Progressive Democrats are trying to remain optimistic after hearing that Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia will not be supporting the For the People Act, a bill that would expand voting rights in every state.
“I still see momentum. Joe Manchin has voted with Joe Biden 100% up until now,” said Mara Dolan of Left of Center.
But with Manchin also committed to leaving the Senate filibuster intact, many progressives are struggling to find a path forward on most aspects of their ambitious agenda, including a wealth tax, the Green New Deal and the minimum wage hike.
“It’s alarming. It’s frustrating,” Dolan said.
Still, the progressive activist is not giving up. She said that Manchin is not rejecting many of the bills on the merits, but because as, the senator said, “Right now, basically we need to be bipartisan.”
Dolan pointed out it does not take 50% of Senate Republicans for a bill to be considered bipartisan: “There is good cause to believe that there may be one or two Republican votes and that’s all Joe Manchin is going to need.”
But it will take 10 Republicans to break a filibuster, a Senate tradition some Democrats are pushing to end.
“This is really going to heat up. We haven’t even really started yet. This is just the beginning,” progressive activist Susan Labandibar said.
Labandibar is with the Swing Blue Alliance, which recently made 13,000 phone calls patching constituents in swing states directly into their senator’s offices. They have released 50,000 postcards in New Hampshire alone.
“People have woken up and they did not go back to sleep after we elected Biden. They are still fighting,” Labandibar said.
Progressives say there needs to be less talk about procedure and more about the bills’ content — they’re confident that most Americans are with their agenda when they know the details.