Schumer Gets Embarassed Again After Gambit to Push Dems on Filibuster Fails

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had promised that he was going to force senators to vote on the election bills this weekend. What he meant was that he wanted to see if he could force Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to change their minds on the subject. If they didn’t have the votes, he said he was then going to try to force a change on the filibuster rule.

However, both Manchin and Sinema blew his doors off, once again saying that they weren’t going to be pressured into blowing up the filibuster. It seems like it’s been about the billionth time that they’ve told Schumer to pound sand and they both made it very public. Sinema excoriated the effort to eliminate the filibuster, saying it would only exacerbate the “disease of division” which was already too much in evidence.

That finally set Schumer back on his heels and there was an announcement there wouldn’t be any vote this weekend. Officially, the excuse from Schumer was that there was going to be bad weather and one Democrat was self-quarantining with COVID.

“Due to the circumstances regarding COVID and another potentially hazardous winter storm approaching the D.C. area this weekend, the Senate will adjourn tonight,” Mr. Schumer said. “We will return on Tuesday to take up the House-passed message containing voting rights legislation.”

Translation? His gambit blew up, he backed off, and now he’s regrouping. But I’m not sure what he thinks is going to be different come Tuesday. Manchin and Sinema have been very clear, it’s Schumer and some of the other Democrats who have refused delivery on the message that Manchin and Sinema are not changing their minds no matter how much you pressure them. They’ve shown they’re more than willing to weather the storm that Schumer has tried to level at them, yet he’s just continued to try to alienate them even more. If he wants to go through with it on Tuesday, he’s just going to put more people on record in contentious elections where that vote may count against them. And he’s going to reveal that it isn’t just Manchin and Sinema — that there are more people who have indicated they have reticence about blowing up the filibuster, like Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ).

But he’s caught between a rock and a hard place. If he can’t blow up the filibuster, Schumer has already admitted he’s terrified Democrats are going to lose. He said all the Democrats are upset they might lose their seats and that they might lose their majority if they don’t have control of the elections.

That’s what this is all about — ensuring they have control so they stay in power.