The voting rights showdown
has just begun
If you’ve been paying attention, you already know that our government of, by, and for the people (what a concept!) is being attacked by lawmakers who think the best way to keep their jobs is to keep people from voting and, if that doesn’t work, to throw out election results that don’t suit them. And you know that the bill called HR1/S1, otherwise known as the For the People Act, is our best defense against decades of voter suppression, gerrymandering, and electoral chicanery.
In that context, Joe Manchin’s recent wrongheadedness is discouraging. But this is no time to be discouraged. This is a time to reconnect, re-engage, and recommit to the fight we started five years ago. In the words of Indivisible cofounder Ezra Levin, “The real fight has not yet begun, but it’s coming, and we’re bringing it.”
Levin recently wrote to Indivisible members nationwide sharing his analysis of the moment. You should read the whole letter, but here are a few key snippets:
“Manchin believes that to protect voting rights, we should have to get the consent of the party that is attacking voting rights.”
“Despite the intransigence of Senate Republicans, the For the People Act has overwhelming bipartisan support in West Virginia and across the country, including overwhelming majorities amongst Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.””We’re in the pre-negotiation phase of the democracy reform fight. What you’re seeing is posturing ahead of the showdown.”
“Manchin is doing what southern segregationist senators did for decades: using the filibuster to block voting rights legislation. Simple as that.”
“But the real main character in this play is Schumer. As Majority Leader, he controls the Senate calendar. He can’t make the pieces move, but it’s his job to set up the play.”
“In 1964, it took overcoming a 54-day filibuster to pass the Civil Rights Act in the Senate. The next year it took more than a month after the Voting Rights Act started full senate debate to get past the threat of a filibuster. The Jim Crow filibuster, then as now, did not go down without a long, drawn-out fight.”
“The For the People Act has not even been scheduled for a full senate vote yet. There’s been no debate. There’s been no filibuster. This is all pre-negotiation posturing — Manchin’s effort to defuse the situation so he can continue playacting the role of a statesman. But Manchin doesn’t get to decide what happens next — we do.”
In other words, don’t be discouraged, be motivated. Watch this space for news of a big upcoming event; check in periodically with our Facebook group; and subscribe to Indivisible Chicago’s Daily Actions to learn what you can do every day to to advance the agenda.
Join our Wednesday Phone Banks
Despite the bad news from West Virginia, or maybe because of it, we’ve seen a huge swell of signups for this week’s Indivisible Chicago/Common Cause Wednesday Phone Bank—as of Tuesday morning, more than 70 volunteers and still counting! We call progressive people in key states such as West Virginia, Arizona, and Nevada. We get them to call their senators and urge support of the For the People Act no matter what it takes. These phone banks attract volunteers from all over the country because they offer the training, support, and camaraderie that Indivisible Chicago has become famous for. Help us keep the pressure on! Join us Wednesday from 5-7 PM. Sign up here.
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