Earlier today, Joe Manchin began the process of caving on voting rights legislation by offering up a list of revisions to HR1 that would make him open to voting for it. That still left the question of whether Manchin would cave on the filibuster. But now it turns out he’s open to that as well.
In an odd-sounding but nonetheless encouraging development, MSNBC and others are reporting that Manchin has said he’s open to dropping the filibuster threshold from 60 votes to 55 votes. Under the current setup, this would allow legislation to pass with the support of five Republicans instead of the current ten Republicans.
This may not sound like much on its own, given that it might be as hard to find five Republican Senators to vote for something as it is to find ten of them. But the specifics don’t matter. The point is that Manchin – who as recently as yesterday was insisting that the filibuster was sacred and he’d never be willing to even slightly alter it – is now talking about fundamentally altering it.
If nothing else, this proves what I’ve been saying all along – which is that you don’t just take someone like Manchin at his word. He’s a politician. Whatever he says on any given day, it’s just posturing. It’s the position he’s hoping he can make stick. Manchin’s public position on the filibuster, which he insisted would never change, is now changing. That’s proof that he knows he has to cave. If we continue to place the proper amount of pressure on him, he’ll have to continue to caving until it reaches a point where we get what we need.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report