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Means Testing

Sinema and Manchin will have facilitated minority rule by Republicans for years to come

It will come as a surprise to Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, adamant opponents of ending the filibuster, that Mitch McConnell will lead a simple majority to dismantle the filibuster if the Republicans retake the Senate in 2022. It must be re-emphasized that until now McConnell has engaged in bombastic and smug defense of the filibuster.

However, that is unlikely to be his position if the Senate Republicans get the chance to move from defense to offense. Just think about the Republicans in the Senate getting the chance to stomp on voting rights, Congressionally end abortion, and expand gun “rights” even further. It is going to be consistent with the Newt Gingrich legacy of engaging in politics as war that McConnell will steamroll the Democrats, even if they maintain the presidency until 2024. If the House becomes Republican, which appears increasingly likely in 2022, McConnell will be inciting the base for reclaiming the White House in 2024.

McConnell will do what Sinema and Manchin won’t do in order to placate a minority of white privilege advocates in Congress.

Under this scenario, McConnell will do what Sinema and Manchin won’t do in order to placate a minority of white privilege advocates in Congress. He will pass individual exceptions for various bills. He has already shown that he is willing to be ruthless with bypassing the filibuster as he did when ruthlessly stacking the Supreme Court with simple majorities.

Furthermore, the Republicans are positioning themselves for minority rule for years through voter theft, the hijacking of election boards, gerrymandering and control of the federal courts. So, if it came down to it, McConnell might even vote to do away with the filibuster altogether on the assumption that the Democrats will not be regaining control of the Senate anytime soon.

It is a different Washington than even two years ago. Make no mistake about it, McConnell is not a so-called “institutionalist.” He is focused on packing the courts, tax cuts for the rich, and advancing Republican policies in any way possible. The senior Senator from Kentucky is an inveterate hypocrite.

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It is key to remember that the filibuster is not in the Constitution. It is a Senate rule going back to the early 1800s. Therefore, McConnell can nix it without involving the courts.

The Senate is a distinctly undemocratic institution, with the Democrats representing nearly 42 million more Americans than the Republicans. As Ian Milhiser notes in Vox:

The implications of this malapportionment are breathtaking. Among other things, Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett were all nominated by a president who lost the popular vote and confirmed by a bloc of senators who represent less than half of the country. If the United States chose its leaders in free and fair elections, none of these individuals would serve on the Supreme Court — and it is likely that Democratic appointees would have a majority on the Court.

McConnell knows that the filibuster is primarily a defensive Senate rule. He won’t hesitate to consign it to history. It’s just a question, if he becomes majority leader, whether or not it happens incrementally with filibuster carve-outs or all at once, “the nuclear bomb.”

Meanwhile, Sinema and Manchin are fighting a blowback battle not to carve out the filibuster, or eliminate it, preventing passing voting rights legislation that would keep a minority of Americans from controlling the Senate through the antiquated system of two senators for states like Wyoming, which has a population of approximately 600,000 residents as compared to California with nearly 40 million.

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If this scenario proves to be the case, Sinema and Manchin will have facilitated minority rule by Republicans for years to come, all because of the balderdash they mouth about the filibuster protecting the “minority.” Shame on them and prayers for us.

Mark Karlin
Buzzflash