Congressman Publicly Shames ‘Traitor’ Kyrsten Sinema Over Voting Rights

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Democrats could, in theory, get new protections for voting rights passed at the federal level — if so-called moderates including Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) didn’t continue standing in the way. Since Republicans continue to oppose the measures, passing certain proposals to protect voting rights would require an adjustment to the Senate’s filibuster rules, which demand the agreement of at least 60 Senators before moving forward on most bills — but Manchin and Sinema keep clinging to the filibuster. Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) denounced Sinema as a “traitor” to the legacy of the late civil rights icon and Democratic Congressman John Lewis, after whom one of the new voting rights proposals is named.

Bowman posted his comments as a direct response to a post that Sinema had made honoring Lewis, who she described as her “hero.” Just this week, Sinema yet again reiterated her commitment to the filibuster, as did Manchin. As Bowman commented:

‘Hero: a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. Traitor: a person who betrays a friend, country, principle, etc. John Lewis is a hero, you are a traitor to his legacy, your constituents and our democracy.’

See Bowman’s comments below:

In a speech that Sinema delivered this week, she insisted, discussing the voting rights proposals: “While I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country.” The problem is that Senate Republicans have, generally speaking, shown that they’re just not interested in pursuing these theoretical bridges of bipartisanship to which Sinema seems so committed. Besides, Senate Republicans already undid the filibuster rules for Supreme Court nominees, after Democrats took that move for other judicial picks — and considering the fact that Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said last year that “100 percent” of his “focus is on standing up to this administration,” would serious observers really insist that Senate Republicans wouldn’t change the filibuster rules themselves if in a position similar to Democrats?

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has observed that Republicans in positions of state-level power have taken the opportunity to use simple majorities in state legislatures to enact suppressive new restrictions around the electoral process — and yet, a simple majority in the U.S. Senate can’t, under current rules, substantively respond to the moves.

As Schumer adeptly posed the question: “If the right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, then how can we in good conscience allow for a situation in which the Republican Party can debate and pass voter suppression laws at the State level with only a simple majority vote, but not allow the United States Senate to do the same?” Senate Rules Committee chairperson Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) brought up other instances when filibuster rules have been changed in the Senate, asking: ‘Let me get this straight: 60-vote threshold was carved up 160 times so senators could pass Trump tax cuts, gas bill & Supreme [Court] Justices but when it comes to voting rights, “traditions” & “comity” mean you hug it tight, throw the voters under the senate desks & go home? No way.’