It is against this backdrop that GOP senators this week are expected to block Democratic measures designed effectively to protect a democracy under an almost unprecedented assault.
While these legislative issues are vital to Biden’s political agenda, the voting rights dispute touches upon something more fundamental to America – the maintenance of its political system.
Allegations of widespread electoral fraud in 2020 – which Republicans say justify restrictive voting bills from Florida to Texas and Arizona to Michigan – are false. And past statements by GOP leaders, including Trump, that allowing more people to vote will make it harder for Republicans to gain power reveals a more genuine justification for GOP opposition.
Schumer aims for Tuesday’s vote
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Sunday he would hold a vote on Tuesday on opening the voting rights debate. Republican senators are expected to use the filibuster rule requiring a 60-vote majority on major bills to stifle discussions on voting reform.
Ahead of the showdown, Republican senators rallied Sunday to also stifle a compromise measure from moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who surprised many on his side of the aisle last week.
The original For the People Act and Manchin’s Alternative are viewed by many Democratic activists as the best chance at countering dozens of restrictive ballot bills, including in swing states.
While telling CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” that he prefers the bill passed by the House, Sanders did not rule out Manchin’s narrower approach.
“Looks like I’m ready to do whatever I can to protect American democracy,” the former presidential candidate said.
“We can disagree on all kinds of issues, but denying people the right to participate in American democracy is unacceptable. And Congress must fix it in any way,” Sanders added.
Schumer told reporters he was still in talks with Manchin over his compromise measure – which Georgia’s voting rights champion Stacey Abrams also said would be open last week. Engaging Manchin in a voting rights bill could unite all 50 Democratic senators in a powerful symbolic gesture.
“There will be a vote on Tuesday, on voting rights, it’s a very simple vote… it just means to have its debate. It’s hard to believe that Republicans will not even vote to debate it,” said Schumer.
But Republican senators opposed any federal overhaul, including Manchin’s proposals.
“Unfortunately, what it does is what the biggest S1 bill does, which is to take the electoral system of this country and federalize it,” Senator de Ohio Rob Portman on NBC’s “Meet the Press”.
“This is a federal takeover of our electoral system.”
Graham also supported the line established by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that no action was allowed in Washington to regulate the elections.
“As much as I love Joe Manchin, the answer would be no,” the South Carolina Republican said on “Fox News Sunday” before attacking the original bill.
“In my opinion, SR-1 is the biggest takeover in the history of the country,” Graham said. “They are trying to solve an issue that most Republicans have a different view on.”
The line that Washington plays no role in running the election allows Republicans to avoid both discussing the tough positions of their fellow states, the Trump lies they are relying on, and whether the Washington government really has the power to act.
One of the main arguments going forward will be whether election laws in states that threaten the most faithful application of democracy are exactly the kind of abuse Hamilton seemed to have in mind.
Republican officials have repeatedly suggested that efforts to expand the vote would hurt their chances of winning an election.
And Trump himself has said that if more people vote, Republicans will suffer – a warning issued long before the election when he has repeatedly opposed Democrats’ efforts to fund mail-in votes in draft elections. coronavirus relief law.
“If you look before and after, the things they had in there were crazy,” the then president said on “Fox and Friends” on March 30 of last year.
“They had things – voting levels that if you ever got along, you’d never have an elected Republican in this country again.”