We have written extensively in the past few months (here, here, here, and here) discussing the costs (both fiscally and to freedom) and consequences (both intended and unintended) of the so-called "For The People" Act, it appears at least one Democrat politician has decided that the power grab is too much.
In a sweeping op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) explained why he will vote against the sweeping election reform overhaul bill, putting the fate of the legislation in jeopardy in the evenly split Senate.
“I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For The People Act," Manchin wrote.
As a reminder, the 791-page bill includes all of the greatest hits of 2020: Mandatory mail ballots, ballots without postmarks, late ballots and voting in precincts where you don't live. It includes so many bad ideas that no publication has satisfactory space to cover all of them.
Democrats claim the bill is aimed at maximizing voter participation and ending corruption in our election systems, but the truth is that the legislation would do neither. Instead, it will only serve to open up our states’ elections to fraud and public mistrust at a time when we need to bolster voter confidence.
Further, the bill rearranges the relationship between the states and the federal government. The Constitution presumes that states regulate their own elections, but the Constitution has a big "but" in what is called the Elections Clause. The Constitution says, "but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations." For over 200 years, Congress rarely used this power. After all, the power was put in the Constitution only to prevent the states from suffocating the federal government out of existence by never holding federal elections.
The House in March passed The For The People Act in a 220 to 210 vote. No House Republicans supported the measure, and one Democrat voted against the legislation; and that appears to be the crux of Manchin's decision - to urge some level of bipartisanship.
“The truth, I would argue, is that voting and election reform that is done in a partisan manner will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen,” he wrote.
Manchin also said he “will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster,” which a number of leading Democrats have suggested in order to pass election reform.
He added that he will “seek bipartisan compromise no matter how difficult and to develop the political bonds that end divisions and help unite the country we love.”
Without Manchin’s support for the bill and his opposition to nixing the filibuster, the likelihood of it passing through the Senate and landing on President Biden’s desk has all but vanished.
The legislation appears unlikely to attract the bipartisan 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster, or the 50 votes necessary to pass if the party decides to use the nuclear option.
Manchin - the most conservative of the Democratic Senators - took a modest shot at the power-hungry partisan progressives in his party...
"Of course, some in my party have argued that now is the time to discard such bipartisan voting reforms and embrace election reforms and policies solely supported by one party. Respectfully, I do not agree."
...but, concluded on a hopeful note:
"American democracy is something special, it is bigger than one party, or the tweet-filled partisan attack politics of the moment. It is my sincere hope that all of us, especially those who are privileged to serve, remember our responsibility to do more to unite this country before it is too late."
Which we suspect is more aimed at the extreme left progressive wing of the party, who will likely now paint the moderate as a treasonous traitor, ready to destroy democracy...