Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has been a constant thorn in the side of progressive Democrats since being first elected to the Senate in 2018. As an openly LGBTQ+ woman, you would think that would stop the Democrats’ furious criticism of the Arizona senator.
Alas, they are every bit as angry at Sinema as any Trump voter has been at any Democratic senator — maybe even more so. That is because Sinema has joined with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) to form a tiny “moderate bloc” in the Democratic Party that represents an impediment to the left’s dreams of ramming through socialist packages like “Build Back More Communist” and the “For the Democrats” voting bill. (I took the liberty of renaming the bills more accurately.)
On Wednesday, Sinema made it known that she is still not on board with changing the Senate rules to require a simple majority. This would allow the 50-50-Senate-plus-Kamala to force through any bills the Democrats see fit, even through the dubious process known as “reconciliation.”
Axios reports that Kyrsten Sinema has joined Joe Manchin in rejecting Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) latest attempt to blow up the Senate:
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), also a key holdout to major filibuster reform, reiterated during the Democratic lunch she will not support any effort to get rid of the 60-vote threshold, according to two sources familiar with the call.
Sinema has been having one-on-one talks with her colleagues for weeks, one of the sources said.
On Tuesday, Senator Joe Manchin used thinly veiled language to indicate that he also wants to kibosh progressives’ dreams of a filibuster-less, Democrat-dominated Senate.
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) told reporters on Tuesday that backing any of the Democrats’ planned changes to the Senate filibuster would be “very difficult.”
Manchin was asked by Politico congressional reporter Burgess Everett in the halls of Congress about whether he opposes changing the Senate filibuster rules or invoking the “nuclear option” to remove it.
“[I’ve] always been for rules [changes] being done the way we’ve always done them, two-thirds of members voting, and any way you can do a rules change to where everyone is involved, and basically that’s a rule that usually will stay, that’s what we should be pursuing,” he said. “[We’re] still having ongoing conversations as far as voting because I think the bedrock of democracy is making sure that you’re able to cast a vote.”
“If you’re legal, of age, and a United States citizen, you should be able to cast a vote, and it should be counted accurately. So we’re talking about those things there,” Manchin said.
When asked specifically about the filibuster, he elaborated that it would be a “heavy lift.”
“[Being] open to a rules change that would create a nuclear option, it’s very, very difficult. It’s a heavy lift,” Manchin said.
“Anytime there’s a carveout, you eat the whole turkey,” Manchin joked. “There’s nothing left, because it comes back and forth. So you want things that’ll be sustainable, that’s what you’re looking for. So that common sense, commonality … I just believe that the bedrock of democracy is voting, and we have to do what we can in order to preserve that. But let’s just see. Conversations are still ongoing, I’ve been talking to everybody, we’ve been having good conversations … since we left about two weeks ago.”
Manchin continued to explain his position when pressed by another reporter.
“The need for us to protect democracy as we know it, and the Senate, as it has operated for 232 years, are extremely, extremely high bars that we must be careful if we’re willing to cross those. So, I’m talking. I’m not agreeing to any of this. … I want to talk and see all the options we have open,” he said.
“We want to talk to everybody. I want to engage everybody, I’m just not doing it from one side,” Manchin said.
Manchin has rejected attempts to bring back Build Back Better, according to Fox News reporting on Tuesday.
“There’s been no conversations after I made my statement. I was very clear, I feel as strongly today as I did then that the unknown with COVID – here we are. I’ve got an N-95, I see all of you do,” Manchin told reporters. “So there’s different concerns that we have right now that we haven’t had for a while, so that’s a concern. Inflation is still a concern. It’s still over 6%.”
In perhaps the clearest sign of all, Manchin did not seem open to Senate changes that would cause more partisan division.
“I’ve never turned down talks with anybody. I really haven’t. I was very clear on where I stand, and I thought it was time to do that, rather than just continue on and on as we have for five and a half months. I haven’t changed from the first day when I talked to leader Schumer on that,” he recalled, referencing Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
“Our country is divided. I don’t intend to do anything that divides our country anymore,” he said.
In April, Manchin said adamantly that he would not undo the filibuster. “There is no circumstance,” he said.
“I have said it before and will say it again to remove any shred of doubt: There is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster,” Manchin recently wrote in the Washington Post. “The time has come to end these political games, and to usher a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the major policy debates facing our nation.”
The left-wing activists thus unleashed the dogs of war on Manchin. (On Twitter, of course.)
“Joe Manchin is a national disgrace,” one blogger tweeted. “How can we allow one guy from West Virginia to wield so much power?” another moaned. “The filibuster is about maintaining white minority rule,” the ‘anti-racist’ W. Kamua Bell claimed. “And Joe Manchin wants to make sure that he is the white minority who gets to rule.”
The left is breaking out every epithet, every accusation in its bag of tricks, every pressure tactic to force Manchin to bend the knee. But he may not be alone in his show of resistance to disposing with the filibuster (and not just leaving the “talking filibuster.”) Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema also defended the filibuster.
“When you have a place that’s broken and not working, and many would say that’s the Senate today, I don’t think the solution is to erode the rules,” Senator Sinema said in an interview after two Phoenix events. “I think the solution is for senators to change their behavior and begin to work together, which is what the country wants us to do.”
There is a reason that Joe Manchin can be independent of the radical left, which infuriates the activists. He doesn’t need them. An article at Blue Tent lays out succinctly why.
“Naturally, progressives and leftists despise Manchin. In West Virginia, he’s held in low regard by activists who remember slights like his endorsement of a Republican in the 1996 gubernatorial race after he lost the Democratic primary to Charlotte Pritt, a more liberal figure who was backed by unions,” the article explains. “An attempt to primary Manchin from the left in 2018 flopped badly, leaving progressive West Virginians with no choice but to vote for him in the general.”
Senators Manchin and Sinema indeed hold all the leverage. If there is anything that radical leftists hate, it’s members of the Democratic Party who don’t march in lockstep with them to push America off a cliff.
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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.