Conservative Senate Democrats are refusing to eliminate the legislative filibuster and that is a major problem. The filibuster was designed and used as a tool of a racist minority to prevent the majority's desire to make a more equitable future for the country. Most Democrats in the Senate want to see it eliminated. So do most Americans-- especially if it's used to prevent a minimum wage increase, which is favored by 56% of Americans and opposed by 38%. Among Biden voters, 87% approve and among Trump voters 80% disapprove.
But what about Democracy itself? Conservatives are blocking H.R.1/S.1, the For the People Act, which would, among other things protect voting rights of people being currently targeted by Republicans for disenfranchisement. In effect, any senator-- like Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, Dianne Feinstein, Angus King, Tom Carper-- will be a party to the disenfranchisement. It won't just be the GOP disenfranchising voters; it will be, for example, the GOP + Joe Manchin taking away peoples' right to vote. Most Americans want to filibuster ended:
There are more than 165 bills restricting voting access that have been proposed in 33 state legislatures. There are currently two big bills under consideration in Georgia. The first, House Bill 531, introduced in the Georgia state House last Thursday-- just an hour before its hearing was scheduled-- has received a lot of attention for the sheer breadth of what it is proposing. It would:
Require absentee voters to submit their driver’s license number, state ID number or a copy of their photo ID with their ballot.
Shorten the window in which voters can request absentee ballots; they would have to do so between 11 weeks before the election and two Fridays before the election. (Currently Georgians can request absentee ballots between 180 days before the election and one Friday before the election.)
Prevent election officials from mailing absentee ballots until four weeks before the election.
Bar election officials from mailing unsolicited absentee-ballot applications to voters.
Limit the early-voting period to business hours during the three weeks preceding the election, plus the second Saturday before the election; early voting would no longer be allowed any other day, including Sundays.
Clarify that no one can give food or water to people standing in line to vote. (Separately, Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has argued that this is already against the law, and he has announced his intention to start enforcing it more.)
Allow ballot drop boxes at early-voting sites only, and only when those sites are open.
Limit the use of mobile voting facilities, such as buses, to emergencies.
Throw out provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct.
Prohibit counties from accepting outside funding for elections.
FiveThirtyEight reported that "Democrats and voting-rights advocates have decried the proposals, accusing Republicans of trying to disenfranchise Democrats and voters of color. (At least one Republican appears to agree: Alice O’Lenick, a Republican election official in Gwinnett County, has urged the legislature to make these changes 'so that we at least have a shot at winning.') But regardless of the intention, the bills would undeniably have the practical effect of disenfranchising Black voters, who in Georgia are the Democratic base, at a disproportionate rate... At least 15 other states have proposed stricter voter-ID laws this year, too. And a least three others want to eliminate no-excuse absentee voting."
While Republicans in state legislatures eliminate as many Democratic voters as they can, Republicans in DC whine endlessly-- after 4 years of Trump!!!-- that Democrats aren't being bi-partisan. A couple of days ago it was self-righteous Ohio asshat Rob Portman had the gall to write that "Biden faces an early choice. He can act on the hopeful bipartisan rhetoric of his inaugural address-- and his presidential campaign-- or contradict that message by trying to jam a $1.9 trillion bill through reconciliation with no GOP support. Working together has the benefit of crafting more-targeted policies, while showing a divided country that we can unite at a time of crisis."
Michelle Cottle reminded Biden and other conservative Democrats that the GOP-- and especially not McConnell-- shouldn't get to define "Bipartisan." Key point is good but 70% is way to high a standard: "If 70 percent of Americans support a policy, including most Republicans, it is bipartisan-- regardless of what some senators think about it." She noted that Portman is "unencumbered by self-awareness... Biden indeed ran on a pledge to unify America-- to start draining the partisan poison from the body politic. It was a winning vision for a weary public. Republicans are clearly aiming to exploit that vision in their quest to block Mr. Biden’s agenda. Because if Republican lawmakers don’t sign on to a proposal, then a plan isn’t bipartisan. And for Mr. Biden to proceed with a plan that isn’t bipartisan, well, that’s a betrayal of his promise to the American people.
Mr. Biden does face an early choice — just not the false one Mr. Portman presented. The president and his party should double-down on the bipartisanship message, even as they redefine and refocus it away from Congress.
For a host of reasons-- including the growing polarization and ideological extremism of members of Congress-- the policies that a bipartisan majority of Americans favor often have little overlap with the positions their elected leaders stake out. All too often, even lawmakers who support a bill are bullied into opposing it by their leadership or threatened with retaliation by the more extreme, more intransigent elements of their party. Broadly popular policies fall victim to congressional game playing.
...Going forward, Biden should think, and talk, about bipartisanship as it relates to the American public-- not whether a few tribal warriors in Congress can be coaxed into crossing party lines. His team has explicitly nodded in this direction now and again. “Even with narrow majorities in Congress, he has the opportunity to build broad bipartisan support for his program-- not necessarily in Congress but with the American people,” his adviser Anita Dunn told CNN in January, regarding Covid relief.