Sinema went from Green Party candidate to a curiously enthusiastic defender of the filibuster based on what is, at best, a rough and deeply flawed grasp of Senate history and procedure. In the process, she appears perfectly willing to throw Arizona Democrats under the bus.
There’s two options at this point: either Sinema has some insight that eludes everyone else, or she’s playing politics worse than any senator in recent memory. Manchin is from a state Trump won by 30+. She’s from a state Biden won - and where credible primary challengers exist.
Maybe, but that would probably be a mistake. With her voting record she can’t win a GOP primary in AZ for dogcatcher. Nor is she at all likely to win statewide as an independent - she doesn’t have anything g close to the stature or name ID. It’s a very curious case.
Legit the most plausible explanation I’ve heard so far.

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More from @AJentleson

10 Jun
Since we’re all about gangs this week, please step into my TED talk about how the Gang of 14 was one of Democrats’ worst strategic mistakes of the past few decades.

The year is 2005. Republicans really, really want to go nuclear to confirm Bush’s judges. Like, really want to.
Bush, Cheney and Frist were all eager to go nuclear. The floor general for the fight was a young comer named Addison Mitch McConnell. In May, on the Senate floor, McConnell announced that the “Senate is prepared to restore the Senate’s traditions and precedents,” and go nuclear. Image
To lay the intellectual groundwork for the effort, former Baker counsel and all-around Senate guru Martin Gold penned a law review article dubbing it the “constitutional option.” It’s good! Makes a strong case the Framers would’ve opposed the filibuster 😊…
Read 34 tweets
10 Jun
Wait I thought there were all these senators hiding behind Manchin and Sinema
Another shrinking violet, hiding behind Manchin and Sinema smh
Another one! All these senators trying to play it coy by [checks notes] reaching out to the reporter after the interview to be 100% clear that she does, in fact, support reform
Read 6 tweets
6 May
The Senate was designed to give the minority input, but the Framers rejected a supermajority threshold because it gives the minority a veto. Madison wanted the minority to have a voice, Calhoun wanted a veto. Manchin is defending Calhoun's vision of the Senate, not Madison's.
Madison called majority rule the “republican principle” and said that a supermajority threshold would cause “the fundamental principle of free government to be reversed. It would be no longer the majority that would rule: the power would be transferred to the minority.”
Hamilton said that while you may think a supermajority threshold promotes compromise “what at first sight may seem a remedy, is, in reality, a poison.” The “real operation” of a supermajority threshold is to “embarrass the administration, to destroy the energy of the government.”
Read 4 tweets
24 Mar
This is one of my favorite parts of the book: in 1957, Nixon teamed up with leading Senate liberals like Hubert Humphrey to try to nuke the filibuster to pass Eisenhower's strong civil rights bill. LBJ helped Russell & the white supremacist southern bloc defeat them. Then...
With the filibuster untouched, LBJ spent the summer of 1957 gutting Eisenhower's strong civil rights bill, making it so toothless that it was acceptable to Russell and the segregationists, who dropped their threat of a filibuster and let it pass. Of course...
Strom Thurmond waged his famous 24-hour filibuster against the 1957 bill. But he waited until LBJ had defanged it & until the rest of the southern bloc had signaled they wouldn't filibuster it. Thurmond's fellow white supremacist senators were furious at him for showing them up..
Read 8 tweets
23 Mar
It's quite literally a Jim Crow relic. The filibuster as we know it today, with the ability to impose a de facto supermajority threshold, was forged by self-avowed white supremacist senators during the Jim Crow era, for the express purpose of blocking civil rights bills.
When I say self-avowed white supremacists, I mean that literally, too. Here's Sen. Richard Russell, the chief practitioner, defender & innovator of the filibuster from the 1930s-1960s: "any southern white man worth a pinch of salt would give his all to maintain white supremacy.”
Or perhaps Senator Sasse would prefer to explain Senator Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi, another leading practitioner of the filibuster during the Jim Crow era and author of the book, "Take Your Choice: Separation or Mongrelization."
Read 5 tweets
12 Mar
Dems should pay close attention to the elation they're feeling after passing the ARP combined with the off-balance defensiveness Republicans are showing. We should draw these threads together and ask: what happens if we just keep passing popular policies on a majority-vote basis?
One thing that might happen is, voters will start associating Dems with popular policies. Instead of explaining that we passed some muddle of a bill because we had to sacrifice good policy to secure a laughably small number of GOP votes, we can say we passed the popular thing!
Another thing that might happen is that some Rs might tire of being on the wrong side of very popular things. It's one thing when McConnell holds everyone together to defeat a big bill - that's a net gain for Rs. But what's the gain from voting against a bill that polls at 75%?
Read 5 tweets

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