This morning, West Virginia putatively Democratic Senator Joe Manchin announced that he would not support Senate Bill S1, and that he is seeking to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act through “regular order”–which would require ten Republican Senate votes.
There are no ten righteous people in that Sodom and Gomorrah.
(It’s also a moronic bargaining tactic as Manchin has removed all of his leverage, but no one said this guy was particularly bright).
In doing killing S1, Joe ‘Crow’ Manchin has almost certainly guaranteed that Republicans will take the House in the midterm elections (probably the Senate too–I don’t see how Warnock in Georgia gets re-elected), and there is a very good chance Democrats lose the White House in 2024, even as the Democratic candidate will (once again) likely receive millions of more popular votes. I hope I’m wrong, but it will take a miracle or a complete revamping of Democratic Party strategy (which itself would be miraculous).
We can discuss structural issues and demographic forces all we want, but sometimes those whom we deign to represent–and protect us–have to execute and do the job. This failure wasn’t inevitable–it comes down to a handful of people who didn’t do their jobs, including Manchin. People can deride ‘Green Lanternism’ and cluck about being ‘savvy’ and ‘realistic’ all they want, but that doesn’t change what needed to happen, but did not.
As we see multiple states enact voting restriction legislation to exclude likely Democratic voters, we probably should call this era ‘Joe Crow.’ At the same time, this will be bad for the Democratic Party as well–ironically, despite Manchin’s claims, it will lead to more polarization (and corruption) as the Democratic voters who voted Democratic specifically to stop Republicans out of a sense of existential peril will never shift–and democratic (little d) politics really aren’t in ethnically divided societies.
This was the battle that mattered, and democracy lost. Yes, we’ll still have the forms and trappings of it, but the desperate civil and voting rights expansion that began in the 1960s is now over (and don’t think for a moment the Roberts court will protect us–Roberts’ entire career has been about dismantling voting rights).
Democracy dies, not in darkness, but in derpness.