How do you know that Democrats think they will lose the House majority in the midterms? Because they are already crafting the excuse. Earlier this week, failed gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams was stumping for Terry McCullough in Virginia.
Once again, she was confident she should be the governor of Georgia and would have been if not for voter suppression. Then Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer brought S. 2747, also known as the Freedom to Vote Act, up for a cloture vote. Republicans filibustered the bill, unanimously voting against it.
The bill is Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) “compromise” legislation to replace the For the People Act. When you hear it is a compromise bill, you may assume Republicans were on board. According to Jason Snead, Executive Director of the Honest Elections Project, Manchin’s only compromises were between the left and the radical left.
“Just like H.R. 1 [The For the People Act], this bill overrides state voter I.D. requirements, bans election integrity measures for absentee voting, and makes it harder for states to maintain updated, accurate voter registration rolls.” He added, “Americans want to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat. These policies would instead make it easier to cheat and harder to stop it.”
According to Snead, “Democrats need every door to be a target-rich environment.” He added, “They are trying to establish a process where Americans need to do absolutely nothing to exercise their right to vote. They will be automatically registered, have a ballot mailed to them, then someone will show up to help them fill it out, and return it to the polling place.”
Democrats are trying to engineer an election process to take advantage of the findings of a study done before the 2018 election. According to Data for Progress, the largest audience for Democrats’ far-left agenda is low-income non-voters. The outrageous funding scheme, paid for by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, helped prove Data for Progress’s thesis in 2020. With a $400 million donation to a non-profit called the Center for Technology and Civic Life, the Zuckerbergs funded large grants to election offices with strings attached.
In deep-blue cities, election offices hired activists, installed drop boxes, and deployed mobile polling stations. In my state, Joe Biden received 110,000 more votes in Fulton County, Georgia, than Hillary Clinton got in 2016. He won the state by less than 12,000 votes. The strategy worked to get non-voters to vote. Democrats would like to see the pandemic-related changes that many states have now outlawed become permanent nationwide.
While Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would love to see this bill become law, they will use it to craft several narratives. In the face of Democrat infighting over the budget reconciliation, they need to demonstrate unity. Senate Democrats got behind cloture on Manchin’s compromise on the election bill. Schumer proclaimed, “Senate Democrats have made clear that voting rights is not like other issues we deal with in this chamber. This isn’t about regular old politics.” He prattled on, “It is not even just about policy. It’s about protecting the very soul of this nation.”
Speeches like Schumer’s and Abrams’s in Virginia set up the other narrative. When Democrats lose, it is because Republicans suppress votes. Lower voter turnout in 2022 will encourage the narrative. Midterms historically have lower turnout, and all indications point to Republicans having higher enthusiasm going into the next one. Unified governments also don’t tend to last in the United States. But no amount of historical evidence will stop the stolen election narrative Democrats have been using consistently since George W. Bush beat Al Gore in 2000.
To bolster both of these narratives, Schumer vowed to bring H.R. 4, also called the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, up for a cloture vote as soon as next week. The vote will likely break down along the same lines. H.R. 4 establishes the formula for placing a state in preclearance. Once placed in this status, the Department of Justice must review and approve any change to the election laws in the state. Rather than using an objective standard, the legislation creates a lawfare nightmare by placing states in preclearance if they settle rather than litigate election lawsuits.
Snead finds the politicization of elections frustrating. “Thinking about this as someone that cares about the process, it is frustrating to watch one party barnstorm the country saying the other party is preventing free and fair elections when they are the one taking a stick of dynamite to a free and fair process. It is all about politics and helping Democrats stay in power, not democracy.”
One measure of Democrats’ nervousness about 2022 is whether they ramp up rhetoric about eliminating or modifying the filibuster again. Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) pushed for filibuster reform related to voting rights legislation in July, saying without it, Democrats could “kiss the majority goodbye.” A significant feature of the compromise bill is federalizing the redistricting process. There is a limited amount of time to affect the outcome, and Democrats lost ground in state governments in 2020. State legislatures are responsible for redistricting after each census. Previously, Manchin was the lone holdout on filibuster reform.