This morning, NY Times columnist Jamelle Bouie wrote that Republican legislative majorities-- particularly in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Wisconsin-- are determined to keep Democrats as far from power as possible-- and not to lose the next presidential election the way they lost the last one. To that end, they have introduced bills to restrict the vote, to make the race for the Electoral College-- as well as any race for statewide office-- as noncompetitive as possible, by taking as many Democratic voters off the board as they can. Obama asked Democrats to kill the filibuster and pass a voting rights bill because it was the right thing to do. But there’s a stronger argument: that if Democrats don’t do this, they’ll be at the mercy of a Trumpified Republican Party that has radicalized against democracy itself."
Democrats would like to pass voter protection legislation (part of S.1) that the Senate Republicans have indicated they will filibuster to death. "If passed and signed into law," wrote Bouie, "it would establish automatic, same-day and online voter registration, protect eligible voters from overly broad purges that remove them from the rolls, restore the Voting Rights Act with a new formula for federal preclearance (which would require select cities and localities to submit new voting rules to the Justice Department for clearance), re-enfranchise the formerly incarcerated, strengthen mail-in voting systems, institute nationwide early voting and increase criminal penalties for voter intimidation." There is no way to get it into a reconciliation bill and the only way to pass it in the Senate is by abolishing the filibuster, which hard core reactionary Democrats-- particularly Manchin and Sinema-- say they will vote against. Sinema, something of an ignoramus aside from being a conservative, has already declared she is not open to discussing it and that her mind will never be changed. Arizona voters need to remember her "over my dead body" attitude in 2024 and, politically speaking, put her out of her misery.
Bouie's analysis was presumably supposed to be hopeful but turned out being utterly hopeless. Without even poking around at other conservative Democrats who might be iffy on abolishing the filibuster-- starting with Biden, but also Mark Warner (VA), Mark Kelly, Tom Carper (DE) Chris Coons (DE), Angus King (I), Maggie Hasan (NH), Tim Kaine (VA), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Dianne Feinstein (CA) and Frackenlooper (CO)-- Manchin and Sinema have killed it dead. In terms of this legislation-- and so much else-- we might as well have a Republican in the West Virginia seat, although Sinema can probably be defeated in a primary. Too late though. Even if everything goes well for the Democrats in the midterms-- and you certainly should not count on that-- and they win all the seats they hold and flip winnable Senate seats in North Carolina (open), Pennsylvania (open), Wisconsin (Ron Johnson) Iowa (open), Florida (Marco Rubio) and Ohio (open), well, that would be two things:
the electoral miracle of the current century and
not enough to defeat Republican filibusters
The chances of Raphael Warnock-- who won the special election runoff against Kelly Loeffler in Georgia in November-- to be reelected next year, just got a little better. After announcing this week that he would run against Warnock, David Perdue, who was another incumbent defeated in the dual November runoffs, spent a long afternoon with Trump on the links and then endured having dinner with him, decided not to run after all, noticing that Trump is consumed with wrecking any semblance of GOP unity to get even with Brian Kemp and other Georgia Republicans, who refused to break the law in service to his bizarre coup attempt, as well as with McConnell. Perdue realized that that environment is going to work perfectly towards a Warnock reelection.
With Perdue out of contention, that leaves Loeffler again, as well as extreme Trumpists Vernon Jones (mentally ill), Marjorie Taylor Greene (mentally ill) and Doug Collins (probably mentally ill)-- who was beaten by Loeffler in the GOP primary-- all of whom are probably too far to the right to win over independent and moderate voters.
In November the 3 statewide races resulted in 3 Republican losses:
Biden beat Trump 2,473,633 (49.5%) to 2,461,854 (49.3%)
Warnock beat Lofller 2,288,923 (51.0%) to 2,195,373 (49.0%)
Ossoff beat Perdue 2,269,738 (50.6%) to 2,214,506 (49.4%)
In 2022, it is likely Stacey Abrams will be on top of the ticket in a rematch with a very unpopular Brian Kemp for governor. Her coattails will probably be a lot stronger than Biden's were.