By Shane Harris , AMAC Newsline, January 12, 2022
Embattled President Joe Biden took the stage Tuesday in Georgia in a desperate attempt to salvage Democrats’ latest effort to overhaul the American elections system. But even as Biden urged the Senate to abolish the filibuster – something Biden himself had vocally opposed as a Senator – in order to ram through the so-called “Freedom to Vote Act,” Democrats’ chances of passing the bill appeared to only grow more remote. Not only did numerous high-profile “voting rights” advocates publicly boycott the speech, underscoring the internal divisions rocking the party, but more Democrat senators indicated that they would oppose a vote to end the legislative filibuster or pass a “carve-out” for the voting bill in the Senate, making passage of the bill even more unlikely. Now, facing down the barrel of another embarrassing defeat after the Build Back Better Act flop to end 2021, Democrats are likely wondering where it all went wrong. But just like the Obamacare disaster a decade ago, they may have their old friends in the mainstream media to blame.
For Democrat members of Congress, and particularly those facing tough reelection battles this year, following the far-left direction of Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Joe Biden was never a winning proposition.
But as reported here last week, the media may be the primary culprit responsible for Democrats’ election law radicalism. Here are the four stories the media didn’t just miss but deliberately refused to report – four ways that, in trying to protect the Biden-Schumer-Pelosi forces from reality, the media led Democrats to make key missteps that precipitated this latest disaster for the party.
1) While Demonizing Election Integrity Laws and Voter ID as “Voter Suppression,” The Media Also Refused to Report Critical Polling Data Showing Wide Public Support For Such Measures
Right from the start of Democrats’ efforts to federalize elections in the name of “voting rights,” the media blatantly ignored that certain election integrity measures favored by conservatives and opposed by progressive “voting rights” advocates were broadly popular with the American people. Namely, public polling has consistently shown wide support for policies like Voter ID and bans on ballot harvesting – both of which are incorporated in the Georgia voting law that has become a flashpoint in the debate over election procedures.
A basic examination of any of these common-sense measures, as well as an honest discussion among the left about the support they enjoy among the public, may have produced a bill, like those passed in many Republican states, that both expand voting access and ensures election integrity. A less frenzied media environment may even have enabled Democrats to develop a strategy that kept the party together. The media instead insisted that every part of Democrats’ proposed election law would be widely popular, dismissing any opposition as “voter suppression.”
2) Instead of Carrying Out Its Journalistic Obligation To Be Skeptical of Politicians’ Claims, The Media Led The Effort To Sell The Democrats’ Fake “Voting Rights” Brand.
The notion that the public would support an election overhaul was further sold to elected Democrats by the media by branding the push as a matter of “voting rights.” By slapping the label of something as broadly popular as voting rights on the effort, Democrats suddenly found themselves swept up in the media’s baseless narrative about what the bill would mean for ordinary Americans. By casting the debate as one of “voting rights” vs. “voter suppression” with no middle ground, the media effectively backed elected Democrats into a corner and forced public statements of support for the bill.
The only problem is, much like the label of “healthcare reform” for Obamacare in 2010 and “Russian collusion” during Trump’s presidency, the label of “voting rights” for Democrats’ election law has next to no basis in reality. It sounds great on TV, but taglines don’t fool the majority of voters, even if they do seem to appease progressive activists. As more information about the bill comes to light, Americans are seeing the bill for what it is – an existential threat to the system of state-run elections outlined in the Constitution.
Now, as Democrats are facing the reality of what their proposed election “reforms” actually entail and what they would mean for their home states, many appear to be having second thoughts. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona seemed to realize the potential disaster looming from the beginning and remained firm in their opposition to ending the filibuster – without which the GOP can block debate on the bill and prevent its passage. While both senators are on record as supporting the bill itself, by refusing even a special filibuster carve-out for voting rights legislation, they have effectively killed the bill.
