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Biden explicitly endorses going nuclear over voting rights


Well, fine as far as it goes:

President Biden endorsed changing Senate rules to pass new voting rights protections during a speech in Atlanta on Tuesday, the most significant step he has taken to pressure lawmakers to act on an issue he has called the biggest test of America’s democracy since the Civil War.

Mr. Biden did not go so far as to call for full-scale elimination of the filibuster, a Senate tradition that allows the minority party to block legislation that fails to garner 60 votes, but said he supported an exception to the filibuster in the case of voting rights. Either endeavor has slim chances of winning support from all 50 Senate Democrats, who are already facing threats of retaliation from Republicans in the chamber.

But Mr. Biden, recounting a swath of restrictive voting measures in place across the country, said Republicans were standing on the wrong side of a moral imperative to protect “the heart and soul” of American democracy.

“As an institutionalist, I believe that the threat to our democracy is so grave that we must find a way to pass these voting rights bills,” Mr. Biden said as he delivered remarks at the Atlanta University Center Consortium, which comprises four historically Black colleges and universities. “Let the majority prevail, and if that bare minimum is blocked, we have no option but to change the Senate rules, including getting rid of the filibuster for this.”

Will this move Manchin and Sinema? Almost certainly not. Will it even appease people who blame the president for the choices made by legislators he has no actual leverage over? Nah, you can always claim be should have bully pulpited harder like President Michael Douglas did. Might it have a longer-term impact on the party by mainstreaming undermining the filibuster? Perhaps, and there’s no real downside either, so might as well.

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