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Assault on democracy in the Senate

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If Donald Trump’s Republican Party is engaged in a full-frontal assault on democracy, against minorities’ right to vote, and against the protection of this right for their own citizens, can anyone expect, then, that they would want to legalize millions of undocumented immigrants, especially if said legalization confers the right to vote as soon as they become citizens?

The rules of Republican political behavior in these times, concretely since the Trump era, would indicate immediately that no, any of that which signifies support for specific minorities, whether in public policies or just in debate proposals, is and will be rejected immediately by this political wall of stone that is today’s Republican Party.

To be blunt, if Republicans conspire against their own citizens, can anyone expect they would collaborate with Democrats to support the legalization of undocumented immigrants? The answer is as absurdly obvious as the still permanent presence among their ranks of rhetoric perfectly learned from their number one mentor, Donald Trump.

For example on Tuesday, Republicans blocked the commencement of debate on a bill that seeks to counteract the laws of Republican-led legislatures who are trying to suppress minorities’ votes, all sustained on the farce that the 2020 elections, which Trump lost, were “plagued with fraud.”

The Republican premise is simple: if a Democrat wins, it’s because there was “fraud,” especially because they have a greater percentage of support among minority voters. But if a Republican wins, everything is in order.

The “For the People Act,” among other things, was asking just for fifteen days of early voting and voting by mail, on top of imposing campaign finance limits and, especially, requiring tax returns from presidential candidates. Does the reason Republicans rejected debating this bill sound familiar? The U.S. people, of course, are still awaiting detailed and long-postponed information about the tax returns of former President Trump.

On the other hand, if one thing remains clear after this vote it is that bipartisanship is mortally wounded, if not yet expired. In this sense, the Democrats have before themselves the major dilemma of looking for a way to reform the filibuster—that mechanism by which the minority can block measures on the floor by requiring sixty votes—if they intend to advance their agenda, not only on this measure to protect the right to vote but on different topics including, of course, immigration reform.

But the Democrats do not have fifty votes in light of the decision of Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, from West Virginia and Arizona, respectively, to defend the filibuster in its current form. One has to ask whether these two “Democratic” chameleons want to maintain their positions…but with the backing of another base of voters, let’s say more conservative ones.

In fact, what Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said about the result wasn’t too far-fetched, in the sense that the vote was not about a concrete policy, but about whether the Senate should even debate the right to vote. The Republican rejection proved what Schumer himself lamented, saying that Trump, “with his despicable lies, has lit a fire beneath Republican state legislatures, and they have launched the most sweeping voter suppression efforts in at least, in at least 80 years.”

Because that is precisely what the Republicans’ negative vote is about: oppression of the minority vote. You don’t have to think too hard. What’s going on among their ranks is not about clean politics, but a despicable act of evident electoral discrimination.

Therefore, while the calendar advances, at the legislative level there’s little for the Joe Biden administration to show, especially in the runup to the mid-term elections in 2022. It is said that there is no worse fight than the one that hasn’t been had, and this applies to the Democrats if, once again, they hide behind the excuse that “Republicans blocked us,” even if it is true.

It is already more than proven that Republicans don’t give a damn about bipartisanship. Their agenda is blocking Biden’s proposals in every area and taking back control of Congress in 2022, especially the Senate. It’s more than proven that Republicans do not govern for the country, but for the Trump base that can keep them in power. And the worst part about it is there is a sector of the U.S. population that seems to not understand the gravity of these Republican actions against democracy.

Therefore it is necessary to unmask every intention of the return of “Trumpism,” and doing it quickly is urgently required by human history before it becomes too late.

Therein, of course, lies the importance of Democrats taking the bull by the horns and showing that they are able to go to the mat to advance measures in Congress that have support from a majority of U.S. Americans, and of the base that launched their victory.

To read the Spanish version of this article click here.