The host, Don Lemon, pushed him on the matter, asking if protecting the filibuster was more important than protecting voting rights. Biden replied that he wanted to pass the voting law, but insisted that he also wanted to make sure that we “don’t just bring all the Democrats with us; we bring Republicans I know – know better. You know better. And what I don’t want to do is get involved in the discussion for the moment as to whether this is just about the filibuster or not. “We all see how terrible that ended.
Biden ended the exchange by saying, “The American public, you can’t stop them from voting.” That statement was obviously wrong. You can put in place effective legal barriers to access to ballot papers. Even a cursory reading of American history reveals a long legacy of extremely effective voter suppression and intimidation.
In that interview with CNN, Biden defended the filibuster to the end, saying the reason to protect it was not to “wreck” the entire Congress and avoid the possibility that “nothing” would ever “be done” .
Three months later, at another CNN City Hall, Biden finally said he was open to “radically” changing the filibuster, but he was cautious and explained why he wanted to avoid getting fully involved in the filibuster fight:
“If I actually get into the filibuster debate right now, I’ll lose three – at least three votes right now to get what I need to do on the economic side of the equation – foreign policy.” “
Now that Senator Joe Manchin has torpedoed the spending bill, at least for now, Biden finally has went on to the right to vote.
The signal that all of this sends is that the protection of voting rights – and with it the fullness of our democracy – was not the case that Problem, rather one Problem, a minor problem.