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Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader, knew that the huge voting-rights package had been condemned failureHe put the bill on the legislative agenda yesterday. He wanted to share that feeling with his Democratic caucus: A gut punch for defeating a package which ostensibly all members of his party, and some Republicans, supported on its merits.
It also highlighted for voters the differences between Democrats and Republicans on the issue of voting rights. This was especially important in areas where residents feel strongly about their vote. You have the right to voteIt is being attacked. It’s easy to BlameTwo Democrats held firm AgainstYou can sidestep the filibuster to advance the legislation, but the lack of Republican leadership on the issue cannot be ignored—and likely won’t be by voters of color.
Democrats wanted more transparency in political funding and greater opportunities for voters who are less reliable to be heard. Republicans are content with things as they are and may even seek a return to pre-COVID-19 time to reduce some of the early-and mail-in voting that was introduced during the pandemic, which is something that they have historically opposed.
That highly simplified summary of what’s unfolding on the Hill is going to be an election-year narrative. So, as the Democrats’ 735-page doorstopper of an agenda—stitched together by combining a pair of election bills into one, with a few trims here and there—barrels along towards its inevitable end this evening, Democrats were already turning to state legislatures as the next front in the battle over whose votes are counted or not.
Voting-related and civil-rights advocates have been screaming for months, things are not going so well for dear ol’ democracy in state capitals, either. According to the Associated Press, 19 states made voting harder last year. TrackingNew York University’s Brennan Center for Justice. More than 440 legislations were considered by lawmakers that could make it more difficult to vote. More than 150 of those are still actively under consideration, and looking ahead, at least 13 new restrictive bills are pre-loaded in state legislatures’ systems.
And don’t even start on the Efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election that still continue—some with frustrating success. Trump and Arizona’s allies are trying again decertifyThese were the narrow results that won Biden victory. Pennsylvania Republicans may be interested Change the state constitution to trigger an audit of results that lawmakers don’t like. Every step down this path further erodes faith in the American experiment—and is laying the GroundworkFor a possible repeat of Jan. 6’s failed rebellion.
It’s a lot of time and Make an effortspent on an issue that even some of the most critical voices in American democracy struggle to claim as a real problem. As Donald Trump, then-President of the United States was trying to cajoleTo fellow conservatives “find”He votes for him and plants the seed of The Big LieBill Barr, Bill Barr’s own conservative Attorney General. ReceivedThere was not a significant amount of fraud.
But rank-and-file activists are reliable ConsumersConservative media sees this as a pressing crisis and must be addressed. GhoulsThis is Critical Race TheoryAnd Exclusion of parents. And Republicans have a carte blanche in a lot of legislative office buildings to feed the mob that’s Already consumedA lot of inaccurate information is available. Republicans control 98 of the nation’s legislative chambers. ControlThey control 23 of the 61 states’ state governments. The Democrats have 37 legislative chambers, and they run 15 states.
The states that have opened their election playbooks for review are reliably red, where no amount of legendary—and fact-challenged—Kennedy-caliber ballot stuffing could make a difference. Wyoming has implemented new voting restrictions after Trump won by 44 points. Trump’s strongholds in Idaho, Oklahoma and Arkansas have also been affected by new restrictions to voting access. Of the 19 states that made changes, only five broke in Biden’s favor. For the shameless party operatives—in both parties, to be fair—there is an electoral advantage to be had by shaping the edges of the battlefield.
Last week, Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden visited Georgia to discuss pernicious changes in Georgia’s state laws. These tweaks make it harder for certain communities to vote. Democrats on the U.S. Capitol are raising alarm over the fact that state legislators and governors have created voter-fraud task force and special police units in an effort to pursue a crime that is statistically significant. It does not exist. A great example of Associated Press investigationEach voter fraud complaint filed in battleground states revealed that less than 475 ballots were cast in 2020.
During the voting bill’s last ill-fated hours in Washington, Democrats were fuming that they were powerless to deliver on their campaign promises because two of their own RefusedTo amend the rules to allow legislation to be passed through the Senate by 60 votes. These are the troublemakers Joe ManchinAnd Kyrsten SinemaThey may well be the most hated members of the Democratic caucus, and they are already getting primary Chatter.
To be fair, going nuclear on the filibuster—even narrowly—is a risky step, regardless of the party. Democrats say they are sick of letting even the easy dunks like voting rights go unplayed, but there is absolutely zero belief among progressives that Republican Leader Mitch McConnell won’t do the same should the GOP claim a unified government after the 2024 elections. It’s easy to see chaos coming.
All of which is to say this: if you’re worried about being able to cast your ballot this fall for the midterms, you’d be better served worrying about what’s happening in Carson City, Nev., than watching the Capitol here in D.C. The state governments are getting things done. Washington lawmakers are talking about bills that the two rebel Democrats are trying to kill. This creates drama at Capitol. However, the Hill may be closer to the definition of the fundamental right to democracy participation. With plenty of time before the voter registration deadline, it might be worthwhile to visit your capitals. Deadlines.
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