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Killing The Filibuster: Joe Manchin must be persuaded or punished

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 2:39 PM

I’ve seen lots of Democrats and progressives exclaiming “Gee, guys, let’s win BIG! BIG! BIG! In 2022! Then we can pass what ever we want!” 

That hopeful, yet ultimately naive, thinking ignores the following critical facts: 

1) Senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Kirsten Sinema (AZ) oppose the elimination of the filibuster 

2) with the filibuster in place, HR1/SB1, the For The People voting rights act won’t pass (nor will any other non-reconciliation bill, which we get 1 per year) 

3) if HR1/SB1 doesn’t pass, then gerrymandering alone will flip 6 house seats before a single vote is cast- Dems have a margin of 5. The voting rights bill requires all states to use a bipartisan commission to draw district lines, like CA and many other blue states already do. 

4) if HR1/SB1 doesn’t pass, current and pending voter suppression laws will stand, making it harder for Dems, especially POC and young people to vote, and causing at least one senator, Warnock of Georgia, to lose his seat. 

The stakes are incredibly high- and time is short- there’s only about 10 months until new district lines are drawn; if the filibuster survives, the GOP will take the house, and likely the senate- if that happens, prepare for these consequences: 

1) Biden and Harris will be impeached- who knows what for, but you can bank on it. 

2) in 2024, regardless of the actual outcome of the election, the GOP will install a Republican as president by challenging and rejecting enough electoral votes to make it so- you can bank on that as well. 

3) increasingly authoritarian, anti-democracy government.

The Republicans intend to rig the system for minority rule for the next decade or longer, starting in 2022. We can’t wish that away or pretend it isn’t true. Without passing HR1, there is nothing that will stop them. 

So, I find it much more realistic, instead of dreaming about “winning BIG!” In 2022, to focus on killing the filibuster now and passing HR1, and Persuading or Punishing Manchin and Sinema based on their votes. I’m fine with using some pork or earmarks to benefit their constituents in WV and AZ, but if they still won’t vote to kill the filibuster...

This punishment could include any of the following:

  • stripping them of all committee assignments;
  • Jamie Harrison, head of the DNC, cutting them off from party campaign funds and support;
  • ultimately, after 2022, if Dems lose their majorities, Schumer should expel both of them from the Democratic Caucus

Some worry that, if pressured, Manchin or Sinema might flip over to the Republican side of the aisle; I say nonsense- such a move would result in the end of the senate careers in 2024, as neither would win their GOP primary, losing to a Trump-approved extremist. Progressive groups such as Move On and the Poor People’s Campaign are organizing constituents to hold these Senators' feet to the fire.

I say, the Keep Up The Heat!