(Headline USA) Democrats failed yet again to sway opponents to back a controversial power-grabbing election overhaul that, ironically, would have required drastically undermining democracy in order to achieve what they claimed was a reinforcement of “voting rights.”
Holdout Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., refused to join the chamber’s 46 radical Democrats and two socialist independents in changing Senate rules to overcome a Republican filibuster after a raw, emotional debate.
The outcome Wednesday night was a stinging defeat for President Joe Biden and his party, coming at the tumultuous close to his first year in office.
“I am profoundly disappointed,” Biden said in a statement after the vote.
However, the president said he is “not deterred” and vowed to “explore every measure and use every tool at our disposal to stand up for democracy,” euphemistically using Orwellian dogwhistle language to describe the efforts to facilitate corruption and vote fraud.
Vice President Kamala Harris briefly presided over the Senate, able to break a tie in the 50-50 Senate if needed, but she left before the final vote. The rules change was rejected 52-48, with Manchin and Sinema joining the Republicans in opposition.
The nighttime voting brought an end, for now, to legislation that has been a top Democratic priority since the party took control of Congress and the White House.
“This is a moral moment,” said Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., who was one of the greatest beneficiaries of an activist lawsuit that allowed mass mail-in voting and unsupervised polling drop-boxes in his state.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is currently investigating the evidence of ballot stuffing that has surfaced in recent months.
Warnock, meanwhile, faces another campaign to win the seat outright that was vacated by the retirement of the late Johnny Isakson. Like many other vulnerable Democrats in battleground states, he is expected to be ousted by a red wave in the 2022 midterm election.
Nonetheless, they have contined to double down recklessly on pursuing a radical agenda that was likely doomed from the outset to fail, and to compensate for the liquidation of their political capital with the attempted voting overhaul.
Both Manchin and Sinema say they support the rebranded HR1—now called the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act.
But after refusing to compromise with Republicans, Democrats fell far short of the 60 votes needed to push the bill over the line.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., cast a procedural vote against so the bill could be considered later.
Next, Schumer put forward a rules change for a “talking filibuster” on this one bill. It would require senators to stand at their desks and exhaust the debate before holding a simple majority vote, rather than the current practice that simply allows senators to privately signal their objections.
But that, too, failed because Manchin and Sinema were unwilling to change the Senate rules a party-line vote by Democrats alone.
Emotions were on display during the floor debate.
Durbin said he would have asked McConnell, “Does he really believe that there’s no evidence of voter suppression?”
The majority of Americans believe just that—and even black Americans, whom Democrats have upheld as the marginalized victims of suppression, support the common-sense methods like voter ID that Democrats hoped to ban in the bill.
Democrats have racheted up the race-baiting rhetoric to insane levels in their bid to gaslight the public, with Joe Biden likening opponents to pro-slavery and pro-segregationist Democrats of the past, some of whom he maintained friendly relations with as a young senator.
At times, they even have accused black conservatives of engaging in “white supremacy.”
During Wednesday’s debate, the No. 2 Republican, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, said at one point, “I am not a racist.”
McConnell derided the “fake hysteria” from Democrats over the states’ new voting laws and called the pending bill a federal takeover of election systems. He admonished Democrats in a fiery speech and said doing away with filibuster rules would “break the Senate.”
Manchin drew a roomful of senators for his own speech, upstaging the president’s news conference and defending the filibuster. He said changing to a majority-rule Senate would only add to the “dysfunction that is tearing this nation apart.”
Several members of the Congressional Black Caucus walked across the Capitol for the proceedings.
“We want this Senate to act today in a favorable way,” said Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., the highest-ranking black member of Congress.
“But if it don’t, we ain’t giving up,” he added, switching into dialect for the occasion.
Manchin did open the door to a more tailored package of voting law changes, including to the Electoral Count Act. He said senators from both parties are working on that and it could draw Republican support.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said a bipartisan coalition should work on legislation to ensure voter access, particularly in far-flung areas like her state, and to shore up Americans’ faith in democracy.
“We don’t need, we do not need a repeat of 2020 when by all accounts our last president, having lost the election, sought to change the results,” claimed Murkowski.
Despite facing the prospect of a primary race that could result in her ouster over her attacks on Trump and conservative Republicans, Murkowski stands likely to benefit from a newly passed Alaska system that would eliminate party primaries in favor of “ranked choice” voting.
But Murkowski also pinpointed the dilemma that Democrats’ dangerous gambit and polarizing rhetoric had created for those clining to notions of bipartisanship.
She said the Senate debate had declined to a troubling state: “You’re either a racist or a hypocrite. Really, really? Is that where we are?”
At one point, senators broke out in applause after a spirited debate between Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, among the more experienced lawmakers, and new Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., over the history of the Voting Rights Act.
Sinema sat in her chair throughout much of the day’s the debate, largely glued to her phone, but rose to her feet to deliver her vote against the rules change.
In a statement, Sinema said the outcome “must not be the end of our work to protect our democracy.” But she warned, “these challenges cannot be solved by one party or Washington alone.”
Schumer contended the fight is not over and he ridiculed Republican claims that the new election laws in the states will not end up hurting voter access and turnout, comparing it to Trump’s “big lie” about the 2020 presidential election—another popular gaslighting topic of the radical Left.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press