The Senate Rules Committee, chaired by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, began work Tuesday on S. 1, the groundbreaking voting rights bill known as the “For the People Act.” It’s the companion bill to H.R. 1, which passed the House back in early March. The legislation would counter the rash of voter suppression laws that states have rushed to pass this year, and would tackle elections integrity on three fronts: removing barriers to ballot access for all voters; fighting the influence of dark money by requiring organizations to disclose large donors and creating a matching system for small campaign donations; and banning congressional gerrymandering by requiring that every state create a nonpartisan redistricting commission subject to nonpartisan redistricting criteria.
Of course the response of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and his vast dark money network is to pour nearly $2 million of that dark money into an ad campaign to defeat the reforms. Another one of the supposed nonprofits tied to McConnell, One Nation, is running radio and TV ads in states that Republicans are targeting for 2022—New Hampshire, Arizona, Nevada—and where Democratic senators are already giving the GOP an assist, namely Arizona and West Virginia.
In fact, the ad running in Arizona actually applauds Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema for helping the Republicans.
“We think this week’s markup in the Senate Rules Committee will be an important inflection point in senators’ understanding of the issue, in public awareness of S. 1,” Steven Law, the president of One Nation and former chief of staff to McConnell, told Politico. “This advocacy blitz, which starts on Tuesday, is designed to amplify all of that.” He promises that this is just the beginning of his group’s efforts to swamp the Senate. They are also not the only group doing so, with the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Heritage Action running ads around the country.
Meanwhile, West Virgina Sen. Manchin and Sinema are not backing away from their position that preserving the Jim Crow-era filibuster is more important than preserving the foundational idea of 232 years of constitutional rule in the U.S. (with evolution and amendments): one person, one vote. Manchin, who obviously is no scholar of history or current events, defends his opposition to restoring and expanding voting rights by saying “How in the world could you, with the tension we have right now, allow a voting bill to restructure the voting of America on a partisan line?”
Because nothing that’s happening in Republican states has restructured voting in America on partisan lines? The Republican legislature in Texas didn’t just make voting harder for people of color because of partisanship? Keeping probably Democratic voters out of the polls wasn’t behind the legislation Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed last week—live ON FOX NEWS?
Manchin further insists upon giving credence to Trump’s Big Lie, insisting that the fact that maybe 25% of the voting public is so gullible or so venal as to say the 2020 election was stolen from Republicans means that Democrats can’t save democracy. “January 6 changed me. I never thought in my life, I never read in history books to where our form of government had been attacked, at our seat of government, which is Washington, D.C., at our Capitol, by our own people,” Manchin told CNN.
But the lesson he got from that was not that we have to combat the ability of a Republican Party intent on propagating the Big Lie that fueled that violence. “So, something told me, ‘Wait a minute. Pause. Hit the pause button.’ Something’s wrong. You can’t have this many people split to where they want to go to war with each other.” His response is to hand power to the people who stoked that war. Really, this guy has not spent a whole lot of time thinking this out.
This is who he (and Sinema) are abetting in their refusal to reform the filibuster, because they say it’s only through working together that the Senate can take substantive action for the country. Seriously, listen to this exchange between Maine’s Independent Sen. Angus King and McConnell, as McConnell defends gridlock in the Federal Elections Commission—gridlock caused by him.
“The whole notion that failure to act is dysfunctional when we’re talking about fundamental, First Amendment free speech rights, I don’t think there’s any dysfunction at all,” he said. The fact that the FEC hasn’t been able to appoint a general counsel because they can’t agree on a hire, King responded, “strikes me as not a very functional organization.” McConnell’s response: “They can’t agree on it and that is a decision. […] A failure to reach across the aisle and reach an agreement is a decision not to go forward.” Will Manchin accept that as McConnell’s rationale for refusing to work with Senate Democrats to fix our elections?
McConnell also said this: “Our democracy is not in crisis, and we’re not going to let one party take over our democracy under the false pretense of saving it.” He said that without a single shred of embarrassment. He said this, too: “The Democratic Party wants to rewrite the ground rules of American politics for partisan benefit.” As if his packed Supreme Court did not exist.
That this is what Manchin and Sinema are enabling, what they’re elevating above restoring every American’s right to vote to and to make sure that our elections are free and fair and that President Biden’s agenda for the country can be achieved. They’re being used, and they’re fine with that.
After those performances, here’s another to give you a palate cleanser. Listen to Sen. Jon Ossoff, whose election so roiled Georgia Republicans that they’ve banned people from giving water to people standing in line to vote:
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.