For the strategy to succeed, however, Schumer will need buy-in from two fellow Democrats — Sens. Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) — who have voiced skepticism or opposition to changing Senate procedures in a way that would be needed to push voting rights priorities across the finish line.

A year ago, you and six other Republican senators had the courage to vote for the conviction of Donald Trump at his second impeachment trial. Since then, there have been very few indications that the Republican party is anything but Trump’s plaything. I believe strongly in the two-party system, and in free and fair elections. Trump’s Big Lie is being used to “justify” egregiously biased voting restrictions in dozens of states. This is a throwback to the kinds of restrictive voting that preceded the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. These laws are even more toxic, perhaps, by wresting final control of election outcomes from the voters and placing it in the hands of partisans.

When we were growing up, we looked at the sham elections in the Soviet Union and took pride in the political back-and-forth our country allowed. Letting state legislatures override the choices of voters will turn the GOP into a carbon-copy of the Politburo.

In the next couple of weeks, Senator Schumer will bring to the Senate floor a motion to suspend the filibuster on the narrow issue of voting rights. I know that you are a partisan, and that is fine with me. Free debate of the issues is our birthright. But in your impeachment vote, you demonstrated that you knew when an intolerable line had been crossed, and you acted honorably and with courage.

In this, your final year in the Senate, I respectfully urge you to step up to the moment and allow voting rights legislation to reach the Senate floor by supporting the voting rights filibuster carve-out.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store