It has not been a good couple of days for Democrats. Two days ago, the 5th Circuit delivered a stunning rebuke of the Biden administration, denying their appeal of Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. Yesterday, Adam Schiff got caught doctoring text messages during a January 6th committee hearing. Then today, the thermonuclear bomb went off.
Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda was officially shelved after an agreement with Joe Manchin couldn’t be reached. On that note, my prediction that Manchin would stall things out into next year proved correct, and I still believe his ultimate goal is to kill it entirely in the softest way possible.
Of course, the Democrats needed an excuse for why they were punting on the president’s chief policy priority, and some overpaid consultants settled on “voting rights.” Sure, everyone who is legally entitled to voting rights already has them, but when you’ve got nothing else, you’ve got nothing else.
Well, that great hope lasted for all of a few hours. Kyrsten Sinema has now come flying in off the top rope, destroying any hope that Democrats can pass a federal takeover of the country’s elections.
Dems shelved the Build Back Better bill – the cornerstone of the Biden agenda — to shift to election reform bills.
And Kyrsten Sinema just stuck a fork in that.
Joe Biden is a lame duck President 11 months in. https://t.co/ZjZMnHUmwV
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) December 15, 2021
Honestly, none of this made sense in the first place. Why would you move off a signature policy goal in order to focus on another bill that you have nowhere near the votes needed to pass it? At least with the “Build Back Better” bill you only needed to negotiate with Sinema and Manchin because it can be passed via reconciliation. But on this “voting rights” farce, you need 60 votes, and there’s no chance Sinema is going to suddenly change her mind on the filibuster. So, what exactly was the strategy here?
The answer here is that there isn’t one — except a lame attempt to save face. Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer realized their gooses were cooked on passing another massive spending bill, at least for the time being (and good luck passing it next year with an election approaching). Yet, they needed something to pacify their rabid left-wing base. What better way to do that than to play into the fantasy that Democrats can federalize elections and “save democracy”?
The votes simply aren’t there, though. What you are witnessing is a political party that is content to continue painting itself into a corner. Forget Republican turnout next year and the historical winds battering the Democrat electoral ship. Even just honing in on left-leaning voters, the bill is going to come due for all these empty promises. Once it does, Democrats are going to have a revolt on their hands, and that likely means depressed turnout. This is what happens when you promise the world and can’t deliver, and as I’ve suggested many times, the current Democrat coalition was never sustainable.
Contrary to claims of Biden being a legislative genius, he’s proven once again to be anything but. That goes for Pelosi and Schumer as well, both of whom have badly misplayed their hand here. All they had to do was sit back and be sane for two years. Perhaps then they could have salvaged something in 2022. Now, they’ve written too many checks, and the bank account is empty.