Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace put Republican opposition to federal voting rights protections under a harsh microscope during a segment of his show featuring Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) over the weekend.
Recently, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — one of the most conservatively minded Democrats in the Senate and the only Senate Democrat who has not signed on as a co-sponsor of the voting rights legislation known as the For the People Act — put forward a list of voting rights protections that he would be willing to support, including a ban on drawing district lines to favor one political party. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has already come out against Manchin’s plan, and Wallace questioned Graham over the GOP’s antics that may suggest to some — like Manchin — that “bipartisanship isn’t working.”
Asked if he can “go along” with the Manchin proposal, Graham commented as follows:
‘We had the largest turnout in the history of the United States, and states are in charge of voting in America, so I don’t like the idea of taking the power to redistrict away from state legislators. You’re having people move from blue states to red states. Under this proposal, you would have some kind of commission redraw the new districts, and I don’t like that. I want states where people are moving to have control over how to allocate new Congressional seats.’
Asked a follow-up question of if there’s a “risk” of Manchin and similarly minded Senators concluding that “bipartisanship isn’t working” because of Republican opposition to popular proposals — and subsequently opting to support changing the Senate’s filibuster rules — Graham commented as follows:
‘I hope not, because I was in Joe Manchin’s shoes. I like Joe Manchin. I’m willing to work with him on infrastructure. We’re very close on police reform… I think Tim Scott and Cory Booker and the rest of us are very close to a police reform package that would be bipartisan.’
Graham did not meaningfully acknowledge the fact that Republicans’ insistence upon obstruction clearly connects to a conclusion that “bipartisanship isn’t working,” even though Wallace aptly laid out the situation, noting that “Republicans voted to kill the bipartisan January 6th commission looking into the insurrection at the Capitol.” McConnell himself said not too long ago that “100 percent” of his “focus” was on “standing up” to the Biden administration. That’s not some semblance of bipartisanship — it’s obstruction.
Graham eventually added that he “hope[s] these Democrats understand it’s bad for the Senate to change the rules.” In reality, it’s also “bad” for the country for Republicans to block popular proposals that could substantially better the lives of everyday Americans. Polling has found that key Democratic priorities connected to the For the People Act are popular, with support from majorities of Americans — but that hasn’t fazed Senate Republicans.