We are living in a perilous time. It feels like Berlin 1932, but with a climate catastrophe chaser. Our nation, and much of the world, is teetering between more justice and democracy or very little of either, and only for a select few.
Senate Republicans, now openly the party of Trump, have made it clear that they will allow no vote, or even debate, on the provisions of the For the People Act of 2021. Most Americans approve of this law (check out the polls in West Virginia, Joe Manchin) and see it as a crucial protection for US citizens against infringement of their rights by the state government.
It doesn’t matter how strong the case for this law is, there will be no debate on it under current Senate rules. 39% of American voters simply will not stand for it!
The party of Trump greatly prefers the new think tank-written state voting laws being implemented by Republican state legislators around the country, laws that could have changed the election results in 2020, if they’d been in effect. Only a fool can miss the obvious — the party of Trump is not interested in so-called democracy, they love a strong leader. Trump, the leader, is a sworn enemy of anti-fascists everywhere.
It would be political suicide for the GOP to allow debate any law that proposes to do all these things:
This bill addresses voter access, election integrity and security, campaign finance, and ethics for the three branches of government.
Specifically, the bill expands voter registration (e.g., automatic and same-day registration) and voting access (e.g., vote-by-mail and early voting). It also limits removing voters from voter rolls.
The bill requires states to establish independent redistricting commissions to carry out congressional redistricting.
Additionally, the bill sets forth provisions related to election security, including sharing intelligence information with state election officials, supporting states in securing their election systems, developing a national strategy to protect U.S. democratic institutions, establishing in the legislative branch the National Commission to Protect United States Democratic Institutions, and other provisions to improve the cybersecurity of election systems.
Further, the bill addresses campaign finance, including by expanding the prohibition on campaign spending by foreign nationals, requiring additional disclosure of campaign-related fundraising and spending, requiring additional disclaimers regarding certain political advertising, and establishing an alternative campaign funding system for certain federal offices.
The bill addresses ethics in all three branches of government, including by requiring a code of conduct for Supreme Court Justices, prohibiting Members of the House from serving on the board of a for-profit entity, and establishing additional conflict-of-interest and ethics provisions for federal employees and the White House.
The bill requires the President, the Vice President, and certain candidates for those offices to disclose 10 years of tax returns.source
You can see the many ways this law, which must be infuriating to Trump himself (fucking tax returns… they never fucking stop…). Regulating campaign finance would disadvantage the very wealthy donors currently able to finance campaigns secretly and dictate all political outcomes. Just the suggestion that the Supreme Court adopt a code of ethics for its “justices”– what a maddeningly insane act of radical hubris!
This law is someone like Charles Koch’s nightmare. Koch, a true Nazi bastard (check out his long, ugly life story) is an incarnation of evil in this world, like Dick Cheney, Rupert Murdoch, and a hand full of their refined and autocratic ilk. All of these men would rather see a second bloody civil war, and a mountain range of American corpses, than stand idly by for the implementation of this kind of strangling majoritarian tyranny.
The current Senate rules allows a party in power to pass any budget deal it wants on a straight party line vote, by a procedure called Reconciliation, 51-50 and done, send the law to the president for signing.
For every other piece of legislation that must pass the Senate on the way to the president for signing: the filibuster ends it.
Note: McConnell ended the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, after blocking a record shattering number of Obama’s nominees (more than the total under all previous administrations) with filibusters, forcing the Democrats to end filibuster for presidential nominees (excluding Supreme Court, which Mitch promptly changed when he needed to).
Current Senate rules allow debate on any bill on the floor of the Senate to be killed by the filibuster, an increasingly permissive parliamentary procedure. Under current rules, any Senator of the minority party can block debate by registering an intention to filibuster — it is now, unlike only a few years back, the intention to filibuster that triggers the filibuster, there is no need for further action. All debate is immediately silenced. Once this minority party senator invokes the filibuster it requires 60 votes with the majority to allow any debate in the Senate. No further action need be taken by the minority of at least 41 who want to block debate.
Trump’s party leader in the Senate (a frequent target of Trump abuse since he made critical remarks about the leader’s riot on January 6) has announced that his focus is 100% on doing everything possible to hamstring President Biden. McConnell is betting Trump’s party will love to hear this, since MAGA nation believes that Biden is an illegitimate cheater president, a puppet of radicals, an enemy to be stopped in his sleepy tracks. There is no question that the Trump party will not tolerate debate on any federal bill related to voting (which is a pure States’ Rights issue, as the Civil War proved… to continue the incoherent MAGA/Koch narrative hewn to religiously whenever advantageous).
There will be a filibuster of any bill proposing to restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965, whether its named for John Lewis, Jeff Sessions, Orville Faubus or anyone else. From the right-wing’s point of view, re-litigating that lost civil rights war would be a grave mistake, one that should be prevented by any means necessary. Government tyranny must not be allowed, except on the state level, perhaps (see, again, The Civil War).
The filibuster is currently effortless, available to any Senator with the touch of a smart phone screen and perfect for blocking all debate on S1, formerly HR1, the proposed For the People Act of 2021.
Currently any Republican Senator can block debate on this crucial federal election rights law, by sending an email announcing that he intends to filibuster. Once that email is received there will be no discussion of a law considered by 60% of the nation as necessary to preserve democracy, unless 60% of the minority-skewed Senate votes to end the filibuster.
Under current parliamentary rules in the Senate (which can be changed at any time by the majority party, 51-50, as Mitch did recently for Supreme Court nominees), the For the People Act of 2021 will never come to the Senate floor for debate. What do Kyrsten “Saucy thumbs down on minimum wage” Sinema and Joe Asshat Manchin not get about this?
You can read all about the For the People Act of 2021 here, at Congress.gov.
Of course, the bill is currently the hostage of a radical anti-democratic party who currently has only one trick, the same trick as its current leader’s only trick, “doubling down”. A lie is good enough, they all seem to agree, if all you want to do is win. It’s a proven winner — since at least 1932.