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Good Morning. Voting rights or the filibuster? Democrats will likely have to choose.
It becomes the main question about the new Democratic Senate: If Democrats are forced to choose between protecting the voting rights and protecting the filibuster, what will they do?
You are now almost certain to face that decision.
Republican lawmakers in dozens of states are trying to make it harder to vote, largely because they believe that lowering the turnout will help their party win elections. (They say it is supposed to stop electoral fraud, but there is no widespread fraud.) The Supreme Court, with six Republican candidates among the nine judges, has generally allowed these restrictions.
“I don’t say that lightly,” recently wrote Michael McDonald, a political scientist at the University of Florida. “We are seeing the largest drop in voting rights in this country since the Jim Crow era.”
“Your best opportunity”
The only sensible way for Democrats to respond is through federal legislation, like the Suffrage Bill that the House passed on Wednesday. Among other things, the states would have to automatically register many eligible voters. allow others to register on election day; vote at least 15 days in advance; Expand voting by email. and allow people with completed criminal convictions to vote. The bill also requires greater disclosure of campaign donations and restricts gerrymandering of partisans.
But the bill doesn’t seem to stand a chance of gaining the 60 Senate votes it takes to overcome a filibuster. The Senate is split 50-50 between the two parties (including two independents who normally vote with Democrats). The bill will only be passed if all 50 Senate Democrats agree to scrap the filibuster or change how they can do it.
“Filibuster elimination advocates have said all along that their best opportunity to do so is through civil rights law, and this is the modern version,” said Carl Hulse, the Times’ chief correspondent in Washington.
As Carl explained, “They intend to put pressure on Democratic raids to overthrow the filibuster by saying that Republicans are using undemocratic means to maintain urgent protections for our democratic system. The votes are still missing, but the filibuster’s opponents believe they are gaining ground. “
Swing votes include Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona, two of the most moderate Democratic senators, both of whom have expressed support for the filibuster.
Status quo? No option.
It is about small democratic principles as well as partisan power. Unless the Senate passes a voting law, large numbers of Americans can find it difficult to vote that they are effectively disenfranchised. And Republicans could enjoy a huge advantage in the years to come that will prevent the Democrats from staying in power and passing laws on climate change, Medicare, taxes, minimum wages, and more.
“If we don’t pass restructuring reform, our chances of keeping the house are very slim,” David Shor, a Democratic strategist, told New Yorker Magazine.
Shor noted that Gerrymandering has already helped create a situation where Democrats don’t just have to win the national referendum to maintain control of the house. You have to win it by more than three percentage points. He also argued that a struggle for voting rights and gerrymandering would benefit the party politically in the 2022 election campaign.
There does not seem to be a compromise path on this issue. Democrats can overtake the filibuster – transforming the Senate, ushering in an uncertain era where both parties could pass more laws that they prefer. Or Democrats can effectively waive voting rights. It’s one or the other.
To go deeper
Ronald Brownstein in the Atlantic: “Future Americans could see the solution to this struggle as a turning point in the history of US democracy. The result could not only influence the balance of power between the parties, but also determine whether this democracy becomes more inclusive or more exclusive. “
Ella Nilsen from Vox and the staff at the Brennan Center for Justice have each put the house bills together.
Stacey Abrams discusses the right to vote on the latest episode of “Sway”. And in “The Argument,” Jessica Anderson of Heritage Action for America speaks out in favor of the filibuster and says that hasn’t stopped the two parties from getting large chunks of their agendas off in recent years.
THE LATEST NEWS
Harry, Meghan and Oprah
Many people are eagerly awaiting CBS ‘Sunday night broadcast of Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex. You may be wondering: what’s the big deal?
The Oprah interview sheds light on the strained relationship between the couple and the rest of the royal family. Last year Harry and Meghan announced that they would give up their official royal duties, split their time between the UK and North America, and “work on becoming financially independent”. The move “underscored a deep personal rift” in the family, according to The Times’ Mark Landler.
Both sides “maneuver angrily” to frame the narrative before the interview airs, Landler says. CBS released a clip in which Meghan accused the palace of “perpetuating untruths”. Buckingham Palace said this week it would investigate allegations that Meghan had bullied royal employees.
“To a certain extent, the fees and counter-fees represent a conflict of cultures,” writes Landler. “The old-fashioned press leaks of the British media – long used by members of the royal family or their allies to settle bills – against the advertising machine of an American television station and one of the most powerful media personalities in the country.”
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to cook
The pangrams from yesterday’s Spelling Bee were hateful and healthy. Here is today’s puzzle – or you can play online.
Here’s today’s mini crossword puzzle and a hint: Things to Click Nervously (four letters).
If you feel like playing more, all of our games can be found here.
Thank you for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you monday. – David
PS A hidden haiku from our colleague Melissa Kirsch, who writes the At Home newsletter: “I don’t want / to create a blurring of / Zoom chats and Netflix this year.”