Jim Clyburn Just Might This Get Whole Voting Rights Thing Done
We don't know, but we are starting to think Democrats might actually get something done on voting rights. Something seems to be shifting in the air. Or maybe not. But maybe there is a teeny reason for some optimism?
Many are retelling the story right now of how during the 2020 primary, with Joe Biden's primary campaign kind of foundering, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina stepped up to the podium, literally and figuratively, and made an endorsement that would change the course of the entire race. Biden won THE BALLS out of that primary, thanks to Black voters, and from there on out, the rest of the candidates dropped out and got behind Biden for the most part. He literally ran away with the nomination. He might not be president right now if Clyburn hadn't done that. Clyburn is, as Joe Biden would say, a big fuckin' deal.
Well, Clyburn gave an interview to Politico this weekend that's getting a lot of attention, precisely because Clyburn is known for speaking out vey carefully and with purpose, timed for maximum impact. And in that interview, Clyburn told the Senate to FUCKING fix it, FUCKING get it done. Of course, he did not say all caps FUCKING like that, at least not in public, because he is far classier than Wonkette. That interview included a specific instruction to President You're Welcome For The South Carolina Primary:
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) told POLITICO Biden "should endorse" the idea of creating a carveout to the legislative filibuster in the Senate for legislation that applies to the Constitution. [...]
It's a sentiment the congressman says he's shared with White House counselor Steve Ricchetti and Office of Public Engagement Director Cedric Richmond as well. "I've even told that to the vice president," Clyburn said.
Biden could "pick up the phone and tell [Sen.] Joe Manchin, 'Hey, we should do a carve out.'" Clyburn said, referring to the centrist West Virginia Democrat who has resisted filibuster reform. "I don't care whether he does it in a microphone or on the telephone — just do it."
Should endorse. Clyburn says Biden should endorse that. He says he's talked to Vice President Kamala Harris about it. He's told the White House. He says do it in public, or do it on the phone to Joe Manchin. We don't have to know about it. Just fucking do it.
In President Biden's big voting rights speech on Tuesday, he didn't endorse a carve-out to the filibuster. Progressives were not real pleased with Biden's speech. (We give it an A-plus on soaring rhetoric but more like a B-minus on content.) But he did say GET IT DONE. And a lot of people who speak fluent "DC" are saying that Biden might as well have said it, considered in the context of Clyburn's remarks and the force of his and Biden's GET IT DONE.
For good measure, Clyburn tweeted this after Biden's speech:
Our democracy is at a dangerous inflection point. Carving out an exception to the filibuster for constitutional a… https://t.co/h5DFvk1dIm— James E. Clyburn (@James E. Clyburn)1626207171.0
GET. IT. DONE.
There's only two paths here — either Joe Manchin finds 10 good Republicans to support protecting the right to vote (hahahahahahahaha), or he and (ugh) Kyrsten Sinema find it in their hearts to care more about democracy than they care about stupid bipartisan fever dream fantasies and do something about the filibuster. Like maybe a carve-out? As Texas Democratic state Rep. Chris Turner said yesterday, "If you can have a carve-out for a rightwing Supreme Court justice, why can't you have a carve-out to protect the very fundamentals of our democracy?"
Lotta people saying "carve-out" this week. Seems to be going around!
Clyburn went on Maddow last night, and he expressed some optimism, carefully, in his measured way.
Clyburn reiterated that Biden doesn't have to use a microphone to call for that carve-out. He can just get on the damn phone. He noted that the filibuster isn't the law, it's a tradition, and we can move on from those. He said he's super glad to hear that Vice President Harris, as she told NPR just yesterday, is talking to senators about filibuster exceptions. She declined to elaborate on what exactly she's saying to those senators, but told NPR, "I believe that of all of the issues that the United States Congress can take up, the right to vote is the right that unlocks all the other rights."
Clyburn talked about Joe Manchin too. Said he really likes him. He said he's had "extensive conversations" with him, and that Manchin has convinced him the filibuster has its place, but added that "I hope that I can convince him that we ought to treat constitutional issues the same way we treat budget issues." Filibusters are fine for some things, he said, but not for "voting and other constitutional issues." Clyburn said he is indeed hopeful Manchin will do "what I know he is capable of doing, and that is the right thing."
Clyburn told Politico that he had told Manchin that "nobody ought to have the right to filibuster my constitutional rights."
So ... maybe!
In Clyburn's Politico interview, he said clearly that if both the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act don't go to President Biden's desk, "Democrats can kiss the majority goodbye." Not only because Republicans are working at warp speed to outlaw voting every place they can, but also, because he said he "can see in a state like Georgia — where people stepped up in January in a way nobody thought they ever would — I can see the disappointment in the voters to the extent that [Senator Raphael] Warnock would not be back."
What we are fairly certain of, right now, is that when Jim Clyburn speaks, Joe Biden and Democrats listen, and that he's working hard behind the scenes to make it happen. And if he's the one who gets it done, who gets them to FUCKING FIX IT, then we will all have him to thank.
You know, just like President Biden has him to thank for that whole "presidency" thing.
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