Getting rid of gridlock in the Senate, maybe? We have the power to change things, friends. Let me offer an example -- Many of us worked for ratification of the disability rights treaty, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by the Senate. In December 2012, the last time the treaty was brought up for a vote, we lost by 6 votes. We needed 67, not 51, to secure ratification of the treaty.
In the new Congress, that will take over in January 2017, we will once again try to get the treaty ratified by the Senate. The first step will be the treaty being voted on by of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In every day language, ratification means something is a good idea, so let's do it. Voting for ratification means a senator likes the idea. Voting against ratification means a senator doesn't like it. The House of Representatives has no role in treaty ratification.
All Democrat senators voted for ratification of the CRPD in 2012.
Well, as it happens, several Republicans up for re-election are on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In 2012 some of these senators voted for the disability treaty -- McCain (AZ) and Kirk (IL). Some did not -- Rubio (FL), Paul (KY), and Johnson (WI). So we need to see that ANYONE who supported ratification gets our vote if we live in that state.
Twenty-four incumbent Republicans are up for re-election. Here are the Republican senators, up for re-election, who voted for the disability treaty in 2012 -- Ayotte (NH), Kirk (IL), McCain (AZ), and Murkowski (AK). Republican Senator Collins (ME), not up for re-election this year, voted for the treaty. Three other Republican senators, no longer in the Senate, also voted for the treaty -- Brown (MA), Snow (ME), and Lugar (IN). Bottom line of this historical snapshot is the treaty failed to be ratified by a vote of 61 to 38. A majority voted for it, but not enough; 67 was the magic number.
So, why rehash all of this? If candidates support policies that affirm the rights of persons with disabilities, then chances are that they care about people generally and will work across party lines to make things better for all Americans. If we all were to vote on Tuesday for candidates who support the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, it is highly likely the Senate in 2017 would be made up of people who oppose gridlock and want to address and resolve challenges faced by the American people. If you vote for someone who supports the disability rights treaty, you are not a single issue voter, you are a smart voter who will help vanquish gridlock in the Senate.