Two Bills. One Plan.
A tremendous piece of political theater is being acted out for your benefit. This is the latest headline in the Intercept: “Chuck Schumer Rejects Joe Manchin’s Voting Rights Strategy.” The subhead says Schumer “continues to push the all-encompassing For the People Act, while the West-Virginia senator is narrowly focused on reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act.”
But what if no such fight actually exists? This looks like a thinly disguised bait-and-switch: This press campaign creates the appearance of a titanic battle between the progressive forces for radical (but necessary) change, versus the restrained forces for compromise and reason. After the mock-battle has raged on for long enough, either Senator Machin (D-WV) and his “moderate” cronies, which include the pathetic Republican Senator Murkowski of Alaska, can say they’ve decided to go all-in on radical reform. Or else, and much more likely, Schumer can say he’s decided to compromise for the good of the nation and go with the “moderate” bill. Then he can start castigating Republicans for rejecting this bill after he’s already, in appearance, compromised so much. The real goal is to make that second bill appear moderate.
The bill called S1 is not serious legislation (despite the fact the the House has already passed their own version of the bill on a straight party-line vote). It is a dream list of everything progressives want to do to the electoral system in America, and its 800-odd pages make depressing reading. They want to transform the federal election commission from a bi-partisan into a partisan and Democrat-controlled organization and give it, together with the Department of Justice, oversight of how states conduct their elections and draw their district boundaries. Most especially, the bill would immediately strike down all anti-fraud measures passed by the states, such as voter-ID and anti-ballot-harvesting laws.
Suppose S1 was not designed to pass—which is not to say it’s not dangerous. Suppose S1 was designed to get a different bill passed, by making the other bill look like moderate. S1 can be a lever to get people like Manchin and Murkowski talking about the John Lewis Voting Rights Act as an “acceptable compromise.” We can expect, in short order, the real agenda to become apparent, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to take center stage, but with new, phony, “moderate” credentials.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Act is every bit as dangerous to democracy in America as S1. It is no compromise—except perhaps a compromise between those who want to commit election fraud and those who do not. It’s purpose is to strip the states of their right to regulate elections and pass anti-fraud measures, by giving the Department of Justice veto-power over the states’ elections laws.
States can make it harder to cheat by requiring voters to show government-issued ID before being allowed to cast a ballot; they can require that signatures on mail-in ballots be matched to the signatures on the envelopes; they can make it illegal to harvest and return ballots on behalf of other voters. These requirements have the broad support of the American public. Over 75% of Americans—and 69% of African Americans—support a voter-ID requirement. Just 21% of Americans oppose voter ID laws, and yet the vast majority of elected Democrats oppose them and call them racist. What’s going on? Requiring ID at a polling place is no more racist than requiring ID at a bar or for boarding a flight. The fact that such laws are so vigorously opposed by non-profit organizations whose members have been indicted for vote fraud is proof of these laws’ effectiveness. And it makes you wonder about the Democrats who oppose them.
Since such laws are up to individual states to enact, the pro-fraud forces within government are looking for a way to override and undo these protections by targeting states’ rights. This led to the concept of “Pre-clearance.”
“Pre-clearance” was fundamental to the portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which were struck down by the Supreme Court in the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision. This concept has returned and is at the heart of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Pre-clearance legislation has two pieces: First, it lays down guidelines under which states can be accused of systematic racism in their voter integrity laws. Second, it requires any states that have been so accused (either by settlement, consent decree, or in a standing court decision from a sympathetic judge) to submit all new election laws for approval by the Department of Justice.
This would give an unelected branch of the federal government veto power over state election law.
In their most destructive features, S1 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act are similar. They aim to invalidate existing election integrity laws and make it impossible to pass new laws. This is done in the name of protecting voter rights. In reality, it is the opposite: Election fraud disenfranchises all Americans. Every fraudulent ballot cancels a real vote—and it could be yours. The only winner is government bureaucracy and those politicians who know they would lose a fair fight.
Politicians who are weak on election fraud will attempt to use S1 as an excuse to back the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. This will allow them to appear moderate and compromise-oriented, while still achieving the goal of gutting state-level anti-fraud measures. Senators Manchin and Murkowski are already taking this tack. They pose as the voice of reason. In reality they are helping anti-democracy voices in Washington DC by dressing up toxic measures in a disguise they hope will appear acceptable to the public.
If these bills are passed, the fraud which is already widespread and which successfully subverted the 2020 presidential election will become institutionalized and even protected by the federal government. Our chance of restoring real democratic elections in the coming cycles will be gone.
Don’t lose sight of the big picture: Kamala Harris has called COVID an “opportunity” to “transform” almost every part of America and American lives. Act now by letting your Congressman and your Senator know that you will not support anyone who fights against fair elections. Tell them that any law that violates the states’ right to govern elections is also a violation of your rights. Demand their support for local election integrity efforts such as voter-ID and signature-matching.
Remember that a fraudulent election is not an election, and that a democracy in which your vote doesn’t count is no democracy at all. It is only through your relentless pressure on the politicians in Washington that the voice of the people will be heard and acted on. Don’t leave the job to somebody else. Don’t assume your neighbor will do it if you don’t. Act now.