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Joe Biden wants you to be terrified about losing the “right to vote freely.” He urged the passage of the misnamed “For the People Act” — a federal power grab of elections not seen in American history.
The bill failed to pass the filibuster test in the Senate and is, for all intents and purposes, dead. But that hasn’t stopped Biden from using apocalyptic rhetoric to rile up his base and beat the war drums against Republicans.
“This is a test of our time,” he said to a crowd of 300 civil rights advocates on Tuesday in Philadelphia.
“Hear me clearly,” he added. “There’s an unfolding assault taking place in America today, an attempt to suppress and subvert the right to vote and fair and free elections. An assault on democracy, an assault on liberty, an assault on who we are.”
If this were really true, Republicans wouldn’t simply be wringing their hands and whining about how unfair it was. They would take action to protect democracy and our fundamental values.
But it’s not true and Joe Biden knows it. That’s why his goal isn’t to continue pushing a dead issue in Congress. It’s to terrify blacks and other minorities and stampede them into voting for Democrats.
If it were true, Biden would use the full power and weight of his office to rid the Senate of the filibuster. It’s the filibuster standing in the way of the “For the People Act” and the Democratic radicals who make up the party’s base are losing patience with Biden’s empty rhetoric, The Hill reported.
“The silence was deafening on the filibuster question that would make it a reality,” said Joseph Geevarghese, who leads the left-wing group Our Revolution.
“We will not have voting rights legislation unless we have filibuster reform,” agreed Stasha Rhodes of Just Democracy. “You can’t talk about the problem without talking about the solutions. We know the White House sees this as a problem. Our goal is that they share the same level of urgency. But we have to hear how.”
The radicals have never liked Joe Biden. They never trusted him, either. Biden tries to match their anti-GOP hysteria but fails to take any action to fight their fights.
Geevarghese, Rhodes and other activists emphasized that their work to get Biden and the two Senate moderates to commit to a forward-looking blueprint does not stop after one speech.
The White House has effectively shuffled the question about how to handle the filibuster to the upper chamber. Press secretary Jen Psaki recently called it a “legislative process tool” that’s “important” and “warrants debate.” But she stopped short of taking a stance about any future tweaks, saying that “determination about making changes will be made by members of the Senate, not by this president or any president.”
Biden has done nothing to turn the screws on Senators Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema and pressure them to support ditching the filibuster. This has enraged some of the radicals who think it an easy task for a president to get a mere senator to do his bidding.
But Biden, who’s been around a long, long time, knows the consequences for the minority if the filibuster dies. As soon as January 2023, Democrats may very well find themselves in the minority in the Senate. That wouldn’t guarantee Biden a one-term presidency, but it would make it very difficult for any Democrat to win in 2024. And if a Republican wins in 2024, the anti-filibuster rhetoric on the left will be forgotten.
So Biden is holding his fire while his base steams. Meanwhile, he feels perfectly comfortable throwing bombs at Republicans and hysterically exaggerating the effect of GOP voting reforms across the country.