John Harwood for CNN:
Along with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Manchin continues to publicly hold the line against steps to weaken the filibuster, much less abolish it. They insist filibusters force Senate majorities to seek bipartisan consensus rather than simply steamroll opponents.
But Manchin’s inability to attract Republican support for his voting rights bill underscores how, more typically, the filibuster halts action on contentious issues altogether. That’s why his Democratic colleagues keep trying.”You have a consensus among Senate Democrats that our democracy is at risk, and that does create an opportunity for reform,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, one of those involved. “The verdict is still out.”
Their goal, propelled in part by the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, is to bring the matter to a head in January. Manchin’s bill represents the most important step Democrats could take to counter moves by Republican-controlled state legislatures to curb voting procedures and tilt election administration in their favor in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s 2020 defeat.
“I think it’s a 30-40% chance that we’ll get something significant,” said Norm Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
As it happens, those Democratic liberals in 1957 ended up winning limited voting rights protections without changing the filibuster. That’s because Johnson, straddling his alliance with fellow Southerners and his ambition to win national favor for a later presidential run, engineered passage of a modest civil rights bill.