Former Senate Aide Blasts Manchin and GOP as “Enemies of Democracy”

Former Senate aide Brent Budowsky, who was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), criticized Senator Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and the Republican Party in an op-ed for The Hill, referring to them as “enemies of democracy” who are blocking the Senate from passing crucial voting rights legislation.

With American democracy under fierce attack by enemies of democracy who engage in aggressive attacks against voting rights, honest election procedures, and honest vote counting in state after state — their most powerful ally and most valuable player on their Republican team is Sen. Joe Manchin,” Budowsky writes.

Manchin, by opposing major legislation co-sponsored by every other Democratic senator and vowing to support every Republican filibuster against any proposal backed by President Biden, encourages and effectively supports every Republican attack against voting rights and democracy, every Republican attempt to elect Republicans by corrupting voting and election practices in countless states, and every Republican attempt to defeat the entire legislative program of President Biden,” he continues.

Budowsky stresses that Manchin is better served in his self-prescribed crusade to reduce partisanship in the Senate if he does “not castrate the Senate’s ability to prevent the hyper-partisan Republican election abuses in one state after another, and support every hyper-partisan filibuster from Republicans who want to destroy the Biden presidency.”

Budowsky’s op-ed comes after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urged the Senate to approve the For the People Act, a bill that would constitute the largest expansions of voter protections yet, dismissing the objections of Manchin, who vowed not to vote for the measure on partisan grounds and highlighted problems with the Democrats‘ ability to pass major legislation with a razor-thin majority.

The For the People Act “must become law in order to respect the sanctity of the vote, which is the basis of our democracy,” Pelosi wrote in a Dear Colleague letter to House Democrats.

In her letter, Pelosi noted that the legislation would reduce “the role of big, dark special interest money in politics,” contribute to “Stopping the voter suppression and protecting the vote of tens of millions of Americans” and end “political gerrymandering by establishing redistricting commissions.”

Manchin made clear earlier this week that he would not vote for the legislation, calling it a “partisan” bill.

Today’s debate about how to best protect our right to vote and to hold elections, however, is not about finding common ground, but seeking partisan advantage,” he wrote in an op-ed for the Charleston Gazette-Mail. “Whether it is state laws that seek to needlessly restrict voting or politicians who ignore the need to secure our elections, partisan policymaking won’t instill confidence in our democracy — it will destroy it.”