United States Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) have been arguing that they are opposed to reforming the Senate’s legislative filibuster to pass election reform and voter protection legislation because maintaining the legislative filibuster is essential to protecting democracy because it is the key to ensuring policy stability and political compromise. That is a lie and has never been true.
In modern American history, the primary use of the legislative filibuster was to block voting and civil rights legislation for decades by southern segregationists. Many of the disparities Black America is currently dealing with today can be directly traced back, in part, to the use of the Senate filibuster by segregationists to fight civil and voting rights legislation over the first sixty-plus years of the twentieth century. This is that same history now repeating itself and being protected by the current Senate legislative filibuster rule.
To be, as it has been said, “crystal clear”, the source of political stability in our nation is not the filibuster. It is free and fair elections; free of discrimination and bias and inclusive of all eligible voters. That goal is under attack by Republican state legislatures all across our nation.
United States Senate Democrats’ refusal to reform the filibuster to protect the right to vote is literally a part of the destruction of democracy right before our eyes. Those Democrats, in the United States Senate, who oppose reforming the filibuster to protect the right to vote of Black, Hispanic, low income, disabled and young voters-and to prevent the theft of the 2022 Mid-Term elections and 2024 presidential election-should be ashamed of themselves. Not only are they committing political suicide, but they are also acting like Nero and watching as our democracy burns while doing nothing. They too will be remembered, by history, for their failure to act.
It is no longer good enough just to have a D after your name on the ballot if you will not vote, and fight to protect the right to vote and our democracy.
The United States Supreme Court uses the term “first principle” to describe the most important and fundamental nature of federalism-the relationship between the states and the federal government. That same idea of a “first principle” concept can also be applied to representative democracy-our Republic. The right of “the People”-citizens-to vote in free and fair elections is the “first principle” of American democracy, no right (or federal government responsibility) is more important. There is no nation to defend if we lose the one Lincoln, King, Earl Warren and Johnson rescued and secured for us.
Ensuring and protecting the right to participate in our democracy through the right to vote in fair and unrigged elections free from racial discrimination or bias is the true source of our nation’s stability. It has not always been that way but it must now be that way.
If Manchin, Sinema, and Feinstein along with others really want bipartisan political compromise and policy stability, they should push for open jungle primaries and rank choice voting in federal and state elections. Those would be better solutions to their goals than ahistorically defending the filibuster.
Democrats and America need a new generation of leadership in the United States Senate.
Elected officials who don’t understand the need to protect our democracy and the right to vote must be voted out of office-Republican or Democrat.
The right to vote is so important that black Americans can no longer afford fake friends and part-time allies.