republicans who deny that voter suppression even exists veto power over protecting voting rights brings to mind the end of Reconstruction, when a handful of Republicans joined with Southern Democrats in 1891 to filibuster federal legislation that would have blocked things like poll taxes and literacy tests in states like Mississippi.
But the federal government’s failure to enforce Black voting rights didn’t persuade Southern Democrats to become more moderate; it emboldened them to implement 75 years of Jim Crow. “That filibuster echoed in this country for 75 years,” Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) said on the Senate floor on Wednesday night. “I pray that we don’t look back on this day and realize the level of mistake they made in 1891.”
The parties have since reversed their positions on civil rights, and as the Republican Party radicalizes against democracy in the thrall of Trump’s Big Lie, the failure of the Senate to protect voting rights is certain to encourage the GOP to go further and further to undermine democracy, to the point where they can hold power no matter how large a majority of Americans opposes their agenda.
The disenfranchisement we’re seeing in Texas right now is all-too-likely to become the new normal.
The anti-democracy Sedition Party will now act with impunity. In Poliitco just today, GOP considers more ruthless redistricting: “Republicans have mostly played it safe in the states that have completed redistricting so far, locking in the status quo with durable maps that are more likely to withstand demographic changes and legal muster. But amid a growing sense of frustration that the party is squandering its advantage, some in the GOP are advocating for a new level of ruthlessness.”
Vichy Democrats Sens. Manchin and Sinema are holding the gate open for the fascist barbarians at the gate to destroy American democracy.