Senator Angus King, I-Maine, has been one of the most outspoken members of Congress on the perilous state of the United States’s democratic system. While the Biden administration has avoided emphasizing the crisis — even as legislators in states like Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin have sought to make it more difficult to vote while putting more control over election oversight and certification in the hands of themselves and other partisan actors — King has tried to draw attention to the stakes.
I talked to Senator King about this, the Freedom to Vote Act, and his effort to convince holdout Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to support filibuster reform package for this story in this week’s Maine Sunday Telegram. “I am very reluctant to make any change [to the filibuster], but I draw the line at democracy itself,” he said. “If we allow the structure of our democracy to be modified to the point where democracy itself is diminished, we’re sunk.” Republicans have prevented the voting rights bill from even being debated, with every one save Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voting against.
I reached out to Maine’s other senator, Republican Susan Collins, but she declined to be interviewed, sending a statement instead that described post-1/6 concerns about democratic backsliding in the U.S. hyperbole and “harmful alarmism.”