For Joe Biden, the threat of a reduced turnout of black Americans at the ballot box is a very serious matter. A two or three percentage point drop in black voters supporting Democrats in 2022 and especially 2024 would mean the difference between victory and defeat for dozens of incumbents.
The leaders of the party’s most loyal and reliable voting bloc are threatening to withhold their full support from Biden unless he passes voting reforms. These reforms have been promised by black leaders to black citizens and they mean to deliver them by any means necessary.
But in order to do that, Democrats are going to have to blow up the Senate by carving out an “exception” to the filibuster rule for Biden’s pet voting bills. It will create chaos in the Senate because Republicans won’t sit still for it and have promised to slow down Senate business to a snail’s pace if Democrats try to destroy the filibuster.
Any talk of an “exception” to the filibuster is meaningless. Once an exception is used, there will be nothing that says it can’t be used again. And again.
So Biden is up on Capitol Hill today attending a closed-door lunch with Democratic senators trying to get all 50 votes to change the rules and allow the filibuster exception.
Though he’s previously expressed an openness to changing the Senate’s rules, he gave a full-throated endorsement during his speech, saying that he supports changing the rules “whichever way they need to be changed to prevent a minority of senators from blocking action on voting rights.”
Biden’s decision to attend the Senate Democratic lunch, giving him the chance to lobby Senate Democrats directly, is the latest escalation of a high-profile — yet uphill — bid to change the Senate’s filibuster rule after Republicans previously used it to block to sweeping election bills and separate legislation named after the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) that would strengthen the 1965 Voting Rights
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has vowed to bring up election-related legislation and if Republicans, as expected, block it, to hold a vote on changing the Senate’s rules by Monday, Jan. 17.
The urgency among black leaders is real. More and more red states are passing strong voter integrity laws that Democrats say “undermine democracy.” It’s debatable how a rule that requires a valid ID to vote, or a law that ensures absentee ballots are from the people who actually received them “undermines democracy.”
Not all GOP-initiated changes to voting procedures are necessary or desirable. But it’s also ludicrous to claim that the changes somehow disenfranchise black voters and undermine democracy. That’s pure political BS and has nothing to do with either the intent or the reality of voter integrity measures.
You can’t tell Biden and the Democrats that because it will destroy their narrative. In order to gin up fear and hysteria against Republicans in the black community, Democrats and their allies among black activists have to create the specter of Jim Crow and bar black voters from the polls.
Unfortunately, it’s damned effective in too many areas.