(CNN)On Tuesday, the “For the People” Act will fail.
There is a 0% chance that the sweeping election reform package pushed by Democratic leaders in the House and Senate in response to the moves in a series of Republican-controlled states to make it more difficult to vote will pass. In fact, it won’t even get an up-or-down final vote. The bill isn’t going to get the 60 votes it needs to end unlimited debate in the Senate, with every single one of the 50 Republican senators set to vote against it.
And yet, to read the coverage in advance of Tuesday’s fait accompli vote, you would think the future of the republic hinges on whether or not West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin votes to end unlimited debate on the legislation.
Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar said she “worked all weekend” to placate Manchin and win his vote. Manchin wants part of his slimmed-down election reform proposal, which is also going nowhere thanks to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, included in the package to secure his vote. (And, yes, either way, the package has zero chance of passing, which makes debating what’s included sort of, um, besides the point.)
“All is going well,” Klobuchar, of Minnesota, told CNN’s Manu Raju about the Manchin discussions Monday. “He’s working in good faith.” But even Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the Senate Majority Whip, admitted he’s simply not sure how Manchin will vote; “I just don’t know yet,” he told Manu.
Why are Democrats SO focused on courting Manchin for a procedural vote that is doomed to fail? Simple: Politics.
See, if all 50 Democrats vote to move forward with election reform legislation and all 50 Republicans oppose that move, then Democrats can go to their base ahead of the coming 2022 midterms and say something like: Every single Democrat wanted to make elections more fair and open. And every single Republican stood in opposition to that effort.
That’s the sort of thing — when coupled with the moves in GOP-controlled state legislatures around the country to restrict voting rights — that not only would motivate the Democratic base (an absolutely critical component in a midterm
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