Voting Rights Die in The Senate: Thank Sinema and Manchin

Kyrsten Sinema via Wiki Commons

The Senate has once again killed voting rights legislation. An amended voting bill was killed last month thanks to the work of Kirsten Sinema and Joe Manchin. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called for the bill to be brought to the floor for a vote. Instead, the vote failed along party lines as Democrats were unable to reach the ⅔ majority ceiling for the bill to go for an official vote.

Then Majority Leader Chuck Schumer attempted to change the Senate rules to allow for a simple majority to pass the bill, but Senators Manchin and Sinema voted with Republicans against the rule change, effectively preventing the bill from going forward. In response, President Biden acknowledged the defeat but argued that there could be more done, saying: “I’ve been engaged in a long time in public policy, and I don’t know many things that have been done in one fell swoop…” Biden then went on to argue that there may be another path for the bill to pass but did not specify what path that may be.

The decision by Sinema and Manchin to vote against the change is yet another example of their consistent obstructionism under the false pretense of protecting bi-partisanship. It is not surprising that they continue to maintain this facade. Sinema and Manchin have received a massive boost in fundraising thanks to their opposition to basic democratic reforms. And that fidelity to their financial position is destroying the right to vote. It is unlikely that Manchin will be unseated during his next election, which is in 2024. But Sinema, who is up for reelection during that same time, is almost certainly going to be removed by her voters. 

A Data for Progress poll showed that Sinema is facing significant blowback for her work, with 76 percent of likely Democratic primary voters firmly disapproving of her performance. Still, that is several years away and unless Democrats can somehow persuade Manchin and Sinema to change their mind and bring the vote back for a vote, Republican attempts to reset the electorate to their liking will remain the law and Americans will not have their voice heard. 

That said, I hope we get to see Sinema pay the price for her continued obstruction and that Democrats in Arizona can elect a more suitable Representative to replace her because if Sinema stays, the dysfunction of the Senate will only get worse.

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