Yesterday, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris gave big rousing speeches in Atlanta on the need to make voting rights happen, and Biden was more explicit than ever in his calls for the filibuster to be reformed to get it done. And the New York Times reports that it probably didn't have much effect back in DC.
But yeah, to be sure, this was some fiery shit, directed at Senate Republicans and their two BFFs, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema:
“Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace?” he declared, prompting some gasps from supporters in the audience. “Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?”
Oh, the civility! To be clear, any senator who prevents meaningful voting rights legislation from passing is going to end up roommates in hell with George Wallace one day. Top bunk or bottom bunk, Joe Manchin?
What's wild is that, according to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll out today, summarized in this morning's Playbook, support for voting rights is actually really broad, including even among Republican voters.
First of all, have you been hearing all of a sudden about Electoral Count Act reform? It's this kind of arcane thing some Republicans and moderate Democrats suddenly are all glomming onto. In a vacuum, as a general concept, it's great, as it would make extra clear that the vice president isn't allowed to simply ignore the slates of electors states submit. Fifty-five percent of voters support ECA reform, and that includes 68 percent of Democrats.
But it ain't the whole enchilada. Obviously.
What the poll shows is that a lot of the parts of the Democrats' Freedom to Vote Act that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is trying to force action on also have huge support. Playbook summarizes:
— Expanding access to early voting: 65% support, 23% oppose
— Prohibiting partisan gerrymandering: 64% support, 19% oppose
— Making it illegal to prevent someone from registering to vote: 62% support, 24% oppose
— Making Election Day a federal holiday: 61% support, 26% oppose
— Expanding same-day voter registration: 56% support, 30% oppose
— Expanding access to voting by mail: 55% support, 35% oppose
— Allowing Americans with prior criminal convictions to vote: 54% support, 32% oppose
— Expanding automatic voter registration: 51% support, 33% oppose
A lot of those things have major Republican support, clearly. They shouldn't be difficult for Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema to get their obstinate heads around.
But alas, there's the ancient and unchangeable tradition of the filibuster, which was designed by God in the year one million BC, in order to prevent Democrats from ever passing any legislation that might make a coal baron's asshole itch. No law should ever be allowed to pass, even if a nuclear bomb was riding a comet to earth and you were just trying to pass a bill to stop it, unless a magical number of 60 senators support it, right? Right? That's what Americans and God and Jesus think?
Not so much, according to this poll. Turns out 40 percent of Americans think bills should be able to pass with 51 votes, 41 percent think it should take 60, and 19 percent are like "Filibuster? But I just met her!" because they didn't understand the question. In other words, if Joe Biden murdered the filibuster in the middle of Fifth Avenue today, many Americans would be happy, but a bunch would just be like "HEENGGGGGH?"
The point is, as we have explained a number of times, that if Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema really think there is some giant majority out there in the American public that really cares about preserving things like the filibuster — which, factcheck, was not actually designed by God one million years ago, but rather came into its use in its current form pretty recently — then they are Dummy McWrongstupid idiots.
Americans also don't jerk themselves off into a lather about bipartisanship the way Manchin and Sinema think they do. We searched "bipartisanship" on PornHub (journalism!) and got no results. Not even weird amateur stuff.
Americans DO like getting things done, however. In fact, we'd imagine the general malaise that comes through in the rest of this poll, and the low approval ratings for Joe Biden and so forth, are directly related to a perception that not fuckin' shit is getting done. And you know what? We are a professional political writer and we find it hard to disagree.
Get. This. Shit. Done. There is no downside. Just fucking do it.
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