Today, President Joe Biden endorsed changing Senate rules to pass voting rights legislation at his speech in Georgia. Battle Born Collective Deputy Director Tré Easton released the following statement in response:
Tré Easton, the deputy director of Battle Born Collective, a progressive group, told this column that the Tuesday trip from Biden and Harris was “necessary.”
But, Easton said, “I would add that it is a little late in the game around this specific issue. If we had seen this kind of intensity this time a year ago, we would be in a different place in this conversation.”
Not long ago, changing the filibuster was embraced primarily by the party’s progressive wing. Now, the idea has become mainstream, and Schumer’s plan is emblematic of the shift.
“I think Schumer has always been willing to be where the caucus is,” said Tré Easton, a senior adviser for Battle Born Collective, a group dedicated to advancing progressive policies.
“Among those biggest threats, specifically, is voter suppression at the ballot box. ‘By the time you got to where Congress is counting the state’s electoral votes, it’s too late,’ Easton said. ‘The Electoral Count Act is something that absolutely should be modernized. But that’s not the heart of the problem.'”
Tré Easton, a senior adviser to the progressive Battle Born Collective, said neither group of progressives could be held to fault for their vote because of the role of Mr Manchin and Ms Sinema.
“But also, the thing that we don’t really talk about is that, as badly as Manchin and Sinema wanted the bipartisan bill to get passed, they were also very willing to let it die and blame progressives for killing it,” he said. “And I think, for progressives who voted for the bipartisan bill, that’s them voting their district, voting their conscience. And for folks who voted against the bipartisan bill, that’s them voting their district, voting their conscience.”
“Former staffer Adam Jentleson, who runs the communications group Battle Born Collective with fellow Reid alum Rebecca Katz, told me that knowing how and when to fight was one of Reid’s biggest advantages in Washington politics. Where other politicians were inclined to avoid conflict and the bad press that could come with it, Reid was willing to take hits to get ahead.
‘To get an advantage strategically, you sometimes have to take hits to take a position that would eventually yield a strategic advantage,’ Jentleson said.
“In his last speech to the Senate, he spoke about no longer feeling ashamed of his background. Over the course of his career, he realized that the hardships he’d faced and overcome weren’t vulnerabilities—they were strengths. Harry Reid, the guy from Searchlight, was the man, the mentor, the leader he was because of them.
He was one of a kind, and he’ll be forever missed.”
“It’s not an accident that an enormous crop of people in Washington who are not only progressives but extremely effective people earned their stripes in Reid’s office — Adam Jentleson, Ari Rabin-Havt, Kristen Orthman, Josh Orton and Faiz Shakir among others have all gone on to do important work for the offices of Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and various progressive organizations.”
“How could Washington be any more dysfunctional?” his former aide Rebecca Kirszner Katz said in an email. Katz is a co-founder of the Battle Born Collective, a group that helps advance progressive policies.
“Harry Reid was not quite a progressive, but he was a realist,” she wrote. “He knew what was fair. And the filibuster ain’t it.”
“Progressives gravitated to him because he knew how to lead,” said Katz, who was Reid’s communications director from 2005 to 2006. “He didn’t back down from a fight. He understood the Senate better than anybody. And he knew what was possible if you tried.”
“Senator Harry Reid, who died a few weeks after his 82nd birthday, possessed a quality unique among politicians: profound comfort in his own skin. In his personal life, this brought him peace of mind. In politics, it was practically a superpower.”
“Through the way Mr. Reid wielded power on the Senate floor—including by exercising near total command over which measures received votes and which didn’t—he ‘took control far beyond where even [onetime Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson] had been able to push it, and it changed the institution,’ according to “Kill Switch,” a 2021 book written by Mr. Reid’s former deputy chief of staff, Adam Jentleson.”