Voices: When will Sinema and Manchin feel the deep shame we all know they should?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·5 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Sens Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin at the US Capitol (Getty Images)
Sens Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin at the US Capitol (Getty Images)

Days before the Democrats officially failed in their efforts to pass new federal legislation to protect voting rights, Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona decided to bask in the spotlight of being a spoiler a little early.

It was less than an hour before President Joe Biden arrived on Capitol Hill last Thursday to pitch Democrats on changing Senate rules so the party can overpower a Republican filibuster that is blocking voting rights laws from passage. Sinema reiterated that she was not backing off her position to uphold the filibuster. She argued that removing the filibuster would not guarantee “that we prevent demagogues from being elected” and that getting rid of it would merely be treating the “symptom” of partisanship and not the underlying problem.

Yes, Donald Trump could get elected again, and the Republican Party is presently working state by state to hand him the election, no matter what the voters say. To wit, the Texas secretary of state’s office is presently blaming the cost of paper on why they can’t get enough voter registration cards to groups who help Texans register to vote. “We are limited in what we can supply this year, because of the paper shortage and the cost constraints due to the price of paper and the supply of paper,” Sam Taylor, assistant secretary of state for communications, explained to the Texas Tribune.

This is how absurd they are. Because they can get away with it. After all, that is what happens when you create laws that let you do whatever the hell you want to keep power.

Recently, a Wisconsin judge ruled absentee ballot drop boxes are not allowed under state law. In Lincoln County, Georgia, Republicans are trying to close six of seven polling places — all in Black neighborhoods. They don’t even try to hide it. And whatever the Democrats do, it’s illegal. Bit by bit, the GOP is prepping for their authoritarian era.

Therein lies the frustration with Sinema’s logic – especially when she felt differently about the filibuster when it was more politically expedient.

Not only is Sinema a clown (anyone who votes down minimum wage, much less with childish glee, is a clown in my book), she’s rude. At the very least, she could have waited for the President of the United States, the head of her party, to try. The White House declined to comment on Sinema’s speech, but The Daily Beast reports that at the West Wing, the mood was “incandescent with rage.” I bet.

The rage should also go towards another clown with a big ego, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who decided to do counter-programming to Biden during his one-year press conference on Wednesday to announce his commitment to the filibuster.

But as those two stabbed Biden in the back and betrayed voters, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was still trying to work with them – offering the last-minute proposal of a talking filibuster in an attempt to persuade Manchin and Sinema to allow a vote.

That proposal failed, and while I appreciate the effort, it’s time to stop allowing these two showboating politicians to run the Senate. They should both be challenged in a primary, but in the meanwhile, Sinema and Manchin need to be called out by members of their party.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn recently told Fox anchor Bret Baier that Manchin’s suggestion of requiring bipartisan support for voting rights caused him “pain.”

“I am, as you know, a Black person, descended of people who were given the vote by the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution,” Clyburn told Baier. “The 15th Amendment was not a bipartisan vote. It was a single-party vote that gave Black people the right to vote… That gives me great pain, for somebody to imply that the 15th Amendment of the United States Constitution is not legitimate because it did not have bipartisan buy-in.”

Separately, Clyburn wrote on Twitter: “151 years ago, the 15th Amendment was ratified, giving African American men the right to vote. That right is still under attack today.”

Clyburn is not the only person calling out Manchin and Sinema, but more should do so.

I knew Republicans never really cared about voting rights – no matter how some of those GOP senators might have voted on the Voting Rights Act back in 2006. It’s why it was no surprise that on Wednesday night, the GOP blocked voting rights measures the second they were able to. But when it comes to Democrats like Sinema and Manchin, who joined Republicans in their efforts to thwart a rules change to the filibuster more than an hour later, their failure to do their part to help pass voting rights legislation feels even more despicable.

I have found the debate over Biden’s recent invocation of Bull Connor and George Wallace to be remarkably stupid; it’s a testament to how some people are much more concerned with being called racist than with the victims of racism. The ultimate problem here is whether or not you believe Black folks should have the right to vote. The Big Lie is based on lies from Trump about Black voters. The response is to call a lie a lie and enact laws to thwart legislation forged out of falsehoods.

In a statement, President Biden said: “I am profoundly disappointed that the United States Senate has failed to stand up for our democracy. I am disappointed — but I am not deterred. My administration will never stop fighting to ensure that ... the right to vote is protected at all costs.”

The Democrats have had a year to do something and have failed, and if two want to share the bulk of the blame, may they at least finally begin to suffer politically for it.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting