The vote was 49/51. The majority blocked the minority.
Even if Democrats had nuked the filibuster beforehand, they would have lost the vote.
But I suppose it was inevitable that progressives would arrive at the view that their position is intrinsically the majority position, whatever the Senate roll call or the polls might say.
.@SenWarren: “I believe in democracy, and I don’t believe the minority should have the ability to block things that the majority wants to do. That’s not in the Constitution. […] It’s time to get rid of the filibuster.” https://t.co/2tBTIfvv2q pic.twitter.com/UwZuKxrotg
— The Hill (@thehill) May 11, 2022
If you want to be charitable to Warren, you might assume that she’s making a point here about Senate representation. She knows that a majority of senators opposed yesterday’s bill, but pro-choice Senate Democrats represent a larger share of the population than pro-life Senate Republicans (plus Joe Manchin) do. The will of the popular majority was thwarted, supposedly, when Schumer’s bill failed.
But if that’s the complaint, she simply objects to the nature of the Senate writ large. Giving each state an equal number of senators irrespective of population was designed to ensure that less populous areas maintain some influence over the federal government. If she wants to turn the Senate into the House, she should say that forthrightly.
And even on her own terms, she’s wrong. Schumer’s bill didn’t reflect the will of the majority of Americans. A bill that genuinely did nothing more than codify Roe could fairly claim to enjoy majority support but Schumer’s bill went further, which is why Manchin ended up bailing on it. Legislation that would effectively allow abortion up to the moment of birth is a 20 percent proposition in the U.S.
So, really, if we want to ponder the Senate’s structural deficiencies this morning, we should start by asking why this vote went 49/51 instead of 20/80.
Warren does understand the real problem here. “It’s hard, we have the responsibility of being in the majority, without being able to count on all of the votes in our column. And that’s tough,” she told reporters afterward. They might have passed this abomination if they had one extra Democratic seat in the Senate to offset Manchin — but also possibly not, as some purple-state Dems hide behind him on votes like these. The fact that this bill was doomed made voting yes relatively painless for Mark Kelly in Arizona. Would he have voted the same way if his had been the deciding vote?
Dems vowed last night that more bills are coming. They started with maximalist legislation to appease their base…
I’ve sat in on 2 focus groups of infrequent Dem voters this week who, as one woman said, want to see Biden & Dems “fight fire w/ fire.” If Dems want to get them out in ‘22, they need to show these voters fight and executive actions.
— Amy Walter (@amyewalter) May 11, 2022
…but now they’re going to shift to narrower matters that are more politically painful for the GOP:
“Let’s start with the bill that fully protects women who need access to abortion,” Warren said Tuesday. “Starting by chopping down on that is the wrong direction. Women deserve full citizenship, full liberty, and our bill tomorrow will provide exactly that.”…
Holding votes on even narrower guarantees of abortion rights is also under consideration, several Democrats said — such as measures guaranteeing access to abortion in cases of rape or incest or in cases where the health of the mother is at risk. But many said they were wary of moving in that direction before the Supreme Court issues its final ruling, and some acknowledged privately that holding “show votes” on narrower bills could actually benefit Republicans by allowing some senators to distance themselves from the GOP’s most conservative elements…
One option that Blumenthal and some other Democrats are floating is to hold votes protecting other rights besides abortion that have been secured by Supreme Court decisions rooted in the same legal theory as Roe — rights that are not enumerated in the Constitution but have been inferred from the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. Those include, among other things, the right to contraception and same-sex marriage.
That makes more sense. They might as well throw the right of gays to have sex in there, as that’s another potential target for the Court under the “deeply rooted’ standard articulated in Alito’s draft. Do gays have a constitutional right of privacy that protects them from being thrown in jail if they’re caught in the act or no? Let’s find out which senators are libertarian and which are integralists at heart.
As for Warren, she’s been more outspoken than usual lately. Midterm strategizing, student-debt forgiveness, now abortion — she’s out in front of the progressive parade, leaving political media to wonder what she’s up to. Long-term, she may be hoping to replace Biden as nominee in 2024 if he decides he can’t run again. Good luck to Dems on shrinking those GOP margins in rural areas running a hard-left Harvard professor at the top of the ticket. Near-term, she may sense an opportunity to position herself as the unofficial leader of the American left as 80-year-old Bernie Sanders slows down. With the GOP poised to take one or both houses of Congress in the fall, Warren will soon be able to speak freely in support of progressive causes without fear of disrupting Biden’s agenda by doing so. That agenda will be kaput thanks to Republicans so she might as well use 2023 and 2024 to signal her ideological purity to her base instead.
At least she knows what was in the bill that was voted on yesterday. I’ll leave you with the dumbest member of the Senate seeming totally disinterested in the details.
Victor Blackwell: “Is this a bill to preserve [abortion] access as it is today..or is the goal of the bill to expand it?”
Hirono: “We can have all kinds of arguments getting into the weeds about this..”
Blackwell: “It’s not getting into the weeds..it’s what the legislation is.” pic.twitter.com/FbjznI46OW
— Washington Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) May 11, 2022