The games in question involve Republican attempts to fix elections by legislative fiat in the several states and by filibuster in the United States Senate. They’re prepared to emulate the vintage board game and Lie, Cheat, & Steal to hold onto power.
The Sinematic Senator and the Man of La Manchin are deservedly taking a lot of heat right now but in the big picture they’re insignificant pissants who will be forgotten by history. History will remember how Mitch McConnell wrecked the Senate with his procedural chicanery and bald-faced hypocrisy, especially on voting rights.
Repeat after me: Blame the voting rights mess on Republicans.
And now for a brief history lesson.
When I was a young pundit without a platform, Republicans were confident that they could win elections without any chicanery. In the 1980’s the GOP won three straight presidential election landslides. If you think it’s hard being a liberal Democrat now, it’s nothing compared to how we felt after the 1988 election. Losing big to a great campaigner like Reagan was one thing, losing big to Poppy Bush really stung. Here’s why:
Politics is fluid so that changed as Democrats dominated presidential elections starting with 1992. You know the drill: the Republicans have only won the popular vote once then. They’ve gone from the majoritarian optimism of the Reagan days to a minoritarian party. Hence voter restriction laws.
The Solid South morphing from Democratic to Republican has been much commented on. Much less has been said about New England turning blue. It used to be the heartland of genuine moderate/liberal Republican Senators such as Margaret Chase Smith, George Aiken, Lowell Weicker, Bill Cohen, and Olympia Snowe to name a few. Susan Collins is a hack, not a moderate so she doesn’t count. Her malakatude during the Kavanaugh Mess still burns.
There were also liberal Republicans from states with corrupt old school Democratic machines such as New York’s Jake Javits, and Ed Brooke from the Bay State. In fact, Javits and Brooke were consistently among the most liberal members of the Senate. And I’m talking as liberal as Ted Kennedy then or Elizabeth Warren now.
This history lesson is aimed at those who think that Lyndon Johnson passed the Voting Rights Act by means of intimidation and even blackmail. He had the votes. In 1965, there were 68 Democratic Senators plus many fair-minded GOPers who supported civil and voting rights. LBJ had the votes even with a 2/3 cloture threshold. In 2022, we have the Fifty-Fifty Senate. LBJ had the votes. Joe Biden does not. It’s simple mathematics.
In 2022, the Republican party at large is a Trump cult, but the Senate GOP caucus is a McConnell cult. They’re solidly against any voting rights measures because they fear that they cannot win a fair election. It’s the minoritarian impulse overriding the Senate’s reputation as the “world’s greatest deliberative body.” The onus for any lack of progress should be squarely on them.
Senate Democrats are trying to revive the talking filibuster as I write this. They know the 2 voting rights measures will be defeated in a cloture vote BUT it’s time to put everyone on the record. The Sinematic Senator and Man of La Manchin claim to support voting rights but they’re unwilling to tweak the filibuster. Put them and the Republicans on the record. That’s why a vote is so significant.
Voting rights used to be a nonpartisan issue. The 1965 Voting Rights Act was last reauthorized in 2006 with a 98-0 vote. It was supposed to be a 25-year reauthorization but then it went to the Supreme Court.
It’s time to point the finger of blame at another Republican: Chief Justice John Roberts. In Shelby County v, Holder, the Roberts court gutted the enforcement mechanisms of the Voting Rights Act holding they were no longer necessary. The events of the last year have proven the fallacy of Roberts’ opinion. Georgia and Texas were among the states required to submit changes in their voting laws to the Justice Department. We all know what has happened in their state leges in the last year.
After the Senate cloture vote, it’s time for Democratic activists to roll up their sleeves and do their best to out-organize Republicans wherever possible. Those who can count knew that this was a possibility and are ready to make some good trouble.
Enough with the circular firing squad, blame the Republicans. They’ll Lie, Cheat & Steal to get their way.
The last word goes to Joe South, the Staple Singers, and Lucinda Williams: