A discordant note in Biden’s first 100 days–and it’s not fair to lay this on Biden–is how some professional Democrats, including narcissistic ideologue Sen. Joe Manchin and Manic Pixie Dream Senator Kyrsten Sinema, but not only those two, fail to understand that Republicans are working overtime to cement majority rule. I get that many Democrats don’t want to govern like Bernie Sanders, but stopping incipient fascism is kinda important.
Because Elie Mystal has the right of it (boldface mine):
The basic argument from conservative Democrats is that the party should be cautious in its use of power. Taking aggressive, provocative actions, like ending or reforming the filibuster, might encourage Republicans to use power viciously should they ever get it again. But that argument is ludicrous. It proceeds from the false premise that Republicans are restrained by what Democrats are willing to do. The truth is that Republicans are restrained only by what their racist white voters will allow, and those voters have proved time and again that they will allow anything so long as their tribe comes out on top…
I will acknowledge that Republicans will use any action by Democrats as an excuse to further vitiate democracy, should they get a chance. If Democrats kill or even just weaken the filibuster, Republicans will use whatever small Senate majority they’re able to cobble together to ram through the most divisive and extremist laws they can think of. If Democrats add four justices to the Supreme Court, Republicans will add 10 when they get a chance. If Democrats prosecute Trump for corruption and tax fraud, Republicans will prosecute Joe Biden for having ice cream before dinner if they have to. That is their way.
Republicans are not bluffing when they promise retribution should Democrats use the power they have won. But so what? How is that any worse than what we have now? Republicans supported a whole-cloth lie about the results of the last election, which led directly to a massive insurrection against the government. Many of their voters were willing to capture and kill elected representatives or quietly supported those who would. Republicans have chosen to pursue power at any cost, and yet there are Democrats like Joe Manchin who think defending procedural gridlock will “heal” these divides.
Who in their right mind thinks Republicans won’t use all the power they have in, say, 2025 just because Democrats showed restraint in 2021? Republicans never hold their fire because they’re afraid of the Democratic response. They never say, “If we’re not careful, we might piss off Chris Coons.”
The only way to protect people from what Republicans will do once they regain power is to make it difficult for the white supremacist rump of the party to gain power again. The only way to do that, legitimately, is to secure voting rights. The cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure enough Democrats understand the urgency of the moment. If they don’t, then we might get a situation where Democrats lose the House in 2022 for years, and the Senate until 2030.