Alan Zendell, January 11, 2022
Logjams are fascinating. There’s nothing really holding all those logs together, no ropes or wires or nails. What keeps them all locked in place is the pressure of flowing water holding them in place against an immovable thing like a riverbank. Yet it can be hell to pry them apart. The key is to identify the main pressure points in the jam, specific logs which, if they are removed, will allow the larger mass to move freely.
Of course, this isn’t about logs, it’s about our Congress and our Department of Justice. It’s about the force of Donald Trump’s threats against anyone who opposes him, about Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell’s concerted effort to block anything President Biden tries to accomplish, and about progressive and centrist Democrats who would rather bicker than take on their real mutual enemy. I remember when Democrats and Republicans stood for something beyond tearing each down to attain or hold on to power, when opposing politicians actually proposed new ideas instead of being constantly negative.
Those three logjams have kept our country in stasis for far too long. A nation cannot maintain either its inner strength or its influence in the world if it cannot move forward. Even great white sharks and killer whales must move constantly to keep from drowning. We are now at a truly critical point in our history at which we can no longer allow obstructions to keep us from acting to save ourselves before it’s too late.
Collectively, our leaders must accomplish three critical things in the next few weeks. Most urgent by far, President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer must this week use every weapon in their arsenal to achieve a suspension of the filibuster to pass a strong voting rights bill. That cannot be restated loudly or often enough. The Big Lie that Trump was cheated out of re-election is a cancer that will continue to spread and eventually metastasize until it kills the patient until it is excised. The patient this time is our republic. The malignancy has already infected voting rights in nineteen states, whose legislatures believe that extreme gerrymandering and partisan control of elections is a better approach than adhering to our Constitution.
There has long been a pattern in the Senate to “carve out” exceptions to the filibuster when something critical needed to be done immediately, but while that sounds constructive, it has generally been done only in support of the hyper-partisanship that is strangling us. Biden must do more than get a voting rights bill passed, though that will remain number one until it is done. Democrats, if they expect to have any chance to remain relevant after the midterms must agree on new Senate rules that allows critical legislation to be passed and show voters that they can come together and act instead of engaging in petty squabbles over individual influence.
I’m pointing directly at Bernie Sanders, Joe Manchin, and Kyrsten Sinema. What the hell is the matter with you people? You were elected to respect and support the Constitution ahead of all else. Are you really willing to let your intra-party power struggles default to a Trump-dominated Republican Party? Do you really believe our democracy can survive that? None of you deserve to be re-elected if you allow your disagreements to enable Mitch McConnell and Josh Hawley to dominate the Senate.
All this assumes that the logjam that is Donald Trump’s extortion racket is unbrdeakable. It’s not. As DOJ and several state governments begin to display evidence of Trump’s gangster tactics, in both in his business life and his actions as President, true Conservative Republicans will begin to peel away. Those Republicans see the coming week as critical also, because they believe in the Constitution. We have already seen Mitt Romney (R-UT,) Lisa Murkowski (R-AK,) Roger Marshall (R-KS,) Mike Rounds (R-SD,) and even Mitch McConnell (R-KY) acknowledge that Trump’s Big Lie is itself a dangerous fraud. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Mike Lee (R-UT), while they have not publicly debunked the Big Lie, are on record as saying they’ve seen no evidence to support it, and both voted to certify Biden’s election.
Republican Senators know a day of reckoning is upon them, as Schumer has said they will have to vote in front of all the media on both the filibuster and the two voting rights bills before the Senate no later than January 17th. That’s six days from now, and they will all have to decide whether they’re more afraid of Trump, the sociopath or of voters who by a large majority want to preserve democracy. It only requires three or four more to break with Trump and loosen the logjam, permitting the nation to move past him.