But even as progressive Members of Congress and left-wing activist groups excoriate Manchin and Sinema for their stance, more Democratic senators appear inclined to join them. Just days after Schumer promised a vote to end the filibuster by next Monday, Mark Kelly of Arizona and Jon Tester of Montana indicated that they aren’t on board with changes to the filibuster – doubling the number of Senate Democrats breaking with Schumer over the issue.
It’s significant here that more Senate Democrats are voicing their opposition to changes to the filibuster even as the mainstream media and left-wing groups ramp up the pressure to abolish it. Such a phenomenon is rare among today’s Democratic Party, even for Democrats from purple or red states, and suggests that those senators may sense what the media isn’t telling them – namely, that their position isn’t as popular as the media would have them believe. While they are already on record as supporting the Freedom to Vote Act, opposing changes to the filibuster may be an attempt to save face with constituents back home while avoiding the worst of the attacks from the hard left that would surely come with reversing their support for the bill.
3) The Bill Would Devalue And Perhaps Even Devastate the Importance of the Swing States like New Hampshire, Nevada, Arizona, and Georgia In The Presidential Election Process
More Democrats could soon join Kelly and Tester as they likewise begin to see the potentially devastating consequences of Democrats’ election reform efforts for their home states. As just one example, by enacting a sweeping federal takeover of elections, Democrats would dramatically reduce the influence and importance of individual states in both primary and general elections. This could be potentially devastating for vulnerable incumbents like Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, who faces a tough race this fall. Granite Staters would be unlikely to take too kindly to her support of a bill that threatens New Hampshire’s first in the nation primary status, something that her Republican opponent would be sure to highlight in attack ads and on the debate stage.
It thus appears as if Democrats may not actually be so opposed to abolishing the legislative filibuster per se, but rather abolishing it over this piece of legislation. Aside from the fact that the bill likely raises a number of constitutional issues, it also increasingly appears to be an Obamacare-like issue that could further increase the likelihood of a GOP wave election this fall.
As one veteran GOP TV ad maker put it to me recently, “I can’t wait to make the ad about Maggie Hassan voting to reduce New Hampshire to just another small state in the presidential race. This bill, along with the abolition of the Electoral College, would devastate the state’s historical identity. Voters there really care about it. Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia are swing states too, and people there are not going to want to hear that their senators voted for this”
The question now is if it may be too little too late for a number of vulnerable incumbents. The House has already passed the bill, and GOP challengers are expected to hammer that vote in their messaging this election season, along with the rest of the far-left votes recorded in the House this Congress. As the midterms near and voters consider just how far Democrats were willing to go in their quest for power, any incumbent perceived as being even remotely associated with this effort could find themselves in a particularly unenviable position. Even for the Senate Democrats who have opposed ending the filibuster, voters may ask why they didn’t do more earlier to stop Schumer’s crusade against election integrity.
4. In Suppressing Criticism Of The Bill, The Media Prevented Democrats From Realizing The Strength Of The GOP’s “Rule or Ruin” Narrative About The Democratic Assault On Key Institutions of American Democracy
Above all, however, voters may be unwilling to overlook the fact that Democrats fully invested in an effort to undermine the sacredness of the secret ballot as the latest move in the left’s “rule or ruin” quest to cement permanent control of American democracy or destroy it in the process. Add this transgression to efforts to eliminate the Electoral College, pack the Supreme Court, alter the U.S. Senate and demolish citizenship rights through open borders, and the Democrats emerge as the party that wants to destroy the genius of the U.S. Constitution and its structure of the separation of powers as the key to protecting liberty, order, and personal freedom. Combine this transgression with efforts to indoctrinate schoolchildren, impose socialist economic policies, and a host of other radical efforts to “remake America” – and the resulting image is of an extremist political party that is both determined to hold on to power at all costs and hopelessly out of touch with their own voters.
In short, while Democrats may have hoped that “voting rights” would be the issue du jour to save the party’s slim majorities in 2022, it may just be the issue that seals their fate next November. And that will be the case whether the bill squeaks by in the Senate or fails. Either way – a Dem debacle courtesy of their friends in the media.