Opinion | How Joe Manchin Could Make the Senate Great Again – The New York Times

Mr. Shapiro, a Senate staffer from 1975 to 1987 and a former counsel for Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, has written extensively about the U.S. Senate, including in two books.

“The United States urgently needs a functioning Senate, which operates, in the words of the former vice president and senator Walter Mondale, as “the nation’s mediator.” Unfortunately, what we have instead is a body that, among other things, cannot pass a bill to create an independent commission to examine the Jan. 6 insurrection or to defend national voting rights.

Senators must confront what has proved to be a debilitating obstacle: the legislative filibuster — more precisely, the minimum 60-vote supermajority requirement for most legislation.

This problem has fallen to Senate Democrats, who hold a narrow majority, and Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia will be a decisive vote for any reform of the arcane rule. Mr. Manchin has defended the need for the filibuster, often citing the legacy of his predecessor Robert C. Byrd.

Mr. Byrd was the keeper of the Senate flame: The longest-serving senator and its foremost parliamentarian and historian, he never stopped believing that the Senate was “the premier spark of brilliance that emerged from the collective intellect of the Constitution’s framers.” ” . . .

Why Did Biden Suddenly Sweep Virginia? Credit Trump, These Voters Say – The New York Times

“. . .  Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia attributed Democratic turnout in the state to deep disgust with the Trump presidency among Democrats and moderate Republicans.

“We have to give tremendous credit to Donald Trump,” Mr. McAuliffe said. “He has been the single biggest driver to the Democratic Party of Virginia. There are a lot of like-minded Republicans who said, ‘I can’t vote for Trump but you got to give me somebody who we can vote for.’ Biden was always at the top of that list.” “