President Joe Biden took a major political stance on Tuesday when he demanded a breach of the Senate’s majority rule so that Democrats can override Republican opposition to suffrage reforms, which he called crucial to saving US democracy.
Speaking in Atlanta, Georgia, the cradle of the civil rights movement, Biden – who called last year’s Capitol riot by Donald Trump supporters a “coup attempt” – “this is the moment to decide to defend our elections, to defend our democracy. . “
He challenged Democrats who have a razor-sharp majority in the Senate to stand up for two bills that would increase access to the ballot and prevent methods that Biden said were used to oppress black and other democratically inclined voters.
“Each of the members of the Senate will be judged by the history of where they stood before and after the vote. There is no escape,” Biden said.
The 50 Democrats in the Senate support the two bills. But under the current requirement for a super-majority, 60 votes are required to get them approved.
Biden said that if the Republicans do not cooperate, the super-majority demand, called filibuster, should be thrown out to get the voting rights passed.
Faced with Republican obstruction, “we have no choice but to change Senate rules, including getting rid of the filibuster for this.”
It is a high-risk, high-profit issue for Biden, which upsets Republicans, while trying to balance the more conservative wing of his party with the increasingly frustrated black society.
History is watching
After a powerful speech last week marking the anniversary of the pro-Trump uprising on January 6, Biden described the effort to introduce greater voter protection as “a turning point.”
Democrats are accusing the Republican state legislature of passing a series of laws that deliberately restrict the voting rights of minorities and restrict early voting and postal voting in an attempt to suppress democratic support.
Biden said Republicans pass local laws “designed to suppress your vote, to undermine our choices.”
Then he threw down the gauntlet to the Senate and said, “History has never been kind to those who sided with voters over suffrage.”
“I ask all elected officials in America: how do you want to be remembered?”
Republicans describe the Democrats’ Senate press for suffrage as an attempt to manipulate the electoral landscape by shifting power to federal authorities. They agree to oppose the two bills, which Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said could come up for a vote as early as Wednesday.
Biden’s bid for a repeal of the filibuster rule is also controversial.
Republicans warn that a supposed one-time maneuver could open the floodgates to lift the filibuster on all sorts of issues, thereby putting an end to all appearances of bipartisanship in the House.
Leading Republican Senator Mitch McConnell called the idea of interrupting the filibuster for suffrage reforms “disruptive” and an attempt to “break our institutions to get the political result they want.”
Perhaps worse for Biden, the maneuver needs unanimous democratic support to happen – and it is far from certain, with at least two of the more conservative Democratic senators clearly skeptical.
If it fails to circumvent the filibuster, Biden will not only see the suffrage proposals defeated but also come out of the fight and look politically weakened.
‘Keep the faith’
The president traveled to Georgia at a time when his approval has stuck in the 1940s and Republicans are predicted to take over Congress in the midterm elections in November.
He faces not only violent opposition from Republicans on his suffrage initiative, but also complaints from black activists – a crucial part of his coalition – that he has done too little, too late.
To underscore Biden’s shaky political stance, prominent black politician and suffrage activist Stacey Abrams of Georgia missed her event in Atlanta because of what Biden called a “scheduling error,” while a large civil rights group said it was boycotting due to lack of tangible progress.
Still, the speech was the boldest step to date in the question of Biden, who took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the crypt of the slain civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. and visited the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church before his speech.
“Keep the faith,” Biden said as he entered the Ebenezer Baptist Church.