The Democrats won the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. But nothing much is happening. It's like when I was a kid. It was the same situation then-- and for the same reason. A conservative, anti-worker coalition across party lines controlled the Senate, where then, like now, everything remotely progressive goes to die. The Republicans are basically united in their knee-jerk opposition but the Democrats are anything but united.
And although Manchin and Sinema are the biggest problems, they aren't the only problems. Let's look at the minimum wage increase proposed by Bernie that was defeated 58-42. 8 putative Democrats voted with the GOP against working American families:
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ)
Joe Manchin (WV)
Jeanne Shaheen (NH)
Maggie Hassan (NH)
Tom Carper (DE)
Chris Coons (DE)
Jon Tester (MT)
Angus King (I-ME)
Not counting Mark Warner (VA), Frackenlooper (CO) and Mark Kelly (AZ), who all voted for the raise, those 8 are the worst rotgut conservative Democrats in the Senate always standing in the way of progress. Oh, and Jackie Rosen (NV).
Meanwhile Republicans are singing the praises of Sinema and Manchin. Yesterday Business Insider reported that Lauren Windsor posted a video of Republican congressmen imploring conservative activists to flood the pair of conservative Democrats with messages of gratitude for holding firm against filibuster reform, on Friday, two days after posting another one showing a GOP congressman calling for "18 more months of chaos" to jam Democrats. Both sets of remarks were made on June 29 at a Patriot Voices event attended by a large group of conservatives in Washington, DC. You can watch the video by clicking on the tweet:
Andy Biggs (R-AZ), one of the 5 or 6 most right wing members of Congress, is a long time friend and ally of Sinema's so this makes perfect sense for him. In fact, she endorsed his reelection bid against a Democrat.
Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida could then be heard urging activists to call the pair of centrist Democrats and thank them for refusing to blow up the filibuster.
"All of you in this room, people at home on Zoom, let me tell you right now, if you want to do one thing to keep the republic afloat, call Joe Manchin's office, call Kyrsten Sinema's office," he said.
...The filibuster has emerged as a barrier to a substantial chunk of Biden's agenda on the economy, voting rights, policing reform, and immigration. Given a Democratic majority that relies on a tiebreaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris, many in the party have called to get rid of it so that they can pass legislation without Republicans.
But Manchin and Sinema have dug in on preserving it. "There is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster," Manchin wrote in a Washington Post op-ed article in April.
Rick Santorum, a former Republican senator and 2016 GOP primary candidate who attended the event, acknowledged the difficulty Republicans face in rolling back social programs once they're in place-- possibly a reference to their failed attempt to scrap the Affordable Care Act in 2017 and to others proposing cuts to safety-net programs like Medicare and Social Security.
"It's a lot easier to pass giveaways than it is to take them away. And everybody thinks, 'Oh, well, you know, we'll just take them away,'" he said in the video. "No, we won't! No, we won't."