“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.”
“I think that he has been dealt a very, very hard hand to play and has done a decent job in navigating that dynamic, but there have been some big moments where Schumer could have been forced to turn on the screws, he did not,” said Tré Easton, a former aide to Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.) who is now deputy director for Battle Born Collective, a progressive advocacy organization.
Another idea is bringing back the Mr. Smith-style talking filibuster […] But that won’t get at the central problem, says Tré Easton, a former staffer for Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington and deputy director of the group Battle Born Collective.
“We’re still going to have a body that’s broken, that does not work,” Easton says. “If you win the most seats, you should be able to govern.”
“There does not seem to be an appreciation for the urgency of the moment,” said Tré Easton, a senior adviser for Battle Born Collective, a progressive group that is pushing for overturning the filibuster to enable Democrats to pass a series of their priorities. “It’s sort of, ‘OK, what comes next?’ Is there something that’s going to happen where voters can say, yes, my life is appreciatively more stable than it was two years ago.”
Today, Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema reiterated her opposition to filibuster reform, even as the archaic Senate rule obstructs the protection of voting rights that she claims to support. Battle Born Collective Deputy Director Tré Easton released the following statement in response: