Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer should be commended for forcing his fellow Democratic freshman Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona out of the shadows to vote Wednesday to end the filibuster for the purpose of passing new “voting rights” legislation.
It had been whispered that Kelly might be another of those centrist Democrats who would take a principled stand against such a move.
Filibuster remains in tact. Senate rejects one-time change for voting rights
The vote was 52 yeas to 48 nays. But Democrats needed the nays to prevail to alter the filibuster and overrule the chair.
Manchin/Sinema voted yea, with the GOP, to sustain the ruling of the chair.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) January 20, 2022
Earlier on Wednesday, Kelly released a statement saying he would vote to kill the filibuster to move the Democrats’ voting bill through the Senate.
If NASA functioned like the United States Senate, they would never get the rocket off the launchpad.
— Senator Mark Kelly (@SenMarkKelly) January 19, 2022
“As an astronaut and a combat veteran, I can tell you that if NASA or the Navy functioned like the United States Senate, we would never get the rocket off the launchpad and in combat we’d never complete the mission. Arizonans deserve a Senate that is more responsive to the challenges facing our country,” he said.
Maybe Kelly needs to be reminded that the measure of success in the Senate is not whether every piece of legislation the controlling party wants to get through passes, but whether what is passed is consistent with the Constitution and reflects the will of the American people.
A Morning Consult poll released last week showed that only 37 percent of those surveyed supported changing the filibuster rule to pass the voting bills.
Further, a Gallup survey published last month found only 1 percent of respondents said that election reform is the most important issue the country faces.
President Joe Biden and other Democrats keep trying to spin the issue as somehow addressing systemic racism in how the American people vote.
Come on, man!
Contrary to Biden’s declarations in his Atlanta speech last week, voter ID requirements and bans on ballot harvesting are not “Jim Crow 2.0.”
And Republicans who do not support a federal takeover of election law are not modern day incarnations of George Wallace or Bull Connor — both of whom were Democrats by-the-way.
Democrats are demagoguing the issue because they know the facts are not on their side.
It’s easier to vote in Republican-led Georgia, especially after the passage of some new voting provisions last year, than it is Democrat-led Delaware or New York.
Some may try to spin Kelly’s vote to end the filibuster as some kind of profile in courage. The opposite is true.
The real profiles in political courage during this whole debate have been Democratic Sens. Krysten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who have stood on principle against changing the filibuster rule for months.
GOP Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas illustrated just how duplicitous Schumer has been on the issue by delivering a speech on the Senate floor last week made up entirely from the majority leader’s past comments against ending the filibuster.
“They want to make this country into a banana republic, where if you don’t get your way you change the rules,” Cotton said, quoting Schumer. “Are we going to let them? It will be a doomsday for democracy if we do.”
What would hurt our democracy is passing the Democrats’ proposed election legislation.
Among the changes Democrats are pushing for in federalizing the nation’s voting laws are permitting ballot harvesting, eliminating voter ID laws and loosening voter registration requirements, The Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky, who previously served on the Federal Election Commission, explained in October.
Reuters reported that the legislation would allow for universal mail-in voting and permit voter registration up to and including Election Day.
Many states require registration some period of time before the election, often 30 days, to allow officials to verify eligibility.
All these changes would lesson voters’ confidence in election results, yet Kelly apparently does not care.
Multiple candidates are primed to run to replace the Democrat, who won in 2020 to fill out the last two years of the late Sen. John McCain’s term.
The Cook Political Report rates the Arizona U.S. Senate race as a “toss up.”
Kelly’s favorability in the OH Predictive Insights poll was barely above water: 47 percent favorable, 43 percent unfavorable.
Living in Arizona, I can say the senator has kept a low profile, probably hoping to stay below the radar long enough to ride whatever goodwill he has into a new six-year term in November.
In 2020, Kelly won by less than 3 percent of the vote.
On that same ballot Biden also eked out a win in Arizona by less than 1 percent, the narrowest vote margin in any of the swing states the president won.
However, the president’s polling now in the Grand Canyon State is far underwater according to a November survey: 55 percent disapprove and 42 percent approve.
It’s worth noting that just 35 percent of independents now approve of Biden’s performance, which probably does not bode well for Kelly.
By coming out in support of ending the filibuster, the senator has very publicly aligned himself with Biden and Schumer.
The midterms are already shaping up to be a red wave, and Kelly has just made it far more likely that he will be one of those swept right out of office on Nov. 8.
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