Joe Manchin Clobbered By Washington Post Over Filibuster Support

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In a new article published in The Washington Post, Georgetown University Professor E.J. Dionne went after those defending the filibuster amid the fights to secure advancements like new federal protections for voting rights. One of the most prominent supporters of the filibuster in the Senate, at least among Democrats, is Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — and, to make the article’s implications clear, the Post ran Dionne’s article alongside an image of Manchin.

The Senate’s filibuster rules demand the agreement of at least 60 Senators in the 100-member chamber before moving forward on most bills. Although Democrats control the Senate with a slim majority of the chamber’s votes, those rules mean that they can’t do as much as they’d be inclined to, without first obtaining support from Republicans. Even still, voting rights are at stake as Republicans in positions of state-level power around the country rush through suppressive new restrictions on the electoral process, despite the fact that no systematic election integrity problems have been uncovered to warrant such changes.

Dionne wrote as follows:

‘Reforming the filibuster is the only way Democrats can pass the voting guarantees favored by civil rights groups and democracy advocates. It’s the only way they can undo the voter suppression and election subversion laws that have been passed in more than a dozen GOP-controlled states since 2020. It’s the only way to dismantle wildly partisan gerrymanders.’

Dionne also addressed claims that certain Democrats are showing hypocrisy by currently supporting changes to the filibuster after previously backing it. As he put it, “beyond the fact that the retreat to procedural arguments dodges the substance of the rights at stake, the hypocrisy charge fails on the most basic level: No Democrat or progressive who has flipped on the filibuster is pretending they didn’t.” In other words, they’re acknowledging the fact that their opinion has changed, as the times have. Changing the Senate’s filibuster rules seems poised to be a crucial step — at least within current circumstances — towards safeguarding the very foundation of democracy in the United States. Republicans have already shown that they’re certainly not messing around or holding back.

Dionne added, in part, as follows:

‘[The] core reason the filibuster must be reformed is the moral imperative of passing bills to defend democracy. It confronts multiple challenges: to the right to vote; the right to have votes counted without political interference; and the right of voters to select their representatives — and not have politicians do it by drawing wildly partisan district boundaries. Should Democrats, including President Biden, allow these things to happen by claiming that the filibuster renders them powerless, they will be guilty of a more profound hypocrisy. If it fails to act, the party that won power in 2020 as the bulwark of democracy and civil rights will be saying that these commitments matter less than fealty to an outdated, dysfunctional practice that has been altered repeatedly in pursuit of far less noble goals.’

Negotiations among Democrats are continuing. Read more at this link.