I refuse to believe Joe Manchin, the Democratic Senator from West Virginia, is as naive as he presents himself. I mean, a couple of weeks ago he was (or at least he said he was) confident the Senate would approve a bipartisan plan to create an independent commission to examine the 1/6 insurrection. He actually said out loud that he believed there would be “ten good, solid patriots” among the Senate Republicans who’d vote for the commission.
Was he right? Nope.
This week Manchin proposed a ‘compromise’ on voting rights. Democrats, of course, want sweeping legislative protections designed to make elections secure and accessible to every eligible voter. Republicans want legislation designed to make elections limited as much as possible to Republican voters; Democrats can go fuck themselves.
It’s hard to come up with a compromise between those two positions. But Manchin, bless his heart, tried. And he actually cobbled something together that was inadequate, but at least offered a semi-reasonable starting position. He pared the Democratic wishlist down to the bone, and added a few points that Republicans advocated. You can read the actual text of the compromise, but here are the main points of his plan.
The Good Stuff:
— Election Day would be a public holiday. Everybody gets the day off to go vote.
— At least 15 days (including two weekends) of continuous early voting in federal elections
— Automatic voter registration at the DMV for citizens, allow people to opt out if they didn’t want to appear on the voting rolls
— A ban on partisan gerrymandering, districts decided by computer models
— At least 7 days notification of a change in polling location
The Not-Good Stuff:
— Doesn’t require no-excuse mail-in balloting
— Doesn’t require convenient ballot drop boxes for early voting
— Doesn’t prevent states from requiring extra ID security measures for people requesting mail-in ballots
— Doesn’t require a paper ballot backup
It’s…well, it’s pretty much what Manchin claimed he wanted; it’s a compromise. Not a good compromise, but a compromise. It includes provisions which both Democrats and Republicans want, and provisions to which both parties object. You know…a compromise. So of course, Republicans have rejected it out of hand. They rejected it because it’s a compromise–and because Manchin himself is being a horse’s ass about the filibuster, the Republicans don’t have to compromise on anything.
It MUST be clear even to Joe Manchin that the GOP is no longer interested in representative democracy. Again, I don’t think Manchin can be accused of naivete. At this point in time–and frankly, this was obvious during the Obama administration–to believe Congressional Republicans have any interest at all in compromise or bipartisanship is NOT naive. Naivete at that level is tantamount to stupidity.
Aristotle (yeah, I’m calling in the Greeks) believed the function of the brain was to cool the blood–that it wasn’t involved in the thinking process. Joe Manchin may provide an argument in Aristotle’s favor.