What’s really going on with this Lisa Murkowski filibuster news

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In a development that should be getting a lot of attention but isn’t, NBC News has quietly reported that Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski is voting to break the filibuster on voting rights. This alone won’t make it pass. But it’s seemingly a step toward Murkowski eventually agreeing to exempt voting rights from the filibuster – at which point the Democrats would only need Manchin or Sinema. It’s worth noting that Manchin and Murkowski are close.

Already, observers are lining up to offer doomsday takes on this. “But I don’t trust Murkowski!” That’s irrelevant. Her odds of reelection in Alaska actually go up if the voting rights act passes (she’s probably the only Senate Republican for whom this is the case). So of course she’ll end up doing whatever she can to make sure it passes. She also just handed Manchin bipartisan cover, which he always covets.

“But we have to pass voting rights legislation by this time tomorrow or we’re all dead! False. It merely needs to pass by, say, mid 2022. No matter how many times the media tries to keep you glued to the screen by insisting otherwise, voting rights legislation is a long game, not some 24 hour countdown clock until we all turn into a popsicle.

“But Murkowski is just doing this as some kind of McConnell-led secret double cross!” No. Nothing works that way. Floating baseless convoluted conspiracy theories doesn’t help things. McConnell doesn’t have a magic wand anyway. And Murkowski of all people isn’t beholden to McConnell.

The timing is also notable. Murkowski has decided to make herself the central focus of the voting rights bill, even as Manchin is in the final stages of caving on infrastructure. It distracts the public’s focus from the fact that he’s caving, which is what he wants.

None of this means the voting rights bill is in the bag. Not even close. It’ll still require all of you to continue placing public pressure on people like Manchin, to eventually get him to cave on it, just as you forced him to cave on infrastructure.

Keep in mind that if you’re just sitting around yelling things like “it’ll never happen” or “Manchin won’t cave no matter what” or other such defeatist hysteria, then you’re hurting us. That sentiment just lets the worst people involved off the hook.

You want voting rights legislation to pass? Start by deciding you’re going to make it happen, then keep pressuring the people involved until you gradually wear them down. It’s how we made infrastructure happen, even as the defeatists always kept insisting it was “doomed.”

   

You’re also going to have to work harder than ever to ignore the media pundits, who are reacting to the Murkowski good news by ignoring it and are instead ramping up their doomsday predictions about how voting rights legislation will never pass. The better the news, the more negative their predictions. Always. And it’s your job to tune them out.

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