Joe Manchin Gonna Find 10 Unicorn Republicans Who’ll Support Voting Rights. Honest!
Senate Democrats have reached a compromise on voting rights with Joe Manchin, the Dr. Pangloss of bipartisanship. The "Freedom to Vote Act" would make Election Day a public holiday, require same-day registration at all polling locations by 2024, and provide at least 15 days of early voting for federal elections. This is a solid counter to the 253 voter suppression bills that Republicans have rolled out in at least 43 states. (Voting rights superlawyer Marc Elias says the bill is very, very good, actually, which is a very welcome surprise.)
Manchin's major contribution was a voter ID requirement, which Stacey Abrams supported because she was never in favor of people voting with old Blockbuster Video membership cards. What she did oppose was GOP efforts to use voter ID as a deliberate disenfranchisement tool.
ABRAMS: What has been problematic is the type of restrictive ID that we have seen pop up. In South Dakota, where Native Americans were told they had to provide IDs with addresses the state refused to provide. We have states where students are not allowed to use their student IDs, but you can use your gun license. Our point is simply that the restrictions on the forms of ID should meet the needs of the people.
The "Freedom to Vote Act" would provide "a uniform national standard for states that requires identification for in-person voting, and [allow] voters to present a broad set of identification cards and documents in hard copy and digital form." That should satisfy everyone whose primary objective isn't imposing permanent white conservative minority rule.
Unfortunately, last we checked, the filibuster still exists and Republicans keep telling you people they aren't big on non-Republicans voting. So how do Democrats hope to pass the new bill?
CNN's Manu Raju shared this gem.
Asked how he plans to get Dems’ new elections bill passed given that he (and others) won’t change filibuster rules,… https://t.co/tlVP69Rkbt— Manu Raju (@Manu Raju)1631629058.0
RAJU: Asked how he plans to get Dems' new elections bill passed given that he (and others) won't change filibuster rules, Manchin said his plan is this: "It's to get 10 Republicans."
That sounds as grounded in reality as my high school plan to go on tour with Madonna: “Well, first she says 'Yes.' Then we convince my mom." Hey, at least the good senator from West Virginia can count. It's true that he needs 10 Republicans to meet the arbitrary 60-vote threshold. What's also true is that 10 Republicans will never defy Senate
Majority Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and help pass legislation that will objectively make it harder for Republicans to win elections.
Who are these 10 Republicans? Does Manchin have any viable leads or is he just stuck with deadbeats like the loser salesmen in Glengarry Glen Ross?
RAJU: [Manchin] told us he's talking to "reasonable Republicans and friends of mine who understand we need guardrails"
This goofball holds my constitutional rights in his coal-stained hands. The following tweet from Rebecca isn't directly related but it remains the official Wonkette position.
no @joemanchinWV, no I don't. "Let children go hungry if their parents suck" is fucked, and I fucking hate you. https://t.co/PWXLpkasFy— Master Rebecca Schoenkopf, Wonkette Editrix, King (@Master Rebecca Schoenkopf, Wonkette Editrix, King)1631571275.0
The “Freedom to Vote Act" reminds me of the Affordable Care Act where compromises made with moderate Democrats failed to win over their moderate Republican golf buddies. Republicans were dead set against the ACA from the start, just as they are any voting rights legislation that expands, rather than restricts, ballot access.
The independent January 6 commission failed in the Senate 54 to 35, much to Manchin's proclaimed disappointment. Only seven Republicans voted to hold Donald Trump accountable for inciting an attack against Congress. These are recent events, from this current congressional session, and they aren't apples and oranges. There is no meaningful number of Republicans willing to support anything that damages them politically.
Republicans are sending democracy careening through the guardrails with Manchin's reliably gullible assistance. When his Republican friends, his true friends, show him exactly who they are ... again, maybe he'll criticize them as harshly as that “young lady" Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but I doubt it.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."