Biden used his Tuesday speech in Georgia not only to tout his pair of “voting rights” bills, which would effectively nationalize elections, but also to call for the end of the filibuster and liken anyone who opposes such efforts to segregationists like George Wallace and Bull Connor.
Biden’s speech flew in the face of the promise he made on Inauguration Day to bring Americans together and look for bipartisan solutions to the nation’s problems, and it revealed that Democrats are still intent on playing a zero-sum game with Republicans wherein the fate of American democracy hangs in the balance during every election. It’s a state of play in contemporary politics that will exacerbate the partisan divide in the short-term and destroy America’s republican institutions in the long-run.
Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have repeatedly voiced their opposition to any change in the filibuster rule, and some other moderates like Jon Tester of Montana and Mark Kelly of Arizona aren’t entirely on board with the proposal.
Yet Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has moved ahead with the bills regardless of division within his own party and Biden made no attempt to persuade those who have serious doubts about the ramifications of his proposals. Instead, he bludgeoned them with the most damaging allegation in American politics — racism.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed Biden’s speech as “profoundly unpresidential” and accused the president of delivering “a deliberately divisive speech that was designed to pull our country further apart.”
And he’s exactly right. Biden’s speech was intentionally divisive.
Biden knows that the election bills will not pass, but he and congressional Democrats will fully utilize the opportunity to cover up their impending defeat in the November midterms.
Democrats are terrified of losing power in Congress, even if Republicans won’t be able to do much more than slow down Biden’s agenda until the 2024 presidential race, so they want to sow the seeds of doubt about the integrity of the midterms now.
It wasn’t Biden’s gross mishandling of the pandemic, the ongoing supply chain crisis that has left grocery store shelves bare or the highest inflation rate the country has seen in 40 years — it was Republicans stealing the election!
Sound familiar? They brought the full power of the federal government and the surveillance state to bear in order to bamboozle a large portion of the electorate with the Russian collusion nonsense in 2016. And they salted the earth with stories about post office shenanigans and voter suppression in the lead up to the 2020 election.
Delegitimizing an opponent’s victory by crying voter fraud, voter suppression or Russian collusion has become a viable, and actually very effective, tactic.
Democrats in Congress and journalists in the legacy media have already begun to hype up the midterms as a Ragnarok for the American experiment — a do-or-die apocalyptic struggle between the forces of democracy and those of fascist demagoguery.
So get rid of the filibuster rule that has been a staple in the Senate for almost 200 years. Pack the Supreme Court even though it has stood at nine justices for 150 years. Add new states on a whim even though we have been comfortable with the 50-state equilibrium for the past six decades. Do away with that pesky Electoral College. Usurp the constitutionally protected right of the states to administer elections.
Nothing, not even rules and institutions that are fundamental to our democratic republic, can be allowed to get in the way of crushing the enemy and “protecting” democracy.
And Democrats have every incentive to do so. If their voters are convinced that the opposition is evil and their victory will mean the end of democracy, it will energize the base and make them more likely to go to the voting booths, and more likely to help fill up Democrats’ war chests with donations.
This kind of trend will continue because there’s no limiting principle and almost no short-term cost to adopting the tactic.
In a better world, the short-term cost would be loss of support from a well-informed citizenry that can look beyond simple partisanship and vote to protect vital republican norms and institutions.
But the closest realistic political short-term cost is the virtual annihilation of a party’s political program once the other side gets into power. If all these stopgap measures like the filibuster are gone, the party in power can pass a lot of stuff, sure, but the other side can just as quickly get rid of it and substitute their own agenda just as easily.
In the long-term, such tactics will degrade republican institutions and subjugate the nation to the tyranny of the majority that the Founders were so cognizant of and actively guarded against with the tools the Biden administration is actively trying to destroy.
Hayden Daniel is the opinion editor at the Daily Caller.