“This is exactly what Biden needs,” said Adam Jentleson, who was a top aide to the longtime Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and one of the many progressive activists pushing for Breyer to retire before the midterms in case Democrats lose control of the Senate. “The full Democratic coalition worked together to make this happen, and the confirmation process is a chance to further unify and energize all Democrats.”
Democrats rejoice, Republicans cast any new Supreme Court nominee as radical as election-year fight begins
“It’s a necessary but not sufficient condition for the kind of turnaround Democrats will need to survive 2022,” said Adam Jentleson, a veteran party operative who was a top aide to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). “It’s not a panacea, but it has the potential to bring the party together and post a major win, which we need.”
“All I’ll say is that she created the circumstances she now finds herself in,” Tré Easton, the deputy director of Battle Born Collective, a progressive advocacy group, told Vox via text message regarding a potential primary challenge to Sinema. “The people of Arizona deserve better — either from her or another Democrat.”
And last year when asked about the racial history of the filibuster, McConnell responded, “It has no racial history at all. None.”
“For more than a century the filibuster was widely understood to be primarily dedicated to maintaining White supremacy and blocking civil rights,” Adam Jentleson, author of “Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of Democracy,” said at the time.
A spokesperson for McConnell later clarified that the senator “was referring to the origins of the filibuster.”
Critics like the writer and former Senate staffer Adam Jentleson have suggested that the filibuster in fact incentivizes obstructionism, giving the minority more opportunities to sabotage the majority’s agenda and few reasons to try to shape it. But Manchin and Sinema are immune to reality.
Adam Jentleson, a former staffer for the late Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and the author of Kill Switch, a history of the filibuster, was even bolder: “The filibuster is a dead man walking. The only remaining question is who wields the knife and to what end.”
Still, as Democrats head home this week empty-handed, many Democratic activists and operatives are worried about rallying key parts of their coalition, including young people and people of color, who helped send Biden to the White House.
“It is going to be tough to communicate this [loss] to the base,” said Tré Easton, a former Senate policy adviser and deputy director of the Battle Born Collective, a Democratic communications firm. “It is going to be tough to take this to voters who rely on this progress.”
“Reality hit,” said Tre Easton, deputy director of the liberal consulting firm Battle Born Collective. “And as one of the people who was screaming about this back during the primaries, I hate that it took a year of the president trying to pretend that Republicans wanted to be good-faith negotiators to get here.”
Mr. Easton, a former aide to Sen. Patty Murray, Washington Democrat, said the Senate “has changed since then-Sen. Biden served there. Our politics have changed. The political motivations were different.”
“I really don’t think people understand or appreciate the extent to which Barack Obama’s election as president changed how the Republican Party animates itself,” he said. “The Republican Party’s most consistent agenda right now is getting and maintaining power. And President Biden, as many friends as he might have on the other side, is an impediment to that.”
And for years, [Byrd] participated in their strategic filibusters intended to torpedo voting and civil rights legislation, at times using his position as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee to hold tax legislation hostage as the Kennedy and Johnson administrations pursued civil rights, said Adam Jentleson, author of “Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and Crippling of American Democracy.”
“What he did was he made the Senate the epicenter of Massive Resistance, and what was significant about the Southern Manifesto, which laid the groundwork for Massive Resistance to civil rights, is it had the authority of the Senate attached to it. And that gave it enormous clout,” said Jentleson, former deputy chief of staff to late Senate majority leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).
“I can’t recall this kind of pressure coming from party regulars,” said Adam Jentleson, a Democratic strategist who supports eliminating the filibuster and wrote the book “Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy.” “I think it says a lot that there’s this level of feeling right now.”