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Report: Some Democrats Concerned Their ‘Voting Rights’ Bill Might Be Racist

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• March 31, 2021 1:15 pm

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Democratic politicians say they want to reform our elections to combat Republican racism. As President Joe Biden so eloquently put it at his first official press conference last week, the GOP's own effort to reform elections "makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle."

House Democrats recently approved a massive election reform package that faces an uphill battle in the Senate. As a result, Democrats are under increasing pressure from activists to abolish the 60-vote threshold to end the Senate filibuster in order to cram the legislation through.

Doing so, however, would require unified Democratic support for the House bill. A New York Times report published Tuesday suggests some Democrats are having second thoughts about the legislation many lauded as a transformational achievement, part of a "modern-day civil rights battle that the party cannot afford to lose."

Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) opposes the bill, known as the For The People Act, in its existing form. But he is not the only Democrat expressing reservations, even if he's the only one willing to do so on the record. Some black Democrats, for example, are concerned the bill might have racially charged consequences.

The Times reports:

Behind the scenes, two election lawyers close to the White House and congressional Democrats said Mr. Manchin was not the only one on their side with reservations about the measure. They insisted on anonymity to discuss the concerns because few Democrats want to concede that there are cracks in the coalition backing the measure or incur the wrath of the legion of liberal advocacy groups that have made its enactment their top priority.

Black House members, for instance, are deeply uneasy over the bill's shift to independent redistricting commissions, which they fear could cost them seats if majority-minority districts are broken up, particularly in the South. Before the bill passed the House, its authors spent significant time reassuring members of the Congressional Black Caucus that there were adequate protections in place to preserve their districts. But a prominent committee chairman, Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, remained so concerned that he voted against the bill, despite having sponsored it.

That's awkward. But it makes sense when you consider the fact that most Democrats don't actually want to solve any problems, they just want to get reelected by accusing their Republican opponents of racism. Rinse and repeat.