Even as Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was insisting that he was somehow still in control of the Senate, Palmer Report urged everyone to simply call McConnell’s bluff and get behind the hard charging new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Sure enough, Schumer found a way to make McConnell realize his bluff wasn’t working, and McConnell caved.
And so now the rules of the Senate will be entirely in the hands of the fifty Democratic Senators. Manchin and Sinema are still publicly saying they don’t want to get rid of the filibuster for now, but so be it. McConnell dropped his demand for a requirement that the filibuster be kept intact. This means that the first time some idiot like Ted Cruz tries a filibuster, Manchin and Sinema can reverse course, saying they were left with no choice. It’ll allow them to look reasonable in the eyes of the moderate voters in their home states, thus ensuring their reelection. It’s simply how things work.
Even as the filibuster conversation will play out in the coming days or weeks, the reality is that Senate Democrats can ram through just about anything they want, just by adding some budgetary component to the legislation so they have an excuse to use budget reconciliation to pass it with just 50 votes (with VP Kamala Harris as the tiebreaker).
The point is that Chuck Schumer and the Senate Democrats have won, without having to formally give up anything to McConnell, beyond letting him save a little artificial face. All we had to do was give Schumer the room to use his leverage, which he did, and now the Democrats can do anything they want.
This is what winning looks like. We should get used to it, embrace it, crave it, seek more of it. Winning requires strategizing, and getting behind our Democratic elected leaders so their leverage increases – all while resisting the urge to inaccurately attack our leaders, which only weakens their position while they’re trying to negotiate. If we’re smart with our activism, these next few years can be among the most productive we’ve ever had.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report