American government expert Norm Ornstein offered a roadmap for Democrats to find success in a New York Times column titled, "How Democrats Can Outwit Mitch McConnell."
Ornstein noted the "remarkably encouraging" support by 17 Republicans for the bipartisan infrastructure framework, noting even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) voted to advance the legislation.
"Of course, this is the same Mitch McConnell who said of Mr. Biden, '100 percent of our focus is on stopping this new administration,'" condeded Ornstein. "The same Mr. McConnell who made sure Donald Trump's impeachment did not result in conviction, who filibustered the bipartisan plan for a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 violent insurrection until it died, who kept all of his Republican senators in line against the American Rescue Plan early in the Biden presidency."
Ornstein suggested the bipartisan vote may signal even more obstructionism is coming.
"You don't have to be a Machiavellian to understand another reason Mr. McConnell was willing to hand Mr. Biden a victory on infrastructure: By looking reasonable on this popular plan, claiming a mantle of the kind of bipartisanship that pleases Democrats like Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and that mollifies suburban moderate Republicans in key states, Mr. McConnell can more easily rally his troops behind their goal of obstruction and delay for every other important Democratic priority, including the blockbuster reconciliation bill, as well as voting rights and election reform," he wrote.
Ornstein argued that reform to Senate rules can flip the script on McConnell.
"If this bill is signed into law, the Democrats will still need to face hard reality: This will be their last major bipartisan piece of legislation," Ornstein predicted. "To achieve anything else will require a change in the Senate rules. It does not have to be elimination of the filibuster, or what Senator Manchin would define as a "weakening" of the rule. It will require a way to put the burden on Mr. McConnell and the minority instead of where it is now, entirely on Mr. Schumer and the majority."
You don’t have to be a Machiavellian to understand why McConnell was willing to hand Biden a victory on infrastruct… https://t.co/TpCIf1Sshi— New York Times Opinion (@New York Times Opinion) 1628288720.0