Mitch McConnell Just Made Joe Manchin Look Like a Sucker. Again.

·4-min read
Photo credit: Tom Williams - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tom Williams - Getty Images

What’s the latest in the ongoing conservative campaign against the franchise? Well, in Washington on Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell helped make Senator Joe Manchin look like a sucker. Again. Manchin, you may recall, has announced that, while he will vote to keep the filibuster intact, and while he is opposed to the sweeping We The People Act, he would support the more narrowly focused John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Manchin also implied that something like the Lewis Act would gather the 10 Republican votes in the Senate that would allow it to come to the floor. And, of course, McConnell on Tuesday threw the whoopee cushion under Manchin’s tush. From the Washington Post:

McConnell argued that restoring those 1965 protections would give the federal government “almost total ability to determine the voting systems of every state in America” and that other parts of the Voting Rights Act remained intact.

“The Supreme Court concluded that conditions that existed in 1965 no longer existed,” McConnell said. “So there’s no threat to the voting rights law. It’s against the law to discriminate in voting on the basis of race already. And so I think it’s unnecessary.”

McConnell is not even trying very hard anymore. You have to be a drunk or a liar not to see what’s gone on in the country since John Roberts declared the Day of Jubilee, especially in the days since the 2020 election. Without Roberts’ meat-ax, we likely would not have the current frenzied effort in the states to remove electoral oversight from secretaries of state where they are Democrats and hand it to Republican attorneys general. And, while the decision in Shelby County does seem to leave a little daylight for Congress if it wants to apply the old pre-clearance provisions to the entire country, instead of just the states of the former Confederacy, Roberts’s assertion that the Day of Jubilee had dawned makes me think that, if a universal pre-clearance law were to pass, he’d find another reason to burn it down.

In fact, the one thing that frosts me coldest about Manchin’s attitude toward the For The People Act is his conviction that there are some things in the bill that have nothing to do with voter suppression. This is a profoundly wrongheaded argument. Voter suppression is how we get state legislatures that gerrymander. Voter suppression is how we get senators who confirm judges who declare that money is speech and that corporations are people, too, my friend. Voter suppression touches every facet of our elections and, ultimately, it warps the entirety of our politics. Therefore, everything in the FTP Act has to do with voter suppression, in that a ban on partisan gerrymandering and a ban on dark money would make voter suppression less likely.

The big news from the elaborate farce out in Arizona was that there continue to be, ah, issues with ballot security. (Remember, thanks to the Republicans in the Arizona state senate, and to whoever it is that’s funding the farce, those are actual ballots that are being scrutinised, manhandled, and used as pen-wipers, for all we know.) Over the weekend, we learned that Arizona election data was taken on something of a road trip. From the Arizona Republic:

Ben Cotton, founder of tech firm CyFIR, a Senate subcontractor, made copies of the county's election server and other election data and then drove the copies to a "secure lab" in Montana, according to Senate liaison Ken Bennett. The Senate was given county voters' private information, but Bennett said he doesn't know if Cotton has copies of that in Montana. It appears that the "secure lab" might be a home owned by Cotton in the northern Montana wilderness. Bennett said he didn't know, and Cotton and Cyber Ninjas, the Senate's main contractors, refuse to answer questions.

Montana?????? Arizona election data—and god knows what that actually means—has been taken to somebody’s deer camp in the heart of Militialand? Certainly, nothing can possibly go wrong there. The World’s Oldest Democracy may never stop playing with its toes.

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