Terry H. Schwadron
June 23, 2021
No matter that all the hype made the outcome predictable, watching the Senate just turn its back on voters was an infuriating punch in the gut.
There were no tanks in the street, there was no announcements of a junta taking over. But the official Republican “minority” dictated that even a diluted bill protecting voters from state Republican efforts to suppress votes did not even deserve a debate. No 10 Republicans would support talk about a voting bill.
They weren’t budging — “moderate” Republicans, “conservative” Republicans, Donald Trump Republicans, all of them. How is this patriotic? How is this an expression of America as a beacon for democracy? How is this country in a position to criticize Iran or North Korea, Russia or China over anti-democratic practices?
With the 50–50 vote, short of the required 60, American democracy took a knee.
It’s a page out of the history of segregation and blocking even the discussion of civil rights proposals from reaching the Senate floor.
Under the rubric of “vote integrity” and in continuation of claims of a Big Steal because Trump lost, the door is now wide open wherever Republicans control state houses to do anything under the sun to make it harder for poor voters, voters of color, voters not voting Republican to cast a ballot. No court is going to deny a state its assigned role in running elections, and the at least 14 states that already have passed these suppression laws are already at work replacing election officials and empowering them to overturn voting results when they don’t like them.
There will be more navel-gazing about the weirdness of Sen. Joe Manchin who took on the self-appointed task of turning the voter bill inside out to invite those 10 Republican votes, and retributive talk about failing to overturn filibuster rules forcing 60-vote supermajorities for any substantive action. Today, we focus on the sadness that is a Senate that cares more about itself and party than it does the country or its voters.